ANKARA (Hurriyet)–Promising its closest ally Azerbaijan that it won’t leave it in the lurch, Turkey will try to press influential countries to let them push for a swift resolution on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
“To be able to turn this normalization [between Turkey and Armenia] into permanent peace, we are expecting a forthwith settlement on the dispute between Armenia and Azerbaijan with the contributions of the international community,” Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu told reporters late Tuesday.
As stated in the joint statement issued by Turkey and Armenia, under Swiss mediation, the two countries will complete internal political deliberation on the signing of the two protocols for the establishment of relations within six weeks. Then the two countries will have to complete parliamentary ratification processes to let the protocols enter into force. If there are no delays, the process is expected to be completed before the end of this year or early 2010.
However, Turkey continues to hinge the normalization of its relations on Armenia to what it calls improvements on the Nagorno-Karabakh track. Ankara earlier assured Azerbaijan that it would not open the border with Armenia unless the Karabakh Armenian territories liberated from Azeri rule during the conflict are not returned to Baku’s control.
Turkey has already launched a new diplomatic initiative for mobilizing international actors in this regard, according to sources. Davutoglu held a long phone conversation with the foreign minister of France and the US Secretary of State, and the two French and US members of the Minsk Group, tasked with settling the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. The issue was already largely discussed with Russia, the third member of the Minsk Group. Davutoglu will continue to discuss the issue with his counterparts on every occasion, Hurriyet said, citing unnamed sources.
The issue will also be on the agenda of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s visit to the UN General Assembly late September. The Foreign Ministry is also trying to arrange bilateral meetings with the United States, France and Russia with Erdogan, who also hopes to take the issue to the G-8 meeting in Pittsburgh at the end of this month.
One of Ankara’s short-term expectations is to let Armenia and Azerbaijan agree on an interim agreement for the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. A meeting between the leaders of the two countries is scheduled for November 8 in Moldova during the summit of the Commonwealth of the Independent States.
Accompanied with this deal, Ankara is stating that the reconciliation process between the three countries will require Armenia to accept an agree to the return of the liberated territories to Azeri rule.