Opening border with Armenia could damage Turkey: Azerbaijani state committee head
Azerbaijan, Baku, Nov. 23 / Trend M. Aliyev /
Official Ankara must understand that weakening Azerbaijan means weakening Turkey. Opening the border with Armenia can seriously damage Azerbaijan's position on the international arena, as well as Turkey's role in regional and world politics, State Committee for Diaspora Activities Chairman Nazim Ibrahimov said at a joint session of the European Azerbaijani Congress and Azerbaijani-Turkish Diaspora Organization Coordinating Council.
The European Azerbaijani Congress and Azerbaijani-Turkish Diaspora Organization Coordination Council held a meeting at Frankfurt's Intercontinental Hotel Nov. 21-22.
Azerbaijani Parliamentary Vice Speaker Bahar Muradova and Azerbaijani Presidential Administration Social and Political Department head Ali Hasanov attended the meeting, as well as State Committee for Diaspora Activities Chairman Nazim Ibrahimov, Azerbaijani MPs Sabir Rustamkhanli and Fazil Mustafayev, several Turkish MPs, scientists and intellectuals from the European Azerbaijani Congress and Azerbaijani-Turkish Diaspora Organization Coordination Council.
Despite the confrontation of several opposition forces, national leader Heydar Aliyev proposed the idea of delivering energy sources to world markets through Turkey, Ibragimov said.
Although Baku-Odessa Brody-Gdansk was the most favored pipeline from an economic and financial point of view at the time, Aliyev signed an agreement to lay a pipeline from Baku viia Georgia to the Turkish port of Ceyhan. The Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) oil pipeline became a reality despite the skepticism of many countries, including Turkey.
The committee chairman said Aliyev's aims was to provide Turkey with a real force in the region and significance in the world. The idea was implemented thanks to his persistent efforts.
The project's implementation is connected not only with financial losses, but also serious world pressure. Ibrahimov said despite pressure, frustration and even resentment by some countries not participating in the project, Azerbaijan has pushed forward the BTC. This was a major, historical contribution to strengthening and developing Turkey.
Azerbaijan always backs Turkey in terms of the so-called Armenian "genocide," he said. The Azerbaijani diaspora works actively to counter Armenian demands whenever the issue is on the world agenda. Opening borders with Armenia can only jeopardize the interests of not only these two countries, but the Turkic world as a whole, and regional security, Ibragimov added.
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.
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 7 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 the peace negotiations.
Representatives of the Turkish government have repeatedly stated the impossibility of opening the Turkish-Armenian border until Azerbaijani lands are de-occupied.
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