BAKU—Azerbaijan’s Deputy Prime Minister expressed fear Wednesday on the impact his country’s recognition of “North Cyprus” would have on the Karabakh issue, reported the Hurriyet Daily News.
Ali Hasanov told a press conference that while Azerbaijan understands the importance of the Cyprus issue to Turkey it is concerned about the effect recognition of northern Cyprus as an independent state could have at home.
“Do not be led into thinking that Cyprus is less important for us than it is for you, but those who run your state also know quite well that if only Azerbaijan recognizes northern Cyprus by itself, 15 [other] states will recognize Nagorno-Karabakh. Take that into consideration. Turkey would not want that,” said Hasanov.
Turkey has the right to expect Azerbaijan to recognize northern Cyprus, he said, adding that the only reason why that has not happened yet is because other states would then recognize the independence of Nagorno-Karabakh in turn. He also said there are people within Turkey who would like to open the Turkish-Armenian border, but the Turkish state prevents that from happening.
“I used to believe back in 2001 that time was with us on the Karabakh issue, but I no longer think that way. The issue is getting deeper as time drags on. Time has worked in our favor only economically speaking, but it is working against us politically,” added Hasanov.
“We always say that if things keep going this way, we could declare war. We would have liked to see Turkey behind us, but there is international law. There is a security agreement between Russia and Armenia,” Hasanov added. “Turkey cannot back us [militarily], but of course we see [Turkey] beside us politically. It is not like Turkey will be fighting a war with Russia anyway.”
Baku is negotiating with Yerevan solely for the sake of negotiating, as Azerbaijan would be labeled an “anti-democratic state” if it did not participate in the meetings, Hasanov said.
“Of course there has been no progress in the meetings. If there had been any progress, would it have gone on for 18 years? They cheated us for 10 years. We are not even resettling our people on that land, believing they will return. [These are] all political games. We are a country that respects international expectations and must continue on with the meetings,” he said.
“The whole world knows this problem. It is necessary to talk to the one that created this problem… She must do in Armenia what she did in Georgia. If she raises her voice, the government there would change,” Hasanov said, in an apparent reference to Russia. “What are we going to speak about with Armenia? For this issue to drag on for this long is neither in Turkey’s nor in Europe’s favor, nor is it in favor of the one that created this problem.”