MOSCOW (Combined Sources)–Azerbaijan’s president Ilham Aliyev said late on Friday that his country is considering other gas routes to Europe as Turkey’s terms have become “unacceptable”, Interfax news agency quoted him as saying.
The statement follows sharp criticism from Aliyev over the rapprochement between long-term ally Turkey and its neighbor Armenia, with whom it has a two-decade long conflict over the indigenous Armenian territory of Nagorno-Karabakh.
“We’ve run out of options and the current offers cannot be accepted,” he told a government meeting in Baku.
“Azerbaijan’s fundamental position is simple,” Aliyev reiterated at the inauguration of a housing complex for Azeri veterans of the Karabkh conflict. “The conflict must be settled within Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity.
“No other viewpoint is considered beyond this position. Azerbaijan has repeatedly voiced its position on this issue,” the Azerbaijani president said, in reference to negotiations with Armenia over the fate of the Nagorno-Karabakh republic.
Turkey and Azebaijan have exploited international pressure on Armenia to normalize its relations with Turkey to force a linkage of the Karabakh conflict with the Turkey-Armenia conflict. Top government officials in both Turkey and Azerbaijan have repeatedly stated that Armenia’s relations with Turkey cannot be normalized until the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic is stripped of its independence and forced under Azeri rule.
To push its agenda, Baku has been leveraging its position as a hub connecting Turkey, Europe and Russia to the rich natural gas and oil resources from the Caspian. Aliyev has often threatened to derail the Nabucco pipeline project linking Central Asia to Europe, through Azerbaijan and Turkey.
“Our international positions are strong. Our economic potential is higher,” Aliyev said comparing Azerbaijan to Armenia. “We must be ready to liberate our native lands from occupiers at any moment.”