Newsletter from, date: 12-04-2004 to 20-04-2004

[15-04-2004 ‘Azerbaijan-Turkey’]
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Source : `Turkish Daily News’ newspaper (Turkey)

Turkey declares support for Azeri proposal to resolve disputes with
neighboring Armenia through a ‘phased’ process and reaffirm its
commitment to maintain strong ties with old ally Azerbaijan

Turkish officials have expressed support for an Azeri proposal for a
“phased solution process” to resolve a long-standing territorial
dispute between Azerbaijan and Armenia and told the Azeri leadership
that it was ready to help the process.

Talks on the proposal came during an ongoing visit by Azerbaijan’s
President Ilham Aliyev to Ankara.

Officials said on Wednesday that the proposal was not a new issue but
Aliyev’s visit provided the opportunity to provide a “concrete
framework” for the idea.

Aliyev met with Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul and addressed the
Turkish Parliament on Wednesday, on the second day of his visit, the
first since he became president of the country last year. He held
talks with President Ahmet Necdet Sezer on Tuesday and the two
countries issued a joint declaration, which officials said set the
parameters of Turkish-Azeri relations in the new era.

For more than a decade, Azerbaijan’s Nagorno-Karabakh region has been
under Armenian invasion and international efforts to resolve the
dispute have failed to bring a solution. Turkey has severed its
diplomatic ties with Yerevan and closed its border gate with the
country in protest of its occupation in Nagorno-Karabakh and Yerevan’s
support for Armenian diaspora attempts to get international
recognition of alleged Armenian genocide at the hands of the late
Ottoman Empire.

According to Azerbaijan’s proposal on the Nagorno-Karabakh dispute
that was discussed during Aliyev’s talks in Ankara, negotiations
between Armenia and Azerbaijan could start after Armenia withdraws its
forces from most of the occupied region. The withdrawal will follow
Azerbaijan’s opening its border gate with Armenia and restoration of
economic relations.

In parallel to these steps, Turkey would also open its border gate
with Armenia, according to conclusions from Aliyev’s talks.

“We will display all efforts for a peaceful solution of the Nagorno
Karabakh dispute within the framework of a gradual approach,”
President Ahmet Necdet Sezer said on Tuesday after his meeting with

The United States and the European Union have been pressuring Turkey
to lift its trade blockade of Armenia and open its borders to the

As well as international pressure, Ankara has faced lobbying from
Turkish business interests keen to trade freely with Armenia.

About 35,000 people died in six years of fighting over Karabakh which
ended in a 1994 ceasefire. A decade of diplomatic efforts by the
United States, France and Russia to end the deadlock has failed.

BTC Project on the agenda

The issue of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline was also on the agenda
of the visit. Sezer said, “Our joint projects closely followed by the
whole world will further our bilateral ties and contribute to peace
and stability of our region. This project which was once a dream is
now coming true.”

Turkey and Azerbaijan will be linked in the near future by the oil
pipeline pumping crude from the Caspian Sea to the Turkish
Mediterranean port of Ceyhan.

The 1,760-kilometer Baku-Ceyhan pipeline, built by an international
consortium and strongly backed by the United States, is worth around
$3 billion.

“More than half of the oil pipeline has now been completed,” Aliyev
said, adding work was also progressing well on a natural gas pipeline
from the Caspian to Turkey and Greece. During Aliyev’s visit, the two
countries also signed five agreements concerning mainly cultural and
economic partnerships.

Aliyev also noted that his country would support Turkey’s candidacy at
elections for secretary-general of the Organization of Islamic
Conference (OIC). The elections will be held in this year’s June
summit of the OIC.

[14-04-2004 ‘Armenia-Azerbaijan’]
Source : `Echo’ newspaper (Azerbaijan)
Author: R. Orujev

Political experts are at a äiscord îver its possible impact on the
process of Karabagh settlement

The political situation in Armenia remains tense. The outcome of the
events developing in Yerevan may be dual. The confrontation may result
in both power change in the neighboring country and victory of current
authorities, which after full suppression of resistance will
inevitably tackle (it seems to have done that already) repressions of
the oppositionists. It is also interesting which outcome may be
beneficial to Azerbaijan as regards prospects of settling Mountainous
Karabagh conflict.

