ANKARA (Reuters)–Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday sought again to link the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict with Ankara’s negotiations with Armenia to normalize relations, urging international mediators to speed up efforts to quickly resolve the conflict.
Talks on the future of Nagorno-Karabakh have been dragging on for more than a decade under the auspices of the Minsk Group linking Russia, France and the United States. Turkey has said it hopes to open its border with Armenia by the end of the year under a protocol to establish diplomatic ties, but it maintains that further progress has been hampered in the past by the frozen Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
“Erdogan said the Minsk group that is co-presided by the U.S. has an important role in contributing to the improvement of the relations with Armenia and asked the group to increase their efforts,” Anatolian news agency quoted him as saying.
Erdogan made his comments in New York, where he traveled to attend the U.N. General Assembly. Turkish newspapers have reported that Turkey’s Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu will meet his Armenian counterpart on the sidelines of the gathering.
Anticipation over an Ankara-Yerevan thaw has been growing ahead of a planned visit by Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian to Turkey on October 14, when he is due to attend the return leg of a World Cup qualifying football match between the two countries.