FM: Turkey seeks active role in Karabakh settlement
Turkey has sought to play an active role in the resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict as an initiator of the peace process, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said in an interview with CNN Turk today.
He expressed his concern about the situation in the South Caucasus.
"The current situation cannot remain unchanged," Davutoglu 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 Nagorno Karabakh and the seven surrounding districts.
Azerbaijan and Armenia signed a ceasefire agreement in 1994. The co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group - Russia, France, and the United States - are currently holding the peace negotiations.
Armenia has not yet implemented the U.N. Security Council's four resolutions on the liberation of the Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding regions.
However, Davutoglu added that Ankara does not want to "compete" with the other countries that are seeking to mediate the conflict.
"Peace is in everyone's interest," he said. "Because the situation is harmful to all of the countries in the region."
Davutoglu once again expressed hope that a peace treaty will soon be signed, which is possible "given patience, calm and a careful approach" to the issue.
While discussing the normalization of Turkey- Armenia ties, the FM reaffirmed Ankara's desire to establish full diplomatic relations with the country, stressing that this will only be possible after the signing of an armistice between Azerbaijan and Armenia.
"Sooner or later, relations with Armenia will become neighborly," he added.
In talks mediated by Switzerland, Turkey and Armenia reached an agreement to launch "internal political consultations" on Aug. 31 and to sign the "Protocol on the Establishment of Diplomatic Relations and Protocol on the Development of Bilateral Relations." Davutoglu and Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian signed the protocols in Zurich on Oct. 10.
Diplomatic relations between Armenia and Turkey were severed in 2003 due to Armenia's claims of an alleged genocide and its occupation of Azerbaijani lands.