ANKARA (Combined Sources)–Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said Wednesday the Turkish government is still “resolute” in its drive to normalize relations with neighboring Armenia, but reiterated that the Turkish-Armenia border will not open until the Karabakh conflict is solved in Azerbaijan’s favor, the Anatolia news agency reported.
The top Turkish diplomat told a press conference after his meeting with visiting Bosnian Foreign Minister Sven Alkalaj that the Turkish government is hopeful about the normalization of ties with Armenia.
“We believe that the most extensive normalization would be seen in our region in the coming period,” Davutoglu said. “But at the same time, it is important for us to see the same determination from the international community and especially from Armenia on the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan.”
Davutoglu’s remarks come a day after Armenia’s President, Serzh Sarkisian, insisted that Ankara must reopen the Turkish-Armenian border and make concrete steps toward ending its blockade of Armenia before the stalled negotiations can continue. Sarkisian was set to travel to Turkey in October to attend a Turkish-Armenian soccer match, which would continue the so called “soccer diplomacy” begun last October when Turkish President Abdullah Gul travelled to Armenia in September 2008 to watch 2010 FIFA World Cup qualifier match
Turkish intransigence in the negotiations process has brought the year-long US brokered talks between the two countries to a standstill as Ankara seeks to convince international mediators that a quick resolution to the Nagorno-Karabakh peace process is the key to saving Armenia-Turkey negotiations.
Speaking to the Turkish service of RFE/RL on Wednesday, Matthew Bryza, the American co-chair of the OSCE Minsk Group mediating the Karabakh conflict said he regretted that “the activeness we witnessed in the Armenian-Turkish relations recently, is frozen today,”adding that he believed the “the existence of the Karabakh conflict exerts a negative influence on the Armenian-Turkish relations.”