War is once again raging in Europe: The conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia over Nagorno-Karabakh, fuelled by Turkey, is spreading dangerously. What is the Nobel Peace Prize winner EU doing, where is the German EU Presidency?
When war broke out in Georgia in 2008, then EU Council President Sarkozy did not hesitate for long: he flew to Moscow and Tbilisi and urged an end to the fighting. The French head of state was successful and the war was over after five days.
Twelve years later there is another conflict in the Caucasus, which the EU considers to be part of Europe for reasons that are hard to understand. And what does President-in-Office Merkel do? She phones the two warring parties and calls on them to engage in dialogue.
In the case of Greece and Turkey, that may have been enough. There, Merkel was able to prevent a war in the summer, after Sultan Erdogan provoked the EU and NATO partner with gas drillings and military manoeuvres. But in Nagorno-Karabakh, persuasion is not enough.
Merkel should actually know this. After all, at the EU summit on October 1, French President Macron presented intelligence evidence that Turkey is sending Syrian mercenaries to Azerbaijan. The conflict is apparently being fuelled from outside.
Armenia even claims that Turkish military are coordinating attacks on the Armenian minority in Nagorno-Karabakh. It is hard to verify. The least that can be done, however, would be for the German EU presidency to investigate the accusations and press for an end to the fighting on the ground.
Of course, that does not fit into Merkel’s appeasement policy towards Erdogan. The chancellor not only wants to extend the controversial refugee deal from 2016, but also to expand economic relations with Turkey.
But if the EU lets the reins slide further, there is a threat of ethnic cleansing, as once happened in Kosovo. EUropa would then have to give up the honorary title of “Nobel Peace Prize Winner” for good…