PACE head: The main condition for Turkey to normalize relations with Armenia is the liberation of the occupied territories of Azerbaijan
The main condition for Turkey to normalize relations with Armenia is the liberation of the occupied territories of Azerbaijan, said the head of PACE Movlud Chavushoglu, speaking on Saturday in the Swedish city of Gothenburg at the conference "The Role of Turkey in the European Union", Hurriyet reported.
"Turkey aims to develop cooperation with all neighbouring countries: European countries - in the west, with its neighbours and the Islamic world - in the east. But the main condition for normalizing relations with Armenia is the liberation of the occupied territories of Azerbaijan. Once this condition is fulfilled, the relationship with Armenia also will normalize", Chavushoglu 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 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 negotiations to resolve the dispute.
Armenia has failed to implement UN Security Council resolutions stipulating the liberation of Nagorno-Karabakh and surrounding regions.
Chavushoglu in his speech touched on the issue of a possible "change of direction in foreign policy" of Turkey.
"The direction of foreign policy has changed, is changing. Turkey turns away from the EU towards the East." Such statements are - baseless, inaccurate, speculative talks. There is no change in the direction of our policy. Full membership in the European Union still is the main goal of Turkish foreign policy", Chavushoglu said.