FM Davutoglu: The status quo in the caucasus benefits no-one
Commenting on Turkey and Armenia moving this week towards establishing diplomatic relations and opening their common border, Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said, "The fact that peace has been delayed doesn't make it any less necessary. All great peace starts with big dreams. The biggest obstacle in front of them is prejudice. There is a status quo in the Caucasus at the moment which benefits none of the three countries – Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Turkey. Expecting parallel developments in the Armenia-Azerbaijan dispute is part of our vision." Stressing that a partial normalization in the region would not be sustainable, Davutoglu said there must be a comprehensive normalization, urging the international community to show the political will to resolve the Nagorno-Karabakh dispute. Davutoglu said the next six weeks would be used to explain the details of the move towards Turkish-Armenian diplomatic relations to domestic political party leaders, calling it an internal consultation process. Stating that mutually recognition of borders is an important element of the protocols both countries signed this week towards normalized relations, Davutoglu said, "Recognizing borders in line with the international norms stemming from the Treaty of Kars is a basic element. Without that, we can't talk about being neighbors." Commenting on the six-week internal political process that started with the signing of protocols this week, Davutoglu said an agreement would be signed at the end of the period. "The agreement will be signed, but both countries have their own methods of domestic law. It should be presented to our Parliament for approval," he said. On the Organization for Security and Cooperation's (OSCE) Minsk Group, which has been working to resolve the Nagorno-Karabakh dispute for some 15 years, Davutoglu said he expects both the Minsk Group and the entire international community, including the European Union, to do everything they can to achieve a resolution between Baku and Yerevan. "Turkey's move is sending a very strong message to the international community; it showed great responsibility in trying to resolve the 17-year-old intractable conflict. We want Caucasus peace to be a permanent item on the agenda of the United Nations," Davutoglu said. Especially after this point, the international community should do its part, and concerted efforts should be made to resolve disputes in the Southern Caucasus, he added. Davutoglu also gave assurances that Turkey would never do anything that would harm Azeri interests, adding that efforts to solve the Nagorno-Karabakh issue between Azerbaijan and Armenia would also soon gain momentum. In related news, Davutoglu telephoned his French counterpart Bernard Kouchner to brief him on recent developments, while calling for intensified efforts by the OSCE's Minsk Group. France is one of the group's three co-chairs, along with Russia and the US. Davutoglu also spoke on the phone with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to tell them about this week's developments.