YEREVAN—Turkish Foreign Minister Ahemt Davutoglu said that he personally asked his Armenian counterpart Eduard Nalbandian “to return one or to regions of Nagorno-Karabakh,” to save face with Azerbaijan and to advance Armenia-Turkey protocols process, but Armenia refused, according to Yerevan-based Azg daily newspaper editor Hakob Avedikian who interviewed Davutoglu.
Avedikian spoke to Davutoglu after the “Turkey’s policies for engagement in the contemporary world” conference organized by British Wilton Park Analytical Center in Istanbul.
“We cannot afford to lose Azerbaijan for the sake of relations with Armenia. We asked the Armenian President, I have repeatedly offered my Armenian counterpart Nalbandian to return one or two regions of Nagorno-Karabakh, for example, Fizuli or Aghdam to Baku as a face saving gesture to Azerbaijan. In this case, Azerbaijan also would be ready to open its border, but Armenia refused,” Davutoglu told Azg.
The Turkish foreign minister said that talks between Armenia and Turkey began in 2005, when Turkey put forth its policy of “zero problems with its neighbors,” which was architected by Davutoglu, who led the talks with Armenia before becoming foreign minister.
“Our discussions with the Armenian side pursued three goals: to open the border, establish diplomatic relations and establish direct and indirect relations between Turkey and Armenia,” said Davutoglu.
The Turkish foreign minister explained the third goal as establishing relations with “the Armenians of Diaspora, which we consider our Diaspora, as they have immigrated from Turkey to America, France and elsewhere. [That is why] we recently had a meeting here with Barsamian [Eastern US Primate Archbishop Khajag Barsamian].”
He also added that for the Armenian side, the protocols process was about opening the border and establishing of diplomatic relations, whereas for Turkey the process involved issues of “reconciling” historical issues. Davutoglu claimed that the Turkish and Armenian sides had discussed this matter and came to certain understanding before signing of the documents in October 2009.