Karabakh prereq for Armenia ties

Karabakh prereq for Armenia ties

KARS - Anatolia News Agency
Karabakh prereq for Armenia ties

Economy Minister Çağayan (C) meets with Georgian Minister Kobalia (R) and his Azeri counterpart Mustafayev in Kars. AA photo

Turkey will not resume diplomatic relations with Armenia until Yerevan “ends its occupation in Azerbaijan’s territories,” Turkish Economy Minister Zafer Çağayan said on June 9.

“Without an end to the Armenian occupation of Azerbaijani territories, there will be no diplomatic relations between Turkey and Armenia,” Çağlayan told a trilateral business forum between Turkey, Azerbaijan and Georgia in the eastern province of Kars.

Çağlayan said Turkey would continue to make efforts to secure lasting peace and stability in the region, adding that Azerbaijani sensitivities also held for Turkey. “Azerbaijan’s sensitivity is our sensitivity. Azerbaijan’s happiness and sadness is also ours,” said Çağlayan, describing Turkey’s attitude on the issue.

Çağlayan said investments between Turkey, Azerbaijan and Georgia increased with each passing day, adding that the three countries aimed at boosting the current scope of cooperation further. He called the trilateral business forum a “three seas project,” saying they would open to the world by uniting the Caspian Sea, Black Sea and Mediterranean. Çağlayan said the three countries wanted to have a virtually free trade zone.

Also speaking at the forum, Georgian Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development Vera Kobalia said the three countries set a very good example for other countries in the world amid global economic problems. Kobalia said a railway project between Baku, Tbilisi and Kars was of great importance for the Georgian government. Azeri Economic Development Minister Sahin Mustafayev said Azerbaijani businesspeople participating in the business forum were ready for cooperation.

Turkey and Armenia currently have no diplomatic relations, as Ankara closed its border with the country in 1993 because of Armenia’s war with Azerbaijan over the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh.

Azerbaijan and Armenia signed a cease-fire agreement in 1994. However, reports of border clashes between Azerbaijani and Armenian soldiers have increased recently as nine soldiers were killed in total in the past two weeks.