Azeri Parliament Members Seek Assurances About Protocols

Protesters wave Azeri and Turkish flags at the Armenia-Turkey soccer match on Octeber 14.

Protesters wave Azeri and Turkish flags at the Armenia-Turkey soccer match on Octeber 14.

ANKARA (Hurriyet)—As the Turkish and Armenian presidents met to discuss the establishment of bilateral ties on the margins of a football match Wednesday, a group of Azeri deputies flew to the Turkish capital in an effort to convince Turkish lawmakers to postpone the ratification of the protocols signed between Ankara and Yerevan on Saturday.

Eleven deputies from the Azerbaijani parliament met Tuesday with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Parliament Speaker Mehmet Ali Sahin in Ankara. The deputies requested that top Turkish officials not ratify the protocols signed with Armenia until Yerevan withdraws from the Azerbaijani territories it has occupied since the early 1990s.

Broadcaster NTV said the deputies were satisfied with the messages they received from Erdogan. The prime minister assured them that Turkey would not act against Azerbaijani interests.

Azerbaijan has criticized the agreement between Turkey and Armenia, saying it aggravates the dispute over its breakaway enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh despite the fact that Turkey is still holding the settlement of the territorial dispute as a precondition for the opening of the borders.

The Azeri Foreign Ministry said Sunday that the agreement “clouds the spirit of brotherly relations” between Azerbaijan and Turkey. It said Turkey should not have re-established diplomatic ties with Armenia before the conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh was settled.

“The normalization of relations between Turkey and Armenia before the withdrawal of Armenian troops from occupied Azeri territory is in direct contradiction to the national interests of Azerbaijan,” the Azeri Foreign Ministry said.

The ministry added the deal casts a shadow over the fraternal relations between Azerbaijan and Turkey, which are built on historical roots. “Considering the importance of the opening of all borders and communication in the region, Azerbaijan believes the unilateral opening of the Turkey-Armenia border calls into question the architecture of regional peace and security.”

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