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Turkey will continue to lend full support to Azerbaijan in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and regard its resolution as a precondition for normalizing relations with Armenia, a senior Turkish diplomat said on Friday.

Azerbaijani news agencies quoted Hulusi Kilic, the Turkish ambassador to Azerbaijan, as saying that Ankara will oppose any Karabakh settlement unacceptable to Baku because “we stand for justice.”

“Our main condition is the liberation of Karabakh. Only after that would we open the border with Armenia,” Kilic told a news conference in Baku, according to the APA news agency.

Turkey has cited the same reason for its failure to ratify Western-backed normalization agreements with Armenia signed in 2009.

Armenia rejects this precondition, saying that none of the two protocols makes any reference to the Karabakh dispute.

The United States also supports an unconditional ratification of the protocols. Vice President Joe Biden pressed Turkish leaders to drop the Karabakh linkage when he visited Ankara and Istanbul earlier this month. He reportedly expressed hope that the Turkish parliament will ratify the accords “in the months ahead.”
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