Turkey's PM: Armenia deal approval linked to Karabakh pullout

Erdogan says Turkey would not look favourably on the accords, signed in Zurich on Saturday, unless Armenia withdraws from Azerbaijani land.

Turkey's PM: Armenia deal approval linked to Karabakh pullout

Turkey's Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan said on Sunday that Armenia must withdraw from Nagorno-Karabakh in Azerbaijan to assure his parliament's approval for a peace accord signed between Turkey and Armenia.

"Turkey cannot take a positive step towards Armenia unless Armenia withdraws from Azerbaijani land...if that issue is solved our people and our parliament will have a more positive attitude towards this protocol and this process," Erdogan told a party congress in Ankara.

"We will bring the protocol to parliament but parliament has to see the conditions between Azerbaijan and Armenia to decide whether this protocol can be implemented," Erdogan said.

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

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.

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, 16:14
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