Turkey could open border if Armenia withdraws from Nagorno-Karabakh

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Turkey could open border if Armenia withdraws from Nagorno-Karabakh
Oluşturulma Tarihi: Mayıs 09, 2009 13:42

ISTANBUL - Turkey could open its border with Armenia if the neighboring country withdraws its forces from the occupied Azeri territory of Nagorno-Karabakh, Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan said late on Friday. (UPDATED)

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Erdogan said during an interview with state-run broadcaster TRT Turk that Turkey could open its border if Armenia lifts its occupation of Nagorno-Karabakh.


Ankara cut diplomatic links with Yerevan and closed the border in a show of support to Azerbaijan in 1993 after 20 percent of its territory was invaded by Armenia in the disputed region -- a frozen conflict legacy of the Soviet Union known as Nagorno-Karabakh.


Turkey and Armenia, however, agreed last month on a "road map" deal for U.S.-backed talks that could lead to the normalizing of ties and the opening of their border.

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Erdogan also told the TV channel that there were no problems in relations between Turkey and Azerbaijan, which has been reportedly disturbed by the Ankara-Yerevan thaw.


The Turkish prime minister said Saturday he would travel to Baku on May 13 to meet President Ilham Aliyev and address Azerbaijani parliament.


"I will give important messages to those who tried to destroy friendship between us," Erdogan was quoted by Anatolian Agency as telling at a party meeting in the central province of Afyonkarahisar.


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.


Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan and his Azeri counterpart Ilham Aliyev met Thursday for talks in Prague, under supervision from the Minsk Group of international mediators.


The presidents of Azerbaijan and Armenia have agreed on the "basic ideas" of resolving a long-standing territorial conflict during a meeting in the Czech capital of Prague, according to mediators.

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