West must stand firm on Nagorno-Karabakh: expert
Azerbaijan, Baku, Nov. 10 / Trend E.Tariverdiyeva /
The South Caucasus has a historic opportunity today and all interested parties should take steps to resolve the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, European Expert on the South Caucasus Amanda Akcakoca said. She added that the EU, which usually acts as an observer, must play a larger role in settling such conflicts.
"The West needs to take a more principled position as it does with other conflicts because sitting on the fence is of no benefit to the resolution of this conflict," European Policy Center expert Akcakoca wrote Trend in an e-mail.
The conflict between the two South Caucasus countries began in 1988 when Armenia made territorial claims against Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan lost all of Nagorno-Karabakh except for Shusha and Khojali in December 1991. In 1992-93, Armenian armed forces occupied Shusha, Khojali and 7 districts surrounding Nagorno-Karabakh. Azerbaijan and Armenia signed a ceasefire in 1994. The co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group - Russia, France, and the U.S. - are currently holding the peace negotiations.
Turkey and Armenia are playing a waiting game. Each side is waiting for the other to move. It is no surprise then that Ankara has not ratified a recent protocol, the expert said.
Turkish and Armenian foreign ministers Ahmet Davutoglu and Edward Nalbandian signed the Ankara-Yerevan protocols in Zurich Oct. 10.
Diplomatic relations between Armenia and Turkey were broken due to Armenian claims of an alleged genocide and its occupation of Azerbaijani lands. Their border closed in 1993.
Some Turkish MPs declared ratifying the protocols with Armenia impossible, and no progress has been made in resolving the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. In his interview with Reuters, the Armenian foreign minister rejected Turkey's demand on concessions in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict in exchange for a historic rapprochement between Yerevan and Ankara.
Turkey does not plan to open its borders with Armenia, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davudoglu said earlier.
Turkey wants Armenia to budge on Nagorno-Karabakh and so far nothing has happened, the expert said.
According to the expert, Turkish leaders have repeatedly promised Baku that without progress on Nagorno-Karabakh, there will be no progress in establishing relations with Armenia.
"The longer the delay the more the momentum will erode. Both sides need to be brave and do it. It is time to move to a future beyond the past," Akcakoca said.
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