Newspaper: Turkey offers Armenia to participate in regional project in case of Nagorno-Karabakh conflict settlement

Newspaper: Turkey offers Armenia to participate in regional project in case of Nagorno-Karabakh conflict settlement

Azerbaijan, Baku, Feb. 23 /Trend E.Tariverdiyeva/

Turkey has proposed that Armenia take part in its comprehensive regional transportation project linking Europe to Asia, if there are concrete developments in solving Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, presenting this proposal also to OSCE Minsk Group, Turkish Hürriyet Daily News newspaper reported.

With reference to diplomatic sources, the newspaper said Ankara is trying to activate OSCE Minsk Group.

"We introduced the Integrated Transportation Corridors Project to the Minsk Group in November 2012. This project is to be implemented in peace time and particularly after Armenia moves on with regard to its occupation in seven regions bordering Nagorno-Karabakh. We are proposing full normalization of ties between Turkey-Armenia and Armenia-Azerbaijan," Turkish diplomatic sources told the Hürriyet Daily News.

According to the newspaper, Turkey submitted its project to the Minsk Group during the meeting in Vienna on November 8, 2012.

"It has received a positive response from all Minsk Group countries. We have made clear to them that this project is aiming at creating a peace perspective to the benefit of all relevant parties," the newspaper's sources noted.

As the newspaper stated, the proposed transportation project has two phases. On the one hand it is focused on linking Turkey, Armenia, Azerbaijan and Russian Federation through fixing unused railways and building new ones.

"Along with the Kars-Tbilisi-Baku railway project that is expected to be concluded by
the end of this year, the Turkey-Armenia railway may be re-opened after just a minor rehabilitation," the newspaper said.

In consideration with the economic prospects and strategic importance that the outer region of the Caucasus offers, Turkey's project also addresses the need to link regional countries to Europe and Asia, the newspaper wrote. A transportation line between London and Beijing will soon be possible with the conclusion of the Marmaray Project and the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railroad, while normalization of the political situation in the region would also allow Armenia to join this growing strategic picture, sources close to the project claim.

In addition, according to the sources of the Turkish newspaper, Azerbaijan has been informed about the content of the project by Turkey.

"We have made clear them that this is a project that will be implemented only after Armenia moves towards peace," Azerbaijani sources stressed, the newspaper reported.

Armenia, however, has so far remained cool to Turkey's project, and has not conveyed an official reaction through the Minsk Group.

The conflict between the two South Caucasus countries began in 1988 when Armenia made territorial claims against Azerbaijan. Armenian armed forces have occupied 20 per cent of Azerbaijan since 1992, including the Nagorno-Karabakh region and seven 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 peace negotiations.

Armenia has not yet implemented four U.N. Security Council resolutions on the liberation of the Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding regions.

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