BAKU (Today.az)—Following the signing of the Turkey-Armenia protocols in Zurich Sunday, the Azeri Foreign Ministry issued a statement again linking ongoing negotiations between Yerevan and Ankara to open borders and establish ties to a resolution of the Karabakh conflict favoring Baku.
“Normalization of relations between Turkey and Armenia before the withdrawal of Armenian forces from occupied Azerbaijani territory is in direct contradiction with the interests of Azerbaijan and overshadows the spirit of brotherly relations between Azerbaijan and Turkey built on deep historical roots,” the statement said.
The statement added that the opening of the Turkey-Armenia border would “call into question the architecture of peace and stability in the region.”
“Azerbaijan’s stance on this issue is unambiguous,” the statement said, reiterating that the Turkish blockade on Armenia cannot be lifted until the liberated territories of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic are handed over to Azeri rule.
To back its demands, the Azeri Foreign Ministry referred to a series of statements and resolutions on the issue. In particular, the statement pointed to resolutions dubiously passed in the [UN] Security Council and UN General Assembly, the OSCE, PACE and other international organizations that “condemn the aggressive policy of Armenia, demand withdrawal of Armenian forces from occupied Azerbaijani territories and the return of refugees to their homeland.”
The statement also referenced remarks by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on the issue, citing a September 17 statement to Turkish media where he said Turkey “cannot open the borders until the long-drawn conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia is resolved.”
The statement quoted Erdogan’s May 14 speech in Azerbaijan’s parliament, as well. “As long as the requirements of our Azerbaijani brothers will not be satisfied, we will not retreat one step from this position. It is interconnected and cannot be considered separately.”