Azerbaijan criticises Turkey-Armenia protocols

Erdogan said earlier this year he would not open the border until Yerevan ended its occupation of Azerbaijan.

Azerbaijan criticises Turkey-Armenia protocols

Azerbaijan on Sunday criticised Turkey-Armenia deal to normalise ties, warned against unilateral opening of the Turkish-Armenian border without any progress on Armenia-occupied Karabakh region.

Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan said earlier this year he would not open the border until Yerevan ended its occupation of Azerbaijan.

"The normalisation of relations between Turkey and Armenia before the withdrawal of Armenian forces from occupied Azerbaijani territory is in direct contradiction with the interests of Azerbaijan and casts a shadow over the spirit of brotherly relations between Azerbaijan and Turkey, built on deep historical roots," the Azerbaijani foreign ministry said in a statement.

"Azerbaijan believes that the unilateral opening of the Turkish-Armenian border calls into question the architecture of peace and stability in the region," it added.

Azeri land Karabakh region has been under Armenian occupation in early 1990s in which nearly 30,000 people died and 2 million were forced to flee their homes.
Shootings between Armenian and Azerbaijani forces in the region remain common despite a 1994 cease fire.

Fighting between Azerbaijan and Armenia over the area ended in 1994 when a ceasefire was signed. The two sides are still technically at war because no peace treaty has been signed.

Turkey and Armenia have no diplomatic ties or economic relations since Armenia declared its independence in 1991 and Turkey closed its border with Armenia in 1993 after this country invaded the Upper-Karabakh region of Azerbaijan.

In July 2008, the then Turkish Foreign Minister Ali Babacan expressed Turkey's willingness to normalize relations with Yerevan.

Turkish President Abdullah Gul travelled to Armenia in September 2008 to watch the 2010 FIFA World Cup qualifier match between the two countries upon an invitation by President Serzh Sargsyan of Armenia.

After months-long Swiss mediated talks, Turkey and Armenia agreed about a month ago on a protocol to establish relations and open the border.

Azerbaijani and Armenian officials are also holding talks for over a year to find a settlement to the Upper Karabakh dispute.

Gul invited Sargsyan to watch the return match in Turkey on October 14. However, It is still unclear whether Sargsyah will travel to Turkey.


Agencies

Last Mod: 11 Ekim 2009, 11:00
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