ANKARA (Trend)–Ankara will use the UN Security Council to try and link the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict to the ongoing US backed efforts to normalize relations between Turkey and Armenia, Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said on Monday, the Azeri Trend news agency reported.
A non-actor in the Karabakh conflict, Turkey has been seeking to boost its role in the peace process by conditioning its own negotiations with Armenia to a resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict currently being mediated by the US, France and Russia through the OSCE Minsk Group.
Turkey assumed the rotating presidency of the United Nations Security Council from Russia for one month on June 1. It was elected a non-permanent member in October 2008.
“Turkey favors discussions over matters of international interest and importance including the Karabakh conflict. We want Armenia-Azerbaijan talks to be fruitful,” Davutoglu told the Azeri Trend News Agency, in response to a question asking whether Turkey would address the issue in the UN Security Council.
According to Trend, Davutoglu said that negotiations to establish normal relations between Armenia and Turkey are not only limited within the scope of the South Caucasus, but they also impact Turkey-U.S. relations.
“This is not right. Our relations with Armenia must not influence our relations with the U.S.,” he was quoted by Trend as saying. “There is a need for progress and development in the resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict to normalize the situation in the region.”
“We also work on this issue within the OSCE Minsk Group. During my Washington visit I discussed it with U.S. officials and we concluded that our common task is to contribute to the resolution of the conflict in every way possible.”
The Minsk Group warned Ankara in May to drop its efforts to link the two unrelated issues. It said, through its French representative, Bernard Fassier, that linking the Karabakh peace process with the normalization of Armenia-Turkish relations can jeopardize the new momentum in the Karabakh talks.
Davutoglu’s remarks come despite repeated warnings by Washington and the Minsk Group that Ankara must not link the two unrelated issues. The newly confirmed U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, Philip Gordon, announced in Yerevan on June 9 that Turkey would need to drop its renewed linkage between the reopening of the Turkish-Armenian border and a resolution of the Karabakh conflict.
“Turkey-Armenia normalization would benefit Turkey, it would benefit Armenia and it would benefit the entire region. Because of that we don’t think it should be linked to anything else,” he said, stressing that normalization “should proceed within a reasonable time frame.”
That “means the process can’t be infinite,” he said, adding that Washington is closely watching regional developments. “It can’t go on forever. I think the parties understand that.”
Armenia has also criticized Turkey for its uncompromising position in their negotiations, saying that statements linking the two unrelated issues could hamper both the Armenian-Azerbaijani, as well as the Armenian-Turkish negotiations.