Azerbaijan fears reopening Turkish-Armenian border

The Georgian Messenger
30 April 2004

Prepared by Anna Arzanova
Azerbaijan fears reopening Turkish-Armenian border

According to Nezavisimaya Gazeta, the President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliev
went to Ankara where held negotiations with senior Turkish leadership.
President Aliev met with the Ambassador of Turkey to Baku Unal Chevikez on
the eve of his journey and discussed details
of his visit. “The achievements of Turkey make us happy and the achievements
of Azerbaijan make Turkey happy. I am very happy that
important steps were and are taken in this direction,” stated Aliev. Despite
such an optimistic tone, the experts in Baku noticed that there is
some tension in the relations between Azerbaijan and Turkey.

The problem is that authorities in Turkey are inclined to establish a normal
border-customs regime with Armenia in the near future. According to Turkish
diplomatic sources, there really are intense, informal diplomatic contacts
on this issue between Yerevan and Ankara. The fact of such negotiations was
also confirmed by the former Minister of Internal Affairs of Azerbaijan, the
leader of the National Democratic Party, Iskender Gamidov.

Baku has a very sickly reaction to the possibility of changes along the
Turkish-Armenian border and even tries to dissuade officials in
Ankara. Aliev stated once again that he is against the opening of the
Turkish-Armenian boarder, because this step will not contribute to
settle the Karabakh conflict peacefully.