Turkey Says Azeri Gas Talks Stumble Over Armenia

BAKU (Reuters)–Talks between Turkey and Azerbaijan over securing gas for Europe have stalled due to disagreements over Turkey’s attempts to normalize relations with Armenia, Turkey said on Tuesday.

The talks over gas supplies from Azerbaijan’s Shah Deniz II gas project are crucial to help fill the European Union-backed Nabucco pipeline project, which aims to reduce Europe’s dependence on Russian gas.

But Turkey’s attempts to normalize relations with Armenia have angered fellow Azerbaijan. “We have not talked with the Azeris for between a month and a month and a half, the fundamental issue here is politics,” said Energy Minister Taner Yildiz, speaking at a news conference.

Yildiz said it was unclear whether a previous offer to transit the Azeri gas to Europe at below market prices had been accepted.

Turkey signed protocols late last year with Armenia to establish diplomatic relations and reopen their frontier, overcoming a century of hostility stemming from Ottoman Turkey’s Genocide of more than 1.5 million Armenians under the guise of World War I.

The Turkish-Armenian peace moves however have come to a standstill with Turkey demanding that Armenia accept a series of preconditions before the Turkish parliament can ratify the agreements.

Turkey closed its border with Armenia in 1993 in a move of solidarity with Azerbaijan during the conflict over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region.


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