Turkey has again reiterated its long-standing linkage between the ratification of its fence-mending agreements with Armenia and a resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict acceptable to Azerbaijan.
“We shut the [Turkish-Armenian] border because of the occupation of Azeri soil,” Turkish Prime Recep Tayyip Erdogan was quoted as saying by the Anatolia news agency on Sunday in a report cited by Agence France Presse.
“The occupation should end so that Turkey can easily open its [border] gates. But if the occupation continues, we will not take such a step,” he said.
Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu on Monday dismissed some Armenian pro-government politicians’ suggestions that Ankara might open the frontier without ratifying the Turkish-Armenian protocols. “It is out of question for Turkey to open its border gate without the ratification of the protocols,” he said, according to Anatolia.
Davutoglu was speaking at a news conference in Ankara ahead of his visit to Azerbaijan, Turkey’s closest regional ally strongly opposed to the unconditional normalization of Turkish-Armenian relations.
The remarks by Erdogan are a further indication that he and Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian failed to make further progress in the normalization process at their talks held in Washington last week. The lack of such progress made a unilateral Armenian pullout from the agreements more likely.
Still, Davutoglu insisted that the dramatic Turkish-Armenian rapprochement, which began two years ago, is not over. “We are positive on the process and we have full confidence that in the end it will lead us to a point,” he said.