President Aliyev also proposed the establishment of a land corridor linking the Nagorno- Karabakh with Armenia in exchange for a similar corridor between the Nakhcivan enclave and Azerbaijan. As a former Politburo member and the first deputy Prime Minister in the Soviet government, he believes that Moscow could have prevented this conflict back in 1984, but instead added salt to old wounds in order to widen the rift between Azerbaijan and Armenia for maintaining its strategic interests in the region11. Azerbaijani leaders hope that the Nagorna-Karabakh conflict might be solved through U.S. intervention.
Armenia is predictably resentful of Washington's cordial relations with Azerbaijan. The U.S.- Azerbaijan "rapprochement” will most likely decrease Russian and Iranian influence in the Caucasus.12 If the U.S. is going to reap anything but troubles from southern Eurasia, it would have to deny the Russians forward deployment of troops on the southern rim of the Caucasus whose radial arc would be 500 miles or less to the oil fields of Iraq and the Gulf. Preventing the Russian-Iranian entente from flowering into an alliance in which China might also take part should also be a major Turkish-U.S. strategic objective in the region.
Turkey established working relations with all the states of the former Yugoslavia, including Serbia. It developed close ties with Muslim Albania and with Macedonia, to the initial annoyance of Greece. Turkey took on Bosnia and its sufferings as a special cause. Uniquely a member of both NATO and the Islamic Conference Organisation (ICO), Turkey played a role in convincing NATO to step up its pressure on Serbia, while urging restraint upon ICO members unhappy with the West's initially hesitant approach.
Turkey raised its regional profile and value to the U.S. through its expanding co-operation with Israel. Whereas sympathy for the Palestinians (along with other considerations) had stifled prospects for Turkish-Israeli relations for decades, recent peace process gains in the early 1990s threw open the door of opportunity. Within three years, both partners had concluded three significant agreements, on military cooperation and training, on defense industrial cooperation, and on free trade. Israeli and Turkish air forces now exercise in one another's air space; Israel is upgrading older-generation Turkish jet fighters, with other arms deals in the works; senior-level visits, both civilian and military, are frequent. Bilateral trade was expected to exceed $1 billion in 1999, with Israel having emerged as virtually Turkey's leading export market in the Middle East.
Turkey’s status as a bulwark against adventurist countries on its borders will continue to place Turkey at the center of international efforts to maintain regional peace and stability. Within the framework of the Operation Northern Watch, US military airplanes take off daily from the Turkish base of Incirlik to patrol the no-fly zone in the Iraqi sky. Attention has not focused on the issue in Turkey lately, but the flights are continuing. Many in Turkey do not believe that U.S. policy towards Iraq is going to succeed in overthrowing Saddam Hussein any time soon, and would like to see the sanctions, which harm Turkey's commercial
11 Azerbaijan also complains of Russia’s attempts to militarize the Caucasus by supplying Armenia with SS-300 missiles and MIG fighters. Another evidence is the signing of a military alliance in mid-February 2000 between Belarus and Armenia in addition to the one that already exists between Russia and Armenia as evidence of the anti-Azerbaijan coalition.
12 But the Americans are cautious, afraid to mar relations with the Kremlin. True enough, Moscow and Washington are still rivals in international affairs. But the U.S., while not minding penetrating into the south Caucasus, would rather do so through economic means. Also, unlike in the Cold War years, its rivalry with Russia is not of the confrontational quality any more.