According to political scientist Rasim Musabekov, the events underway
cannot be viewed only in the context of Karabagh conflict. “The impact
on the general democratic progress of the Caucasus is also to be
reckoned with. Namely, if power change in Armenia makes the society
more pluralistic, democratic and complying with human rights
standards, this process may certainly become positive”.

As for the impact of these phenomena on Karabagh settlement, “here
there are two aspects. If the situation in Armenia leads to chaos or
acute resistance in the country, Azerbaijan will get an opportunity
for forcefully liberating its territories. Similarly to Armenians’
taking advantage of civil resistance situation in Azerbaijan, induced
by the actions of Suret Huseynov, for taking control of the
territories around Mountainous Karabagh”. But most likely it will not
go that far, Musabekov states.

“But there is another possibility concerning the fact that Armenians
actively used all the means for reaching the most preferable
settlement option or to preserve the status quo for the past 10
years. Moreover, toppling the government for conserving the present
situation might also be used as a means. In this respect Kocharian’s
position is not more constructive or open for compromise in reaching
peaceful settlement on the level of international law. Any change
would lead to the fact that new people usually have high
demands. Settling down, exposure to external pressure will take
time. And I think no progress on peaceful settlement may be
expected. Such a change in Armenia may impede the settlement process
which is already at a standstill”, Musabekov concluded.

A controversial opinion was voiced by ex state adviser Vafa Guluzade,
“It is crystal clear that Kocharian’s resignation is favorable for
Azerbaijan because no shifts were made in conflict settlement during
his rule. Although former President Ter-Petrosian was willing to
accept stage-by-stage option, our former `old brothers’ dismissed him
through Kocharian. Kocharian’s resignation will put an end to Moscow’s
rule in Armenia. Armenian’s will try to establish pro-Western regime
in the country. But how will they achieve it; the situation in the
country has long been under the control of Moscow. In principle, it is
possible that Russia will allow the forces, striving for power, to
displace Kocharian”.

The political expert notes, “In any case, no matter what force comes
to power in Armenia, it will not be ready for immediately rejecting
results of aggression because many Armenians are dazed by the fact
that it is they who defeated Azerbaijan. Although it is clear for all
reasonable people in Armenia that this occupation is planned and
implemented by Moscow. I will be careful in assessments but in my
opinion the accession of the new authorities may nevertheless signify
certain shifts in Karabagh conflict settlement. Moreover, precise
forecasts may be given only inside Armenia”, the ex state adviser on
foreign issues added.

[13-04-2004 ‘Armenia-Azerbaijan’]
Source : `Novoye Vremya’ newspaper (Armenia)
Author: Asya Tsaturova

The relations between Azerbaijani entrepreneurs from Sadakhlo and
`merchants’ from Armenia are growing stronger and
closer. Notwithstanding the anti-Armenian hysteria instigated by
Azerbaijani authorities, Sadakhlo residents’ attitude towards
Armenians, coming to the wholesale border market for the goods,
remains balanced and friendly. Armineh Petrosian (interviewee’s name
is changed) cooperates with Azerbaijanis from this border village for
more than just a year. There was not a single occasion of her doubting
the honesty and decency of the Azerbaijani colleagues.

According to Armineh, neither her nor the rest of her Armenian
partners count the goods packed by the Azerbaijanis. The merchants
know – the stock is guaranteed. Many Azerbaijanis have a variety of
permanent customers from Armenia, and no one wants to lose fixed ties.
Armenians and Azerbaijanis, in their interaction on Armenian-Georgian
border, have long stepped over the line of intolerance and ethnic
strife; they have become such good friends that sharing bread and salt
became common. Indeed, when can a person be better known than at a
table? Only recently, Armineh once more experienced Azerbaijani
hospitality. She was not very fortunate with the transportation on her
way back and so she had to wait for the train from Tbilisi. The train
was to arrive only by evening, and there is not proper hotel in
Sadakhlo. Consequently, the woman had to stay for no less than 10
hours in the open. Armineh was not scared over the prospect – she
decided to wait through this period at the fair near the container of
her Azerbaijani partner, Mustafa. No way. First, the Azerbaijani
suggested accompanying her to the local snackbar for dinner. But it
turned out that Armineh already managed to pass by a number of
Azerbaijanis and to have a snack in the bar. Saying `well done’ with
respect, Mustafa kept insisting, `Let’s go to our place, you won’t sit
all day at the fair, will you?’ Finally, `Armenian resistance’ was
broken. As soon as Armineh entered the Azerbaijani’s house, she
became the center of attention. The women immediately put away all
their chores and after a while, despite categorical refusal from
dinner, brought her some pasta with `sokhorats’ and `matsun’. Not to
offend the housewives, Armineh nevertheless tasted the dish. Later,
they engaged in polite conversation but mostly talked business. Local
Azerbaijanis, according to Armineh, prefer not to talk politics. Even
when they do discuss such issues, they put all blame on the
politicians and not common people. In the confrontation between the
people, Mustafa and his partners do not have good prospects. The
present situation is a serious obstacle on the way of developing their
business. The traders want to enlarge the scope of supply, and they
even questioned Armineh about assortment of goods that might be
exported from Armenia. But there is no possibility for doing it. The
host responded to the proposal of coming and visiting Armenian fairs
with embarrassment, `I will not take the risk’.

