Regional security bloc’s latest decision to send mission to Armenia is against its operating rules, Cavusoglu says
Türkiye on Friday denounced the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) for its decision to send a mission to Armenia, saying the regional bloc has become a “center of deadlock.”
“The decision now taken is against OSCE’s operating rules. Such a fait accompli is unacceptable,” Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said at a news conference in Mersin, southern Türkiye.
The security organization was unable to find a solution to the longstanding Azerbaijan-Armenia dispute as it “has sided with the occupier” for the past three decades, he criticized.
Citing the OSCE-Minsk Group on Karabakh, Cavusoglu said they have stalled the liberation of occupied Azerbaijani lands for almost 30 years.
The Minsk Group, a body under the OSCE, was tasked around three decades ago to solve the Karabakh dispute, but it has achieved no results during this time, he said.
The OSCE Minsk Group, co-chaired by France, Russia, and the US, was formed on March 24, 1992 to find a peaceful solution to the conflict, but to no avail. The co-chairs of the Minsk Group, who visited both countries periodically and met with the authorities, did nothing more than issuing warnings to the parties to abide by the cease-fire each time.
“For 30 years you have not solved the problem and used consensus as an excuse. Now, Azerbaijan’s opinion is not taken when sending observers or any mission to that region. Such a move needs consensus,” said Cavusoglu.
The OSCE announced that it will send a needs assessment team to Armenia on Oct. 21-27 following Yerevan’s invitation.
On Tuesday, the bloc urged an “immediate cease-fire” after the latest border flare-up between Azerbaijan and Armenia.
Relations between the former Soviet republics have been tense since 1991, when the Armenian military occupied Nagorno-Karabakh, a territory internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan.
Baku liberated several cities, villages, and settlements from Armenia’s occupation during 44-day clashes in the 2020 fall, which ended after a Moscow-brokered truce. The peace agreement is celebrated as a triumph in Azerbaijan.
The top Turkish diplomat also addressed Ankara and Yerevan’s normalization efforts. “Any positive step taken between Azerbaijan and Armenia will also positively reflect on our relations.”
“Today, the North Corridor (International North–South Transport Corridor) is no longer an alternative. The East-West-Middle Corridor is vital. Therefore, we need to implement the projects here,” Cavusoglu said, asserting that such projects would be beneficial for Europe as well.
On the ongoing row between the US and Saudi Arabia over global oil production cut, Ankara threw its weight behind Riyadh, as the top Turkish diplomat called US criticisms “bullying.”
“We are seeing that a country (the US) is threatening Saudi Arabia, and this bullying is not correct,” said Cavusoglu.
Sanctions need to be lifted if the world wants oil prices to decrease, he asserted, adding that the issue cannot be resolved by “threatening one country (Saudi Arabia).”
“The whole world needs Venezuela’s oil and natural gas. There is also an embargo on Iranian oil … If you want oil prices to go down, lift sanctions,” he urged.
There are many reasons for increase in energy prices, Cavusoglu said. “Of course, the increase or cutting of oil production by OPEC countries is also a factor, but the main reason for rise in energy prices today is the war in Ukraine and the use of energy as a weapon.”
He added: “This includes not only the countries that produce the energy, but also the countries that impose sanctions on energy.”
On Oct. 5, Saudi Arabia, which chairs the OPEC cartel, voted in favor of reducing output by about 2 million barrels per day, with the White House alleging that it not only lent its support but also worked diligently behind the scenes to ensure the bloc implemented them, putting pressure on other nations to fall in line.
While US President Joe Biden has vocally criticized the kingdom and warned of impending consequences, he has not revealed the nature of his response.
The cut also comes almost a month before the US midterm elections, which Democrats appear vulnerable to losing because higher gas prices in a country with rampant inflation are unlikely to boost their electoral prospects.
Turkish foreign minister further commented on the longstanding dispute on Cyprus island, and stressed that the Greek Cypriot administration would not share anything with Turkish Cypriots, including water and electricity.
He affirmed Ankara’s continuous efforts to ensure the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus gets an international recognition and status.
Cavusoglu also criticized the US over its “impartial” position on the dispute and said “it has lost its balance” regarding the issue.
On Sept. 30, the US announced that under the Defense Department National Guard’s State Partnership Program, the Greek Cypriot administration has been paired with the National Guard in the US state of New Jersey.
With the move, Washington, which on Sept. 16 lifted an arms embargo on the Greek Cypriot administration that had been in force since 1987, continues its provocative attitude towards the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) and Türkiye.