Territorial issue to top agenda of Medvedev's visit to Turkey

21:39, April 26, 2010      

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The Nagorno-Karabakh region, where Armenia and Azerbaijan have territorial disputes, will be the top issue on the agenda of Russian President Dmitry Medvedev during his upcoming visit to Turkey, Turkey's top diplomat said Monday.

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu reaffirmed the government's goal to normalize relations and open long-sealed borders with Armenia, while stressing that the solution of the Nagorno-Karabakh issue would be parallel to the normalization process, the semi-official Anatolia news agency reported.

Medvedev is scheduled to pay a visit to Turkey in May.

"Nothing can deal a blow on friendship between Turkey and Azerbaijan," Davutoglu said Monday. "Everybody must know it very well."

Turkey and Armenia have no diplomatic or economic ties since Armenia declared its independence in 1991. The two neighbors signed protocols to normalize relations last October, but both parliaments have yet to ratify the agreements.

Davutoglu said Turkey has the right to take "necessary precautions" if the protocols were interpreted against their spirit, according to the agency.

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

Armenia's ruling coalition said last week the ratification of the normalization protocols would be removed from the parliament's agenda until the Turkish side displays the readiness to continue the peace process without preconditions.

Turkey and Armenia have also been bogged down in a row over the World War I-era killings of Armenians under Ottoman rule, which Armenia says was a genocide. Turkey denies that charge and insists the Armenians were victims of widespread chaos and governmental breakdown as the 600-year-old Ottoman Empire collapsed before modern Turkey was born in 1923.

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," drawing ire from Turkey.

Davutoglu said Turkey would not allow its troubled relations with Armenia to cast shadow over Turkey's ties with other countries anymore, especially those with the United States.

Source: Xinhua


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