Border with Armenia to Stay Closed, Says Erdogan

ANKARA (Combined Sources)–Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Sunday Turkey will keep its border with Armenia closed if the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict remains unresolved.

Erdogan was quoted Monday by the Anatolia news agency as saying that “if the occupation of (Nagorno Karabakh) continues, we will not take such a step.”

He made his remarks during a press conference where he sought to update the media on his recent trip to Washington DC for US President Obama’s Nuclear Summit. Erdogan met with Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian on the sidelines of the trip for talks centered on their countries’ stalled diplomatic rapprochement.

The reopening of the Turkish-Armenian border is part of a US-brokered accord the two countries signed in October to establish diplomatic ties and needs parliamentary ratification to take effect.

In discussing his talks with Sarkisian, Erdogan said: “I think if the Karabakh issue is solved, there will be no problems in opening the Turkish-Armenian border. Therefore, the Minsk Group should step up its work. I discussed the issue with the presidents of the United States and Russia, Obama and Medvedev, in Washington, as well as with President Sarkozy during my recent visit to Paris. But despite this, they have been unable to achieve results for 20 years now.”

Turkey closed its border with Armenia in 1993 in a show of solidarity with Azerbaijan after the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic declared its independence from Soviet Azerbaijan.

Erdogan also criticized Washington for not inviting Azerbaijan to the Nuclear Security Summit held from April 12-13. “I told the American administration openly that had Azerbaijan been among the participants, we could have held meetings with six states, including the co-chairs of the Minsk Group. That is, we would have had more active meetings on all these issues.”


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One Comment;

  1. Norin Radd said:

    Whether it's “20 years” or 100 years, the matter of Arstakh (former known as Nagorno-Karabagh) is already resolved. In fact it was resolved 20 years ago when native Armenians living on their own historic land declared independence and fought back illegal Azeri annexation of land that should have re-joined with Armenia as per Soviet international agreements and accords signed by both Armenia and Azerbaijan during the Bolshevik revolution in which both states became members of the USSR.

    The land mass Arstakh (formerly known as Nagorno-Karabagh), was to belong the majority inhabitants at the such times during which the USSR were to dissolve. After 1989 de-solution of the USSR, the majority inhabitants of that land were Armenians by a clear large margin of 85%, however, illegal attempted Anexation by Azerbaijan of that land through oppression of the Armenian population not too mention pogroms and ethnic cleansing in order to diminish the Armenian population of that region, led to a war of self-determination, defense, and independence which the Armenians unanimously won.

    End of story, case closed. However, it would be nice to have a port city as well, and if the Azeris want to re-engage militarily again, their big brother Turkey will be negotiating for Baku to be returned at the next Nuclear Summit.