ANKARA (Combined Sources)—Turkey’s foreign minister, Ahmet Davutoglu said Monday, immediately after the announcement of protocols by his and his Armenian counterpart’s offices, that opening the border was out of the question for now. “A longer process is required for that,” he was quoted by Turkey’s NTV television station as saying Monday.
In the same interview Davutoglu said that Turkey would “guard” Azerbaijan’s interest during its reconciliation with Armenia, saying in comments that “our aim is to establish stability in the Caucasus.”
His comments reflected the strong opposition to the opening of the border with Armenia in Turkey and Azerbaijan.
Turkish opposition forces have already denounced the protocol.
Davutoglu said that “recognizing borders” was an important element of the protocols on “Establishment of Diplomatic Relations” and “Development of Bilateral Relations”
“Recognizing borders in line with the international norms stemming from Kars agreement is a basic element. Without that, we cannot talk about being neighbors,” Davutoglu said.
Commenting on the six-week internal political process that started with the protocols, Davutoglu said an agreement would be signed by the end of such period.
Both Davutoglu and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan stressed Tuesday, that the final word on moving forward with relations rested on the Armenian and Turkish parliaments. Without legislative approval, envisioned after the signing of the draft protocols, there would be no development of ties.
Meanwhile, Azerbaijan said Tuesday it did not expect Turkey to re-open its border with Armenia until the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict resolved.
Azeri foreign ministry spokesman Elkhan Polukhov told AFP that Baku was confident Ankara would not agree to open the border without a deal on Nagorno-Karabakh.
“Azerbaijan’s position is based on numerous statements from high-ranking officials in Turkey on the question of opening the Armenian-Turkish border,” he said.
“Opening the border without the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict would contradict the interests of Azerbaijan,” he said.
Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu reiterated Tuesday in an interview with broadcaster NTV that Ankara would safeguard Baku’s interests while setting up ties with Armenia and could re-open the border if the Nagorno-Karabakh dispute is resolved soon.