Erdogan Brushes off Idea of Railway to Armenia

ANKARA (Armenpress)–Wrapping up a one-day working visit to Ankara on Monday–Azerbaijani Prime Minister Ilham Aliyev said he was fully satisfied with the results of talks.

Speaking at a news conference–Aliyev and his Turkish counterpart–Recep Tayyip Erdogan–pledged to further expand relations between the nations.

During the same press conference–Erdogan insisted that Turkey would not reopen its railway to Armenia and would continue to support Azerbaijan in the Mountainous Karabagh Republic (MKR) conflict.

Concerning the opening of the Kars-Gyumri railway–Erdogan said only that the railway between Kars and Tbilisi would soon reopen; "there is no other plan that includes Armenia," he stressed.

Appointed prime minister by his ailing 80-year old father–Heydar Aliyev–in late August–Ilham Aliyev–a candidate in Azerbaijan’s October 15 presidential elections–also met with Turkish President Ahmet Necdet Sezer and Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul to seek Turkey’s support for his candidacy.

According to Turkish diplomatic sources–Turkey is more interested in maintaining stability in Azerbaijan than in endorsing any one of the twelve candidates running for president.

The Turkish Daily News–however–quoted a Caucasus region specialist from the Center for Eurasian Studies–Sinan Ogan–as saying–"Turkey’s clear support for Aliyev increases his votes by twenty percent . . . Until now–Turkey has kept an equal distance from all candidates. Turkey does not want turbulence in the oil-rich country."

The strategic Baku-Tblisi-Ceyhan (BTC) oil pipeline project was also high on the agenda during the talks between Aliyev and Turkey’s president–foreign minister–and Energy Minister Hilmi Guler.

It was Aliyev’s first visit to Turkey since he was named prime minister last month–an attempt by the ailing 80-year-old president Heydar Aliyev–the opposition claims–to hand over power to his son in the upcoming presidential elections–in which both father and son are candidates.

ARF ON ERDOGAN STATEMENT

Responding to Edogan’s commen’s on Armenia–ARF Supreme Body Member Gegham Manukian said–"Turkey’s intolerant policy towards Armenia is well-known–and the majority of Armenia’s have always known that the ongoing blockade of Armenia will–in fact–continue and that Ankara will maintain its biased position."

Manukian explained that although Ankara’s position has deep-seeded roots–the continuation of its policy will nevertheless hinder the establishment of justice and tolerance in the region. "Erdogan’s statement should be a wake-up call for those Armenian officials who call for the immediate opening of borders–urging that the Gyumri railway should be repaired and ready for operation. Such calls are useless because the opening of the border does not depend on the Armenian side."

"The border was closed by Ankara; Ankara should reopen it. The Turkish Prime Minister’s statement once again proves that the Turkish government is not ready to listen to the international community’s deman’s; it is not ready to work in the spirit of cooperation and tolerance. Turkey will continue to violate human rights and international norms by constantly denying the Armenian Genocide and blockading Armenia."

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