JUNE 9, 2012 – Matthew Bryza, the United States’ former special envoy to the South Caucasus, has joined the board of a Turkish oil company with strong links to Azerbaijan.
The appointment has stirred controversy in the sensitive South Caucasus region because since his appointment in 2005 as US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs his Armenian detractors have accused him of being biased against them.
Armenia and Azerbaijan are still officially at war over the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh.
Last December US senators blocked Mr Bryza’s appointment as permanent ambassador to Azerbaijan because they said he was too close to the Azerbaijani authorities. He had spent 2011 as the US’s temporary ambassador in Baku.
Now Mr Bryza has joined Turca, a Turkish oil company which has close links with Socar, Azerbaijan’s state oil and gas company. Turca and Socar have previously been involved in a joint venture.
There has been no official statement on Mr Bryza’s appointment to Turca. This photo of board members on Turca’s website, though, shows Mr Bryza standing second in from the left.