Turkey to ‘Guarantee’ Azeri Control of Nakhichevan

ANKARA (News.az)–Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu on Wednesday reiterated his country’s ongoing support for Azerbaijan’s control over the once-Armenian province of Nakhijevan.

“Nakhchivan’s security and welfare are our security and welfare,” Davutoglu said.

Davutoglu made his remarks during a press conference after meeting with the speaker of Nakhichevan’s parliament, Vasif Talibov, in Ankara. “It’s clear that Turkey is a guarantor of the status of Nakhchivan. This is a requirement of international law and Turkey’s commitment.”

The region, once part of the historic heartland of Armenia, is separated from Azerbaijan by Armenia’s southern Syunik region. It was transfered to the Soviet Socialist Republic of Azerbaijan in the early 1920s after Soviet troops occupied the first independent republic of Armenia and ousted its democratically elected government. The 1921 Treaty of Kars, which determined the borders of the Soviet republics of Armenia and Azerbaijan, committed Turkey to serve as the guarantor for Azerbaijan’s control of Nakhichevan.

In talks with Talibov, Davutoglu discussed economic and cultural relations between Turkey and Nakhchivan and pledged that his government would work to “ensure that Turkish Airlines begin flights from Istanbul to Nakhchivan soon.”

Talibov also met with Turkish State Minister Hayati Yazici to discuss the establishment of joint customs point on the border between Turkey and Nakhchivan.

Yazici said that officials in Nakhchivan, Turkey and Iran were mulling over setting up a joint customs checkpoint at Dilucu. “If this gate is opened for joint use of these three countries, it will be a first in the world,” Yazici told reporters during his meeting with Talibov.

Earlier this month, Turkey said it had reached agreements with Iran and Syria for a similar plan to set up shared custom points.

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