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BTC Pipeline: Azerbaijan

Politics

Another concern for the major stakeholders in the BTC pipeline project is Azerbaijan's Nagorno-Karabakh region. Nagorno-Karabakh, located in the southwest of the country, is a mountainous area of 4,400 square kilometers situated inside the national borders of Azerbaijan. The majority of the Nagorno-Karabakh region's inhabitants are ethnic Armenians, and when perestroika initiated the breakup of the Soviet Union states in 1988, many began to demonstrate for independence from Azerbaijan and unification with Armenia. Violence between the two sides escalated until Armenian forces seized most of the territory in the region in 1993-1994. By the time a cease-fire was brokered by Russia in May, 1994 some 25,000 people had died in the conflict and an estimated 600,000 Azeris had been displaced.

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This billboard reflects Azeri efforts to expand its oil ventures.
Though the violence has since cooled in Nagorno-Karabakh, the conflict remains unresolved and the region is hotly contested. The Armenians that control Nagorno-Karabakh have proclaimed it a republic and demand autonomy from the Azeri government, while Azerbaijan has refused anything but the complete return of the breakaway territory. The BTC pipeline will pass as close as 15 kilometers from areas of the disputed territory.

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