“Nagorny Karabakh key to deals with Armenia”

Turkish-Armenian deals can only be ratified after the Nagorny Karabakh issue is resolved.

This is according to Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, who spoke at a meeting with his Azerbaijani counterpart Elmar Mammadyarov in Athens on Tuesday.

“Davutoglu… noted that ratification of Armenian-Turkish protocols… is only possible after Armenia leaves the occupied Azerbaijani territories,” the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry said.

In October, Turkey and Armenia signed historic accords on diplomatic relations and on development of bilateral ties. The documents have yet to be ratified by the country’s parliaments, and face opposition from nationalist parties in both countries.

Turkey closed its border with Armenia in 1993 in a show of support for Azerbaijan, a predominantly Muslim, Turkic-speaking ally of Ankara, following a bloody conflict over Nagorny Karabakh between the two republics.

Ankara has also demanded that Yerevan drop its campaign to have the mass killings of Armenians by Ottoman Turks in 1915 internationally recognized as genocide.

Nagorny Karabakh, a region in Azerbaijan with a largely Armenian population, has been a source of conflict between the former Soviet republics since the late 1980s. The mountainous province has its own government and is de facto independent.

The war between Azerbaijan and Armenia over the enclave in 1988-1994 left an estimated 35,000 people dead. Sporadic violence on the border has been reported ever since.

The conflict is mediated by the OSCE Minsk Group, comprising the United States, Russia and France.

On December 1-2 Athens hosts the 17th Ministerial Council of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.

Check Also

Turkey requests to buy 40 US F-16 fighter planes

Just last week Erdogan boasted about potential new defense deals with Russia, including aircraft purchases. …