Gul to Visit Baku

ANKARA (Today’s Zaman)—Turkish President Abdullah Gul will pay an official two-day visit to Azerbaijan early next week, about a month before Turkey’s planned participation in a NATO exercise in Armenia. 

Gul is scheduled to arrive in Baku on Monday. In addition to bilateral issues, the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict will likely to be on the agenda of talks between Gul and his Azerbaijani counterpart, Ilham Aliyev.

The visit also comes ahead of a planned NATO exercise to be held in Armenia. Turkey will be among the NATO and partner countries taking part in the exercise to be held by NATO’s Euro-Atlantic Disaster Response Coordination Center called “Armenia 2010.”

The exercise, organized by the EADRCC as a crisis management field exercise, will take place between Sept. 11 and 17 in Armenia. The border between Turkey and Armenia may be opened “temporarily” for the exercise, Turkish diplomatic sources told Today’s Zaman last month.

At the time, the Foreign Ministry confirmed that a possible border opening would only be for the purposes of the exercise. In a statement the ministry said an “exceptional and temporary” opening of the border was under consideration in the event Turkey is asked to allow the overland transfer to Armenia of materials to be used in the exercise. “Other comments and reports regarding this issue do not reflect the truth,” read the statement.

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