YEREVAN (Arka)—Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has “permanently removed his country from taking part in regional developments,” Armenia’s presidential spokesman Arman Saghatelyan said on his Twitter page Thursday, referring to statements made by Erdogan in Baku.
Erdogan said during a visit to Baku on Wednesday that Turkish-Armenian relations would not be normalized until a resolution to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict that would be beneficial for Azerbaijan is reached.
The trip to Baku was Erdogan’s first official state visit to a foreign country, a customary tradition for Turkey’s newly elected presidents.
Calling Turkey and Azerbaijan “two nations from one stem” Erdogan said in Baku that Azerbaijan’s rights should be taken into consideration when discussing a resolution to the Karabakh conflict. He assured Aliyev that “if the conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia is resolved, then the problems between Turkey and Armenia will also be solved.”
Late last month, Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian invited the Turkish president to take part in the commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the 1915 Armenian Genocide in the Ottoman Empire. The invitation was handed by Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian, who attended Erdogan’s inauguration ceremony in Ankara.
Speaking to Tert.am, Artsakh’s presidential spokesman David Babayan described the Turkish leader’s trip, as well as his statements made in Baku, as a manifestation of pan-Turkist policies.
“This reflects the true situation. It is good in a way that Turkey makes statements of the kind, unmasking its own goals and the basic concepts of its policies. I see nothing bad about this. It was predictable and did not come as a surprise. Statements of the kind have always been made,” Babayan explained.
“Turkey and Azerbaijan act as the closest allies. Furthermore, Azerbaijan is trying to become part of Turkey. This is a reflection of pan-Turkist policies. Turkey has always made statements of the kind, so this isn’t anything new. Turkey won’t recognize the Genocide; it keeps denying the fact. This too, is a continuation of genocidal policies. They are doing everything possible to destabilize the situation,” Babayan said.
Commenting on Erdogan’s statement, Vahan Badasyan, a member of the Nagorno-Karabakh National Assembly, said he believes that it is time for Armenia to announce officially that its relations with Turkey will remain frozen as long as the country refuses to accept and recognize the Armenian Genocide.
“The Armenian side should hurry to make such a statement, as Turkey may begin mixing up the Genocide with the Karabakh issue. I think our diplomacy is slowing its efforts from that point of view. It is important for us to state that Turkey has nothing to do with Karabakh. If it has to, why doesn’t it then share an equal responsibility with Azerbaijan?” Badasyan said.
Describing Azerbaijani policies against Karabakh as aggression, Badasyan noted that the country has lost historically Armenian lands that it was given during the Soviet years. “The Karabakh side stood up for the defense of those lands, justifiably protecting itself from aggression. We absolutely do not care of what Erdogan will do or say; we just have to be ready for everything,” said the lawmaker.