Turkey's Recep Tayyip Erdogan, left, with Azerbaijan's Ilham Aliyev (Nordic Monitor photo)

Ankara Sets Preconditions: Wants Yerevan to Reach Peace Deal with Baku; Open ‘Zangezur Corridor’


YEREVAN (Azatutyun.am/PanArmenian.net) — Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Çavusoglu on Thursday, July 21, made the normalization of Turkish-Armenian relations conditional on Armenia negotiating a peace accord with Azerbaijan and opening a land corridor to Nakhichevan.

Çavusoglu complained that Yerevan has taken no “concrete steps” in that direction after four rounds of Turkish-Armenian normalization talks held this year.

“We don’t yet see clear steps from Armenia on the Zangezur [corridor] and other projects or the peace treaty,” he told Turkish state television. “Armenia’s leadership headed by Prime Minister Pashinyan should take positive steps for peace. Words alone are not enough.”

“Whether Armenia likes it or not, this is the reality,” said, pointing to the Turkish-Azerbaijani alliance. “We are one nation and two states. That is why if there is to be peace in the region, everybody needs to take steps, including Georgia and Central Asian countries. We expect concrete steps from Armenia on this issue, be it Zangezur, the comprehensive peace treaty or steps towards us.”

Çavusoglu has repeatedly made clear before that Ankara is coordinating the ongoing Turkish-Armenian dialogue with Baku. He stressed in February the importance of the Armenian-Azerbaijani peace treaty which Baku says must commit Yerevan to recognizing Azerbaijani sovereignty over Nagorno-Karabakh.

The Armenian government has said, by contrast, that it wants an unconditional normalization of relations with Turkey. Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan complained in May that Ankara is “synchronizing” the normalization process with Armenian-Azerbaijani peace talks.

Get the Mirror in your inbox:

Meeting in Vienna on July 1, special envoys of the two neighboring states agreed to open the Turkish-Armenian border to citizens of third countries and to allow mutual cargo shipments by air. The Turkish and Armenian foreign ministries said this will be done “at the earliest date possible.” But they set no concrete time frames.

Armenian opposition leaders have repeatedly accused Pashinyan of being ready to accept the Turkish preconditions. The prime minister’s political allies have denied that.

Pashinyan’s administration maintains that the possible peace accord with Azerbaijan must address the thorny issue of Karabakh’s status. It has also ruled out any exterritorial corridors passing through Armenia’s internationally recognized territory and southeastern Syunik province in particular.

Syunik is the sole Armenian province bordering Iran. Tehran has repeatedly warned against attempts to strip it of the land border with Armenia.

“The Islamic Republic will not tolerate policies or plans that lead to the closing of the Iran-Armenia border,” Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, tweeted on Tuesday after holding separate talks in Tehran with the presidents of Turkey and Russia.

Chairman of the Armenian parliament’s Standing Committee on Foreign Relations Eduard Aghajanyan said that Armenia’s position on the Armenian-Turkish rapprochement has not been changed, and that any precondition is unacceptable for Yerevan.

Aghajanyan made the remarks Friday, July 22 at a joint press conference with and the Chairman of the European Parliament’s Committee on Foreign Affairs David McAllister, who arrived in Armenia on regional visit.

Aghajanyan highlighted the meetings of the Delegation led by McAllister with Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, President of the Parliament Alen Simonyan, Vice President Ruben Rubinyan, members of the Standing Committee on Foreign Relations and the representatives of other political forces in parliament.

According to him, modern regional problems, particularly developments in the context of the Armenian-Azerbaijani, Armenian-Turkish relations, the problems combining them the ways of solutions, as well as the issues of the return of Armenian prisoners of war, the protection of historical-cultural heritage and other numerous issues.

McAllister underscored the active role of the European Parliament in the work for the solution of the regional problems and reminded that the European Parliament called on the two countries to return prisoners of war. He noted that the Council of Europe would continue to be in contact with their Armenian colleagues in any event.

Get the Mirror-Spectator Weekly in your inbox: