Baku, Azerbaijan, Mar. 11
By Orkhan Quluzade – Trend:
Turkey wants good relations with all its neighbors, but won’t open its border with Armenia until it withdraws from the Azerbaijani lands, Turkish media quoted Ahmet Arslan, minister of transport, maritime and communication, as saying March 11.
“Unfortunately, Turkey closed its borders because of Armenia, although we do not want it. We want to trade and develop our relations with all neighbors. We have always suggested opening the border under condition of liberation of the Azerbaijani territories and return of Azerbaijani IDPs to their lands,” the minister said.
“We offer Armenia to get out of the blockade and use Turkey for transit to Europe.”
Turkey is working to step up transit potential of its eastern province of Kars, according to Arslan.
Arslan added that the Ministry of Transport, Maritime and Communications is holding a tender for construction of the Kars-Digor-Tuzluca road to establish links between the Kars Province and Azerbaijan’s Nakhchivan, as well as Iran.
The conflict between the two South Caucasus countries began in 1988 when Armenia made territorial claims against Azerbaijan. As a result of the ensuing war, in 1992 Armenian armed forces occupied 20 percent of Azerbaijan, including the Nagorno-Karabakh region and seven surrounding districts.
The 1994 ceasefire agreement was followed by peace negotiations. Armenia has not yet implemented four UN Security Council resolutions on withdrawal of its armed forces from the Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding districts.