Turkey to Make Every Effort to Turn Caucasus into Region of Peace and Cooperation: Ambassador to Azerbaijan

Turkey to Make Every Effort to Turn Caucasus into Region of Peace and Cooperation: Ambassador to   Azerbaijan

Azerbaijan, Baku, 18 August/ Trend , corr S. Ilhamgizi/ The interview of Hulusi Khilij, ambassador of Turkey to Azerbaijan with Trend .

Question: The Premier of Turkey Rejep Tayyip Erdogan proposed to establish Caucasian Union under the background of the conflict between Georgia and Russia. Is this next initiative by Turkey to mediate between the conflicting parties?

Answer: We are very sorry about the innocent people who suffered from the conflict that began by Georgia in the South Ossetia on 7 August and that was continued by Russia. When the conflict began, Turkey urged the parties to keep stability and hoped for the resolution of the conflict by means of dialogue. We supported the peace initiative commenced under the auspice of OSCE, European Union and UN Secretary General. Putting a stop to the military operations of Russia through this intervention is a positive result. We hope that the parties will be further committed to the ceasefire agreement. During these political interventions our government provided Georgia with humanitarian aid. Turkey plans to increase the humanitarian aid in the upcoming days. Turkey attaches great importance to the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Georgia. Within these principles as a neighbor of Georgia, we continue our efforts to restore peace and stability in the region. "Forum on Caucasus's Stability" is an important initiative made by the Turkish Premier from the standpoint of securing peace, stability and welfare in the region. The Premier paid a visit to Moscow and Tbilisi to find out the opinions of the parties.

Question: What Turkey believes to be the way of resolution of conflicts in Caucasus and can it be included in the military union with Azerbaijan?

Answer: The resolution of "frozen conflicts" by peaceful means in line with the principles of the international law and territorial integrity of the states are fundamental principles to maintain peace and stability in the region. The evolving of existing problems to the armed confrontations makes the situation tenser and adds to suffering of innocent people. Relying on the words of great Ataturk "Peace in Motherland and Peace All Over the World", Turkey established good relations with all countries, especially with its neighbors. We carried out active policy which contributed to the international peace, took part in several peacekeeping operations conducted under the auspice of UN, NATO, OSCE and we continue to take part in these operations right now as well. Turkey will further make efforts to turn Caucasus into the region of peace and cooperation. The relations between the two important states of the region - Turkey and Azerbaijan are expanding in all spheres in line with the slogan of great Heydar Aliyev, that is, One Nation - Two States. Our relations with the friendly and fraternal Azerbaijan are of strategic significance. Our countries carried out several important projects and completed them efficiently in order to secure regional peace and to provide conditions for cooperation. These projects include oil pipeline Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan and Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum gas pipeline. The railway project Baku-Tbilisi-Kars which will connect Asia with Europe and will turn Caucasus into an important transit region, is carried out with high speed. Our relations in political, economic, trade, cultural, social and even in military areas are deepening. Turkey has supported Azerbaijan since it gained independence and continues to do so at the moment. The way Azerbaijan covered to establish a modern army to ensure its security and defense is praiseworthy. If Turkey contributed to achieving this aim, we can only be glad at it. Our cooperation in the sphere of defense will be further enhanced within the strengthening economy and improving well-being of Azerbaijan.

Question: Are any changes expected to take place in the political line of the country after the court decision which rejected the appeal to close down the ruling Justice and Development Party of Turkey? Are there any grounds for the concerns of the Turkish opposition over the threats of secularism in the country?

Answer: Democracy, an important condition for the legal state, dominates in Turkey and it meets all international norms and principles. Turkey is one of the countries in the region where democracy has been formed in a most fundamental manner. The latest developments in Turkey indicate once again that the democracy in Turkey secures secular and legal state and that it has already been institutionalized. The key task of Turkey in the years to come is first of all to accelerate the process of EU membership, to establish sustainable peace in Caucasus and stabilize situation in Iraq.

Question: The Greek Cyprus proposed to establish a confederation on the island. What is Turkey's position on this issue?

Answer: As to the Cyprus issue, Turkey supportsbeginning of comprehensive and multilateral discussions on achieving permanent and fair resolution on the island within the process than began on 21 March, 2008. We welcomed the decision to begin multilateral discussions on 3 September over the meeting held on 25 July by Mahmat Ali Talyat and Dimitris Khristofias. From the start, Turkey was the proponent of the resolution of Cyprus problem on the basis of the political balance, which is parameter of UN and on the basis on general principles which will be supported by two states enjoying equal rights. We also support the beginning of bilateral discussion within the good-will mission of the UN Secretary General. The comprehensive resolution is possible only under the conditions of new partnership in which the Turkish population of Cyprus and Turkish state of Cyrus act as a founder and equal right party. The political balance and guarantee of Turkey on the island are key principles to establish this new partnership. On the other hand, the elimination of isolation which the Cyprus Turks was subject to is also an important issue and they made serious efforts to solve the problem. We continue our action in this direction without delay.

The correspondent can be contacted at: [email protected]

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