Turkey not to open borders with Armenia until Nagorno-Karabakh conflict solution: PM

Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict Materials 20 April 2009 10:50 (UTC +04:00)
Turkey not to open borders with Armenia until Nagorno-Karabakh conflict solution: PM

Turkish Prime Minister Receb Tayyib Erdogan stated that his country will not open borders with neighbor Armenia until long-lasting Karabakh conflict is solved, RIA Novosti reported.

"Contacts between Turkey and Armenia are still lasting to normalize bilateral relations," Erdogan said while commenting on both country officials' holding private negotiations in Switzerland within two years. Turkey and Armenia are seeking to normalize the relations severed in 1993.

Turkish President Abdullah Gul visited Yerevan on Sept. 6, 2008 upon the invitation of his Armenian counterpart Serzh Sarkisyan to watch an Armenia-Turkey football match.

Efforts have been made to normalize ties between the two countries ever since

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.

Armenia and the international Armenian lobby assert that the Ottoman Empire committed genocide against the Armenians living in Anatolia in 1915. In an effort to win the support of the international community, the Armenian lobby has increased its propaganda in several countries and a number of governments already now recognize the Armenian genocide.

"However, opening our borders (with Armenia) is connected with settlement of the Karabakh issue. We will not open the borders, if the issue on the Azerbaijani occupied territories is not solved," local media quoted the Turkish premier.

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.