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Turkey To Keep Coordinating Armenian Policy With Azerbaijan


AZERBAIJAN -- Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu (left) meets with his Azeri counterpart Ceyhun Bayramov in Baku, November 1, 2020

Turkey will continue to coordinate with Azerbaijan its ongoing attempts to normalize relations with neighboring Armenia, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu reiterated on Thursday.

“We have not taken and will not take any steps without consulting with Azerbaijan,” Cavusoglu told Turkish state television. “Azerbaijan too would like us to communicate with Armenia directly, without any mediators, because some issues require a direct dialogue.”

“This problem in the South Caucasus ended with Azerbaijan’s victory in Karabakh. We now need peace and cooperation,” he said, adding that the outcome of the 2020 war is both a “lesson and opportunity” for Armenia.

Turkish and Armenian officials held last month the first round of negotiations on normalizing bilateral ties. They are scheduled to meet again on February 24.

Ankara has for decades linked the establishment of diplomatic relations with Yerevan and the opening of the Turkish-Armenian border to a resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict acceptable to Azerbaijan.

In recent months Turkish leaders have made statements making the normalization of Turkish-Armenian relations conditional on Armenia agreeing to open a land corridor that would connect Azerbaijan to its Nakhichevan exclave.

Cavusoglu mentioned the so-called “Zangezur corridor” in his latest televised remarks. He also stressed the importance of an Armenian-Azerbaijani “peace treaty” which Baku says must commit Armenia to recognizing Azerbaijani sovereignty over Karabakh.

Yerevan continues to insist on the Karabakh Armenians’ right to self-determination. It has also ruled out any exterritorial corridors passing through Armenia’s internationally recognized territory.

The Turkish-Armenian talks were on the agenda of Cavusoglu’s February 8 phone call with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

U.S. State Department spokesman Ned Price said they discussed “additional steps the United States could take to support these efforts.” He did not elaborate.

Commenting on the phone call, Cavusoglu said he asked Washington to encourage Armenian-American organizations to support Ankara’s dialogue with Yerevan.

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