Turkish official: Armenia-Turkey Protocols will be ratified only after Nagorno-Karabakh conflict resolution
The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict must be resolved before the ratification of the Armenian-Turkish Protocols on the normalization of relations between Yerevan and Ankara, Suat Kiniklioglu, Justice and Development Party (AKP) External Affairs deputy chairman, said.
"Just as the Turks, Azerbaijanis and Armenians stand for the peace in the region, which requires first and foremost the solution of the Nagorno-Karabakh problem," Kiniklioglu was quoted as saying by the Cihan news agency. "The process of normalization of Armenian-Turkish relations may be continued after the conflict resolution."
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 seven surrounding districts. Azerbaijan and Armenia signed a cease-fire agreement in 1994.
The co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group - Russia, France and the United States - 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 region and the occupied territories.
Armenia must properly assess and the opportunity to normalize relations with Turkey, the official added.
Turkish and Armenian foreign ministers Ahmet Davutoglu and Edward Nalbandian, signed the Ankara-Yerevan protocols in Zurich Oct. 10, 2009.
"Even without the normalization of relations, Turkey will continue its course but Armenia will suffer the most if the process does not begin," he said.
Turkey has not deported the Armenians living illegally in Turkey because of the difficult economic situation in Armenia, he said.
"I hope that Armenia will take this into account," Kiniklioglu said referring to Turkish prime minister's threat to evict 100,000 Armenians from Turkey. "Armenia should appreciate the historic opportunity to normalize relations with Turkey."
The Swedish Parliament approved the resolution on the so-called Armenian genocide, which was approved earlier by the U.S. Congress.