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Akar: Türkiye supports Azerbaijan-Armenia normalization process

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Türkiye supports efforts aimed at the normalization between Azerbaijan and Armenia, Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said

Speaking at an event held by the Azerbaijan Embassy in Ankara, Akar said Türkiye supports the normalization and recovery between Baku and Yerevan.

“Apart from this, it is against any situation that fuels the deadlock,” he added.

Referring to a deal signed by Azerbaijan and Armenia after fighting a 44-day war in September 2020 over Karabakh, Akar said with the signing of the agreement, Türkiye has done “its best to ensure peace and stability in the region and to create an atmosphere of peace and tranquility in the entire Caucasus.”

He also emphasized that it is necessary to know that Azerbaijan is right in its cause and it should be clearly revealed everywhere.

Türkiye “constantly brings this up at international platforms, especially NATO platforms, and in bilateral relations,” he said.

Besides, the armed forces of the two countries are working hard for the modernization of the Azerbaijani army, Akar said, adding these efforts continue with “great success.”

He also said cooperation with Azerbaijan on military training, defense industry repair works, and clearing of mines and improvised explosive devices continue.

Armenia and Azerbaijan fought a 44-day war in September 2020 over Karabakh, a territory internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan, and seven adjacent regions.

The war, which ended with a Russia-brokered peace deal, saw Azerbaijan liberate several cities and over 300 settlements and villages that were occupied by Armenia for almost 30 years.

While Türkiye supports the normalization between Azerbaijan and Yerevan, it has been also taking steps for better ties with Yerevan and further cooperation among the regional actors in the Caucasus region.

Turkish, Armenian and Azerbaijani leaders met informally at a European summit earlier this year, marking the first top-level talks between Türkiye and Armenia since they launched a bid to mend ties late last year after decades of animosity.

Türkiye and Armenia can achieve full normalization on the basis of good neighborly relations in the region, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said.

Erdoğan has previously said Armenia needed to form good ties with Azerbaijan for the normalization effort to yield results.

In January, Türkiye and Armenia held the first round of talks in more than 10 years, describing them as “positive and constructive” and raising the prospect of restoring ties and reopening borders.

Ankara has not had diplomatic or commercial ties with Armenia since the 1990s. The latest initiative is the first attempt to restore links since a 2009 peace accord that was never ratified.

Tensions flared during the 2020 war over the Karabakh territory. Türkiye highlighted the occupation by Armenian forces of land belonging to Azerbaijan, but it subsequently called for a rapprochement as it seeks regional stability and cooperation.

Despite Türkiye being one of the first countries to recognize Armenia’s independence in 1991, the two countries have been divided on a range of issues, including Yerevan’s occupation of Azerbaijani territories, the events of 1915 during the reign of the Ottoman Empire, and the border closure between the two neighboring countries since 1993.

In 2021, Ankara and Yerevan mutually appointed special representatives to normalize ties.

Ankara has made frequent calls for a six-nation platform comprising of Türkiye, Russia, Iran, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Armenia for permanent peace, stability and cooperation in the region, describing it as a win-win initiative for all regional actors in the Caucasus. Türkiye believes that permanent peace is possible through mutual security-based cooperation between the states and people of the South Caucasus region.

Amid the normalization efforts, a commercial flight from Yerevan landed in Istanbul in February in the first such direct flight in two years.

Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu met his Armenian counterpart Ararat Mirzoyan at a diplomatic forum in southern Türkiye in March and said they had a very “productive and constructive” meeting.

That was the first sit-down meeting between the two countries’ foreign ministers since 2009. They spoke briefly on the sidelines of an Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) meeting last November.

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