Erdogan Says Turkey Will Host Next Sarkisian-Aliyev Summit

NEW YORK (Combined Sources)–Turkey’s Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, on Friday made clear his country’s intentions to gain a foothold in South Caucasus and particularly the Nagorno-Karabakh peace process, announcing at New York’s Columbia University that Turkey’s president would soon host a second round of trilateral talks with the presidents of Armenia and Azerbajan.

Erdogan’s statemen’s follow similar remarks made by his foreign minister, Ali Babacan, earlier Wednesday. Armenia’s foreign ministry, in response to an inquiry on the Babacan announcement only said that Foreign Minister Eduard Nalbandian was scheduled to visit Istanbul for the upcoming Black Sea Economic Cooperation summit. Armenia assumed the rotating presidency of the economic body last month.

Less than two weeks ago the president of Armenia and Azerbaijan, Serzh Sarkisian and Ilham Aliyev, were joined by their Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev in Moscow to sign a declaration pledging to step up their efforts in seeking a negotiated peace.

Speaking to reporters during a press conference, Erdogan said that the two leaders made a significant step and Turkey is willing to host the second meeting.

He said solving the problem could lead to a new step in the Karabakh peace process and the start of a new process regarding the relations between Turkey and Armenia. Turkey has consistently linked the establishment of normal relations with Armenia to a resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict favoring Azerbaijan. According to analysts close to the conflict, Turkey’s attempts to hinge the two disputes are part of a larger bid to gain influence in the region.

Asked whether Turkey, as a member of the U.N. Security Council, would pursue its own national policy or U.N. policies if a problem about the Caucasus and the Nagorno-Karabakh was brought to the Council, Erdogan said Turkey would contribute to speed up efforts for settlement of the problem. But he did not elaborate how.

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