Turkey says solution to Karabakh key to stability in the caucasus
Solving the Azerbaijani-Armenian conflict is a key element for transforming the Caucasus into a peaceful, stable and prosperous region, said Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu yesterday. "Our strategy towards the Caucasus region has certain pillars," he told reporters during a visit to the eastern cities of Agri and Igdir. "We're working very hard to make it successful. In this vein, solving regional conflicts, particularly the Azeri-Armenian conflict, is necessary to transform the Caucasus into a peaceful, stable and prosperous region." The Caucasus is plagued by three longstanding armed conflicts – in South Ossetia and Abkhazia between Russia and Georgia, and in Nagorno-Karabakh between Azerbaijan and Armenia – which sometimes flare up from skirmishes into all-out battles. Davutoglu said all borders, including the Azeri and Armenian borders, must be opened for the region to become a prosperous one. "The opening of the Turkish-Armenian and Azeri-Armenian borders will bring peace and prosperity together," he said. "We signed protocols last year towards this end, as we want normalization among all countries in our region." He added that unilateral normalization cannot last and that though a Turkish-Armenian normalization process has stalled, there has been significant progress in peace talks between Armenia and Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabakh.