Davutoglu: "Armenia noder won't open during NATO exercise"
Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said yesterday that Turkey will not open its border gate with Armenia temporarily during an upcoming exercise of NATO, signaling a reversal of earlier statements that it was under consideration. "This exercise is for entirely humanitarian purposes and it is about extraordinary circumstances. As a NATO member Turkey will, of course, participate in it,” Davutogu told reporters in the Dogansehir district of the central Anatolian province of Konya, when asked to comment about Azerbaijani opposition to a temporary opening of the Turkish-Armenian border. "As I have told the Azeri media earlier, opening of the border, even temporarily, is out of the question. Unnecessary rumors should be avoided," Davutoglu said. Earlier in the day, Davutoglu told an Azerbaijani television that there was no plan to open the border during the exercise. "Our approach with regard to the exercise is humanistic. But there is nothing on the agenda with respect to opening of borders, this is not an issue of debate," Davutoglu told Azerbaijan’s ANS television. Ankara has decided to participate in the NATO Euro-Atlantic Disaster Response Coordination Center exercise, set to be held in the central Kotayk region of Armenia. Exercises are scheduled to run between Sept. 11 and 17. In related news, Davutoglu yesterday said that it was imperative the terrorist PKK lay down arms. Davutoğlu’s remarks came in Doğanhisar, 120 kilometers from the Central Anatolian province of Konya, where he stopped to participate in a rally ahead of the Sept. 12 constitutional referendum. Konya is the foreign minister’s hometown. "It is very important that the terrorist organization lay down its arms," said Davutoglu.