Turkey proposes 6-way Caucasus platform for peace and stability
Turkey has proposed the establishment of a six-way platform in the Caucasus for maintaining peace and stability in the region after the Armenia-Azerbaijan deal, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said, stating that Russian and Azerbaijani leaders have found the proposal as very positive.
“The Karabakh victory has opened a new page in the history of Caucasus. I believe that the history of the region will take a new shape. The six-way platform we are working on is a win-win initiative for everyone. If Armenia takes positive steps and joins this platform, a new page on Turkish-Armenian ties can also open,” Erdoğan told journalists who traveled with him to Baku for the Nagorno-Karabakh victory parade on Dec. 10.
Armenia will also gain from this new process in the region, Erdoğan said.
Erdoğan also said that he discussed the issue with Russian President Vladimir Putin, who found the proposal to be positive, and they have agreed to continue works on the new regional platform.
“I told him [Putin] as I said during the press conference here that If Armenia would positively evaluate this process, then we can open the sealed borders with Armenia. Our sole concern is to provide support for regional peace between our nations. If we care about regional peace and if the six-way platform can provide solutions for the same, then the only responsibility left on our shoulders is to open the borders,” Erdoğan said.
“Putin welcomes this very much. Ilham Aliyev also said that ‘I will abide by whatever you say,’” he added.
Turkey had sealed the borders with Armenia in the early 1990s after Yerevan occupied the Azerbaijan territories in the Nagorno-Karabakh region. Despite efforts to open the borders and give way to diplomatic ties between the two neighbors, Turkey said it wouldn’t open a new page with Armenia unless it withdraws from the occupied lands.
Ties with Baku to further improve
On the post-conflict developments, Erdoğan said Turkey and Azerbaijan have already made an agreement on the military training, and that will further extend in the coming period.
“All these will strengthen our solidarity. We already have cooperation in the field of intelligence. I mean Azerbaijan will never be without Turkey, and our cooperation will continue in all fields, including political, military, economic, cultural and diplomacy,” he said, adding that there will be cooperation in the field of media as well.
'Macron did not contribute'
On a question about France’s role over the Caucasus, Erdoğan replied that French President Emmanuel Macron, whose country is serving as the term president of the Minsk Group, was assigned with the responsibility to resolve the problem in the Nagorno-Karabakh region but made no contribution to the situation whatsoever.
“Unfortunately, the president of France behaves clumsily in real terms. He has messed around because of his clumsiness,” Erdoğan said, criticizing Macron for his approach towards the blast-hit Lebanon whose economy is almost collapsed.
“What happened? People of Lebanon have shown the door to him. He did the same thing in Libya by supporting the coup plotter [General Khalifa] Haftar. There happened a Berlin Conference (on Libya). The U.N. does not recognize Haftar, but you take sides with him,” he said.
Recalling an incident between Turkey and France in June as the latter argued that a Turkish military vessel threatened a French frigate off Libya, Erdoğan said: “It did not work, of course. Well, Macron is such a character.”
Erdoğan also said that Macron’s wrongful policies concerning the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict would almost end ties between Azerbaijan and France. “Macron is such a rookie in politics,” he added.
On being asked about the likelihood of the United States to impose sanctions on Turkey over the purchase of S-400s from Russia, he said that the impositions of sanctions would mean disrespect to Turkey.
“Turkey is a NATO ally. So is the U.S. Besides Turkey is one of the top five important NATO countries. It’s not an ordinary country,” he said, describing that the imposition of sanctions under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) as disrespectful to Turkey.
“Democrats will now take over the administration. What happened that they are imposing CAATSA sanctions now?” he asked.
Erdoğan said the president-elect Joe Biden know each other very well as the latter was the vice president during the eight-year-long Obama administration.
“He knows me very well, and I know him very well too. But he made a statement [about me] which I did not reply,” he recalled, referring to Biden’s characterization of his rule as authoritarian.
“As I am accustomed to such things, I believe we will see the course [of developments] after the inauguration [in the U.S.]. We will keep our patients and wait for it.”