Turkey to Keep Border with Armenia Closed

(AFP)–Turkey reinforced its ties with neighboring Azerbaijan on Monday when the Turkish foreign minister said his country would not re-open its border with Armenia.

"For now–it is out of the question to re-open the Turkish-Armenian border," Abdullah Gul said–days after visiting Azeri President Ilham Aliyev.

Turkey closed its border with Armenia in 1993 to support Baku in its war against Yerevan over the Mountainous Karabagh enclave. Azerbaijan had feared that Turkey would re-open its border with Armenia in a bid to please the European Union–which it is hoping to join. Aliyev said in a recent interview that relations with Ankara would suffer if Turkey again opened the border.

While Turkey’s foreign minister renewed his support for Azerbaijan on Monday–he also urged the two countries to find a solution over Karabagh. "We cannot let this question go into hibernation," he said. He said Ankara wants to organize a meeting "in the next few months" between Turkey–Azerbaijan–and Armenia to help find a settlement over the region.

A Turkish diplomat told AFP that the meeting–the third of its kind in recent years–could take place on the sidelines of the NATO summit in Istanbul on June 29.

Improvement of ties between Azerbaijan and Armenia carry significance for Turkey. Such a prospect can pave the way for a corresponding thaw in relations between Ankara and Yerevan.

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