Foreign ministry: Turkey, Azerbaijan could cooperate in Central Asia
Azerbaijan, Baku, July 17 / Trend A. Taghiyeva /
Turkey and Azerbaijan are cooperating successfully, but the countries could cooperate jointly in the Central Asia, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said in an interview with Trend today.
"The establishment of the Cooperation Council of Turkic-speaking states was the initiative of Turkey and Azerbaijan," Davutoglu said. "The countries could expand the partnership in Central Asia, by creating a trilateral format of cooperation, for example, on the basis of Azerbaijan- Turkey-Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan-Turkey-Turkmenistan."
"Turkey aims to strengthen the relations with all regions - whether the Middle East, or the Caucasus or the Central Asia," Davutoglu added.
"Ankara's objective is to intensify the diplomatic and economic relations, as well as to expand the cultural relations with these regions," he stressed. "These are the main goals, but their realization in each region has its own difficulties and peculiarities."
"For instance, the Caucasus Stability and Cooperation Platform was established in the Caucasus at Turkey's initiative in 2008," Davutoglu said. "The purpose of the platform is to create unity among the Caucasian countries. However, the desired results have not obtained in this issue."
"The frozen conflicts in the Caucasus are the main problem in the creation of the Caucasus Stability and Cooperation Platform," he said. "First of all, this is the occupation of Azerbaijani lands by Armenia, and the issue of Abkhazia and South Ossetia in the Southern Caucasus. These problems pose obstacles to the full cooperation in the Caucasus."
"That's why, Turkey intends to maximally expand the cooperation in possible directions of cooperation such as the trilateral and bilateral cooperation in the Caucasus," he said.
"A striking example of the trilateral cooperation is the cooperation between Turkey, Azerbaijan and Georgia through such energy and transportation projects as the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline, Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum gas pipeline and Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway," he stressed.
"Moreover, Turkey is successfully expanding cooperation with Azerbaijan and this is an important example of bilateral cooperation," Davutoglu said.
"The relations between Azerbaijan and Turkey are based on fraternal relations and "One nation - two states" slogan which are unique in the world," he said.
"Moreover, the Georgian-Turkish cooperation can be cited as an example of successful bilateral cooperation in the Caucasus," he said. "Ankara and Tbilisi have agreed not only to abolish visas, but refused to show passports when crossing the border."
"Turkey has no problems with any neighbor in the Caucasus except Armenia," Davutoglu emphasized. "The problems between Turkey and Armenia are primarily connected with the occupation of Azerbaijani lands. We hope that Armenia will abandon its wrong policy and cease occupying Azerbaijani lands. Only in this case, it will be possible to normalize the relations with Yerevan."
The conflict between the two South Caucasus countries began in 1988 when Armenia made territorial claims against Azerbaijan. Armenian armed forces have occupied 20 per cent 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 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.