Turkish Delegation to Stress Support for Azerbaijan

az-turk-flagsBAKU (Combined Sources)–Deputies from Turkey’s Parliament will visit Azerbaijan next week to allay concerns that Turkey has not changed its policy on the Karabakh conflict, Turkey’s World Bulletin news service reported Friday.

The deputies will be traveling to Baku as part of a delegation headed by the chairman of the Turkey-Azerbaijan Parliamentary Friendship group, Mustafa Kabakci, who said they would “inform the Azeri public” that Turkey’s policy toward Azerbaijan has not changed.

Kabakci, a member of the ruling Justice and Development party (AKP) stressed that his government will continue working with Azerbaijan to find mutually acceptable solutions to the problems of the region. “Turkey always stands together with its Azerbaijani brothers and will continue to do so,” he said. “We’re all bothered that the Turkish-Azerbaijan brotherhood was damaged by unconfirmed reports. Our sensitivity on the Karabakh issue continues.”

The Turkish parliamentarians will meet with their Azerbaijani counterparts, representatives of non-governmental organizations and the media, Kabakci was quoted by Today.az as saying.

The news came as statements this week by Turkey’s Prime Minister and President indicating that Ankara is linking the normalization of its relations with Yerevan with a resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict acceptable to Azerbaijan. The Turkish government appeared ready to drop that linkage when it embarked on an unprecedented dialogue with the Sarkisian administration last year.

The apparent shift followed an uproar in Azerbaijan over reports that Ankara and Yerevan are poised to sign this month an agreement envisaging an end to the 16-year Turkish blockade of Armenia. Azerbaijani leaders publicly warned their Turkish counterparts against lifting the embargo before a Karabakh settlement.

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