Turkey PM says not to open border with Armenia unless Nagorno- Karabakh conflict solved

09:48, April 15, 2010      

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Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Wednesday the border between Turkey and Armenia would remain closed unless a solution was reached in the conflict over the Nagorno-Karabakh region, the semi-official Anatolia news agency reported.

Turkey is ready to open the border as soon as Armenia ends " occupation of Azerbaijan's territory," Erdogan was quoted as telling reporters upon his arrival in Turkey from the Nuclear Security Summit held in the United States from April 12 to 13.

Turkey closed its border with Armenia in 1993 to support Azerbaijan, which had a territorial conflict with Armenia over the Nagorno-Karabakh region. Ankara has said the border could be opened only after the withdrawal of Armenian troops from the disputed land.

Turkey and Armenia have no diplomatic or economic ties. The two neighbors signed protocols to normalize relations and open long- sealed borders last October but the move has stalled since then.

The reconciliation process suffered a further blow after a U.S. congressional panel and the Swedish parliament last month passed resolutions that recognize killings of Armenians under Ottoman rule during the World War I as "genocide."

Erdogan said Turkey stood behind its commitments in the protocols signed with Armenia last October to normalize relations, while noting that "no one has the right to impose one's own memories on Turkey" when referring to Armenia's "genocide" claim.

Turkey strongly denies the "genocide" claim and has argued the Armenians were victims of widespread chaos and governmental breakdown as the Ottoman Empire collapsed before modern Turkey was founded in 1923.

Erdogan also reiterated his support for a "democratic and diplomatic solution" of Iran's nuclear issue and Turkey's readiness to help find a settlement of problems in Kyrgyzstan.

Last week, Kyrgyz opposition parties claimed to form an interim coalition government, while President Kurmanbek Bakiyev refused to step down and fled the capital to southern Kyrgyzstan after a day of bloody unrest.

Bakiyev had not made any demand to Turkey for asylum, said Erdogan.

Source: Xinhua


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