GeriGündem Azerbaijan urges preconditions in Turkey-Armenia border talks be met
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Azerbaijan urges preconditions in Turkey-Armenia border talks be met

Azerbaijan urges preconditions in Turkey-Armenia border talks be met
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ISTANBUL – An advisor to the Azerbaijani president said Tuesday it would be better if Turkey solves the issue of opening the border with Armenia by adhering to previously determined conditions.

Chief of the International Relations Department of Azeribaijani President Ilham Aliyev’s Office, Novruz Mammadov, told Azerbaijan's APA news agency that there was principally no problem in holding negotiations regarding the opening of the border between Turkey and Armenia, but added it would be better if the process was carried out by other means. 

Ankara and Yerevan have no diplomatic relations and their border has been closed in 1993 over Armenia's invasion of 20 percent of Azerbaijani territory and Armenia's pressure on the international community with the backing of the diaspora to admit the so-called "genocide" claims, instead of accepting Turkey's call to investigate the allegations.

Turkey and Armenia however have been engaged in a normalization process, including the reopening of the border, since Gul paid a landmark visit to Armenia last year to watch a World Cup qualifying football match between the countries’ national teams.

"We are not against the opening of borders, but we demand the issue to be solved more correctly, within the conditions postulated by the Turkish authorities in the early days of our independence," he said.

Mammadov said these conditions were made by former Turkish presidents Turgut Ozal, Suleyman Demirel, Ahmet Necdet Sezer and "Turkey’s present leadership."

"It would be within the interests of both Turkey and Azerbaijan and would assist the establishing of peace, stability and cooperation in the South Caucasus," he said.

Azeri officials have expressed concern over the prospect of the border being reopened and some media reports suggested that Baku might even go one step further in halting the sale of natural gas to Turkey.

Azerbaijan, which has strong cultural and historic ties with Turkey, says opening the border before the withdrawal of Armenian troops from the country’s occupied territories would run counter to its national interests.

Aliyev also refused to attend an international meeting in Istanbul earlier this month, a move that can be seen as a protest against the prospect of the border being opened between Armenia and Turkey.

"Turkey understands Azeri concerns"

Mammadov said the issue concerns Azerbaijan as it is being played out in the South Caucasus, adding he thinks Turkey understands its position.

"The last statements of Turkish authorities showed that they also understand the issue and are taking the Azerbaijan’s position into consideration. They are stating, and we are also considering that Turkey and Armenia have to establish relationship," he said.

In a bid to soothe Azerbaijan’s concerns, Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan has said the deadlock over the Nagorno-Karabakh enclave must be resolved before Turkey and Armenia strike a deal.

 

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