Now that Russia has recognized Abkhazia and South Ossetia, and Turkey has said that it is keen to find a solution to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, independence for the unrecognized breakaway republic may soon be on the cards.
After the recent violence in the Caucasus, progress could soon be made in the search for a peaceful resolution to the conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh, another of Europe's de facto independence republics. Following Turkish President Abdullah Gül's visit to Armenia last Saturday, Ankara has said that it would be willing to take part in talks on the future status of the Armenian enclave that lies within the borders of Azerbaijan.
Gül said that the Georgia conflict has shown how important it is to find a peaceful solution to ongoing conflicts. The Turkish President also invited his counterparts in Azerbaijan and Armenia "to analyze the situation closely and firmly express their political will". According to AlertNet, on Wednesday Turkish Foreign Affairs Minister Ali Babacan said that he is planning to meet with his Armenian and Azeri colleagues.
In the meantime, a number of commentators inside Nagorno-Karabakh have suggested that Russia's official recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia has opened up possibilities for the territory. One member of the Karabakh Parliament, Armen Sargsian, is fairly optimistic: "Given that both sides recognize the right to self-determination - with the West recognizing Kosovo and Russia the Georgian republics - their joint action in Nagorno-Karabkah will be interesting", he is reported to have said, referring to the Minsk group, the body - headed by France, the United States, and Russia - that is responsible for negotiating a resolution to the conflict.
In recent days, the President of Nagorno-Karabakh, Bako Sahakian, has congratulated Abkhazia and South Ossetia on their independence. Another member of parliament, Artur Tovmasian has suggested that Nagorno-Karabakh officially recognize Kosovo in addition to the two South Caucasian republics.
In any case, the Georgia conflict has confirmed the need for Nagorno-Karabakh to avoid further armed conflict with Azerbaijan. In the words of Masis Mailian, a former candidate to the presidency of the breakaway republic, the war will go some way to calm down the "zealots in Azerbaijan and beyond who think it is possible to retain breakaway territories by force". On the other hand, recent events in Georgia have also shown how delicate regional dynamics in the Caucasus are. Although the fighting was short-lived, the war between Tbilisi and Russia caused major shortages of petrol and other essential products, such as flour, in Nagorno-Karabakh.