With a change of power in Georgia, the restrictions placed on the
Georgian businessmen, engaged in trade, became stricter. Merchants,
including those from Sadakhlo, are placed within even more rigid tax
frames. This presupposes further raising of prices. Azerbaijanis are
well aware that it may have a negative impact on selling price and on
the scope of the sold merchandise respectively for Armenian merchants
as well. Apparently, nowadays many Azerbaijanis try to improve the
conditions of cooperation with Armenians. Despite a couple of traders
from Armenia with `unclean hands’, whose ventures let down Sadakhlo
residents a few years ago, they keep giving the merchandise
`nisya’. That means the condition is paying for goods after sale. One
of Armineh’s colleagues, Sona, for instance, does her packaging by
`nisya’ system for no less than 20-25 thousand bucks. Azerbaijanis
have worked with her for many years and trust her completely. There
has not been a day for Sona not to talk with suppliers from
Sadakhlo. She has to pay considerable phone costs for conversations
with Azerbaijani colleagues, but there are no complaints so far.

Azerbaijanis prefer discussing all in full detail. As a result, the
goods are sold almost perfectly with practically no left over. In
Armineh’s assessment, the businessmen are doing well. But she keeps
wondering over the reticence of Azerbaijani colleagues. Despite the
incomes, they drive decrepit cars and live in mansions that can hardly
be called luxurious. Though, as the interviewee notes, these houses
are quite clean and comfortable. In general, the houses of Sadakhlo
Azerbaijanis cannot be called untidy. A few years back, Armineh and
her partner faced an emergency in a taxi on the route from Tbilisi to
Yerevan. By the time they approached the border, it turned out to be
closed, and the women were practically left on the road at night. The
compassionate Azerbaijani taxi driver did not hesitate to invite them
to his place. First, the Armenian women were well fed – chickens were
killed for them. Afterwards, they were settled for the night in a
guest room. Moreover, they were provided with magnificent snow-white
linen and soft mattresses, which Armineh remembers up to this day.

Our `merchants’ also demonstrate truly Caucasian hospitality. Some of
them even manage to invite Azerbaijani partners to their children’s
wedding. But arranging a guest’s visit from Sadakhlo is no easy
task. Our entrepreneurs visit Azerbaijani weddings quite easily. It is
safe in a village, as the compatriots became convinced after long
years of trade across the border. Therefore, our entrepreneurs are
particularly embarrassed. As for their Azerbaijani colleagues, they
cannot get rid of the sense of fear. Only some of them, trusting the
safety guaranteed by their Armenian friends, nevertheless visit us. In
particular, one of our `merchants’ brought the guests from Sadakhlo by
his car to Yerevan downtown for his son’s wedding. Azerbaijanis did
not regret – they ate barbecue, drank brandy. They reached mutual
understanding with the guests. They would – residents of the village
adjacent to Bagratashen, they were good in Armenian and understood
their friends at once.

Yerevan Press Club of Armenia, ‘Yeni Nesil’ Journalists’ Union of
Azerbaijan and Association of Diplomacy Correspondents of Turkey
present ‘Armenia-Azerbaijan-Turkey: Journalist Initiative-2002’
Project. As a part of the project web site has
been designed, featuring the most interesting publications from the
press of Armenia, Azerbaijan and Turkey on issues of mutual
concern. The latest updates on the site are weekly delivered to the