We are willing to normalize ties with Armenia: Turkish FM
Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmad Davudoglu said a press conference in Washington that he wants Turkey-Armenia relations to be normalized, Cihan reported.
"We are willing to normalize ties with neighbor countries including Armenia as a part of the bilateral cooperation in an effort to ensure peace and stability," Davudoglu said.
The conflict between the two South Caucasus countries began in 1988 when Armenia made territorial claims against Azerbaijan. Armenian armed forces have occupied 20 percent of Azerbaijan since 1992, including the Nagorno-Karabakh region and 7 surrounding districts. Azerbaijan and Armenia signed a ceasefire agreement in 1994. The co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group - Russia, France, and the U.S. - are currently holding the peace negotiations.
Armenian-Turkish ties have been severed since 1993 due to Armenia's claims of an alleged genocide, and the country's occupation of 20 percent of Azerbaijani lands.
Turkish President Abdullah Gul visited Yerevan on Sept. 6, 2008 upon the invitation of his Armenian counterpart Serzh Sargsyan to watch an Armenia-Turkey football match.
Efforts have been made to normalize ties between the two countries ever since.
Different circles in Turkish public claim that Turkey will re-open borders with Armenia. However, Turkish Prime Minister said during his visit to Baku on May 12-13 that Turkey will not cooperate with Armenia until Azerbaijan's occupied lands are liberated.
Davudoglu added that problems between Armenia and Azerbaijan must be eliminated to ensure lasting pace in the South Caucasus. "Everyone must do utmost to ensure peace in the Caucasus," he said.
The foreign minister did not comment on opening of Turkey-Armenia border.