‘Turkey Cannot Play Any Role’ in Karabakh Peace Process, Says Yerevan

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President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey presents a memento to his Azerbaijani counterpart Ilham Aliyev in Baku on Feb. 25

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey presents a memento to his Azerbaijani counterpart Ilham Aliyev in Baku on Feb. 25

Comments from the Turkish foreign minister prompted Yerevan to, once again, assert that Turkey cannot play any role in the ongoing Nagorno-Karabakh peace process.

Armenian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Anna Naghdalyan, in response to a reporter’s query, cited Turkey’s continued anti-Armenian posturing.

“With its unfriendly policy toward Armenia and the Armenian people, which in the context of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict also includes a unilateral military support for Azerbaijan, Turkey cannot play any role in the Nagorno-Karabakh peace process,” said Naghdalyan.

Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, during a rare meeting with OSCE Minsk Group co-chairmen in Ankara, pressed the mediators to do more to resolve the Karabakh conflict. According to a statement from the Turkish Foreign Ministry, Cavusoglu told the U.S., Russian and French mediators that the conflict resolution “should fully respect the sovereignty, the territorial integrity and the internationally recognized borders of Azerbaijan.”

Armenia’s Foreign Minister Zohrab Mnatsakanyan was quick to respond to Cavusoglu, Tweeting a biblical reference from Luke: “Physician, heal thyself.”

Turkey has always pressed for a resolution to the Karabakh conflict that will completely benefit Azerbaijan. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey reiterated this position to his Azerbaijani counterpart Ilham Aliyev when he visited Baku last week. In fact, Turkey preconditioned such a resolution to the conflict to its signing of the Turkey-Armenia Protocols.

“It is our greatest desire to resolve the Nagorno Karabakh conflict on the basis of Azerbaijan’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” Erdogan said at a joint news conference with Aliyev in Baku on February 25.

Turkey’s anti-Armenian rhetoric is nothing new. Nor is Armenia’s insistence that Ankara stay as far away as possible from the Karabakh peace process. What raises concerns, however, is why the Minsk Group Co-chairmen are engaging Ankara in the process.

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