Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, during talks on Monday with his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan, hinted at the possibility of establishing a land corridor between the two countries through Armenia, which opposes the idea.
Erdogan flew to the Nakhchivan Autonomous Region, a strip of territory between Armenia, Iran and Turkey, which Ankara and Baku want to connect with the rest of Azerbaijan by creating a land corridor that runs through southern Armenia.
At a joint press conference, Aliyev complained about "the blocking of the land route between the main part of Azerbaijan and Nakhchivan (the isolated zone)."
Aliyev threatened in 2021 to create such a corridor "whether Armenia likes it or not," he said. The corridor would serve as a land bridge between Turkey and Azerbaijan, depriving Armenia of its land border with Iran.
The choice of such a venue for talks is likely to worry the authorities in Armenia, who in the past have refused to establish such a land corridor, while declaring their willingness to restore severed roads and railways.
The talks come less than a week after Azerbaijan's military operation in Nagorno-Karabakh to regain control of the separatist region.
A Telegram channel linked to Armenians in Karabakh said Aliyev's words did not bode well. "The new target of Azerbaijan and Turkey is Sionik (a region in southern Armenia through which this corridor will pass). They have already stated it publicly. Preparations are underway for war."
Erdogan told the U.N. General Assembly on Tuesday, the same day Azerbaijan began its military operation to retake Karabakh, that there was what he called a "historic opportunity to build peace" in the South Caucasus.
"We expect a comprehensive peace agreement between the two countries to be reached as soon as possible, and to fulfill promises quickly, especially with regard to the opening of the (land) Zanzigor corridor," he said.
The Turkish president has been referring to the terms of a Russian-brokered ceasefire deal in 2020 that ended a 44-day war between Azerbaijan and Armenia. The terms mentioned the opening of economic and transport links between West Azerbaijan and Nakhchivan, an item that Baku and Yerevan have interpreted differently since then.
Nakhchivan is a region belonging to Azerbaijan with an area of about 5363,17 square kilometers, which is geographically separate from the rest of Azerbaijan. Reaching it requires passing through either Iran or Armenia, and the region has a short border with Turkey that is about <> kilometers long.