Armenia has again spoken out against Turkey’s involvement in international efforts to resolve the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, citing Ankara’s full and unconditional support for Azerbaijan.
“We continue to believe that Turkey has nothing to do in the Nagorno-Karabakh settlement process,” the Armenian Foreign Ministry spokesman, Tigran Balayan, said late on Wednesday.
“The only assistance which Turkey can provide, given its completely pro-Azerbaijani position, is to stay away from the process as much as possible,” he said in written comments to News.am.
Balayan was reacting to Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu’s remark earlier on Wednesday that Ankara stands ready to contribute to a Karabakh settlement, including through joint efforts with Russia and Azerbaijan.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan also called for a trilateral cooperation framework comprising Turkey, Russia and Azerbaijan after holding talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Saint Petersburg on Tuesday. He said the three states should jointly deal with regional issues and the Karabakh conflict in particular.
Turkish media also quoted Erdogan as speaking of progress made in the Karabakh peace process of late “Mr. Putin is dealing with this issue,” he said, commenting on his talks with the Russian leader that highlighted an ongoing thaw in Russian-Turkish relations.
Those relations had been strained since last November’s downing by a Turkish fighter jet of a Russian warplane near the Syrian-Turkish border.
Turkey -- Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev (L) and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan hug after signing bilateral agreements following the 5th Turkey-Azerbaijan High Level Strategic Cooperation Council meeting at the Presidential Complex in Ankara,
Successive Armenian governments have said that Turkey cannot act as a mediator in the Karabakh dispute because of its staunchly pro-Azerbaijani stance.
Erdogan underlined that policy when he pledged to back Baku "to the end" immediately after the start of an Azerbaijani offensive in Karabakh in early April.
Russia, which helped to stop the fighting on April 5, denounced at the time “one-sided” statements made by Erdogan and other Turkish leaders. Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev suggested that the “Turkish factor” might have also been behind the escalation of the Karabakh conflict. Ankara rejected the Russian criticism.