Preconditions Set By Turkey Unacceptable to Armenia

YEREVAN (combined sources)–Any preliminary condition concerning the third country that Turkey lays down to improve the Armenian-Turkish relations is categorically unacceptable to Armenia. According to Armenian Foreign Minister Vardan Oskanian–the preliminary condition that Armenia concede the rights and give powers to a third party is a violation of international political standards. He said that Turkey can not make its relations with Armenia conditional on the latter’s ties with "a third country."

Prime Minister of Turkey Bullent Ecevit stated that Turkey will establish diplomatic relations with Armenia "on condition that Armenia’should withdraw its troops from Karabakh" and secure uninterrupted communication between Azerbaijan and Nakhijevan.

The minister also pointed out that the EU–USA and many other countries are very much interested in the improvement of Armenian-Turkish relations–but their efforts have yielded no positive results up to now. Proceeding from the fact that Turkey–seeking to become an EU member–is supposed to have good relations with its neighbors without any exceptions. "If the EU regards this issue as a priority and raises it before Turkey–some progress may take place," the minister said.

Turkish ambassador in Baku–Kadri Ecvet Tezcan–told the local ANS television channel on Wednesday–"I cannot imagine Nakhichevan separated from the main part of Azerbaijan."

"Also–everybody remembers that the Armenian region of Meghri was Azerbaijani land some time ago. This region was given to Armenia during Soviet times and consequently Nakhichevan and Azerbaijan were separated. That is why these two parts should be linked if any kind of peace is established. This is our opinion."

But Tezcan argued that Turkey wants to be "closely involved" in the Karabakh issue because of its "love for the Azerbaijani people and because of international law."It is certain that normal relations are not possible with Armenia as long as this country holds the territory of other countries under occupation," the envoy added.

Turkey is linked to Nakhichevan by a ten-kilometer strip of land. The Meghri corridor would provide it with a conduit to the rest of Azerbaijan and other Turkish-speaking republics of the former Soviet Union.

Following a wave of official recognitions of the 1915 genocide by several European parliamen’s late last year–Ankara signaled its intention to soften its policy on Armenia. But Oskanian claimed that the move has proved to be a public relations stunt aimed at staving off similar genocide resolutions by other Western legislatures.

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