ANKARA: Turkey Offers To Help Solve Armenia, Azerbaijan Dispute

Turkey Offers To Help Solve Armenia, Azerbaijan Dispute
29 June, 2004


ANKARA — Turkey seeks to assume the role of mediator between Armenia
and Azerbaijan in an effort to resolve the dispute over the
Nagorno-Karabakh region,
Turkish officials here said.

Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul met June 28 with his Armenian
counterpart, Vartan Oskanian, on the sidelines of the NATO summit in
Istanbul. Oskanian told reporters that Yerevan is serious in its efforts
to improve relations with Ankara, and Gul said Turkey is willing to

A senior Turkish diplomat told on June 29 that Turkey’s
initiative for mediation between Armenia and Azerbaijan had been
welcomed by both countries.

“It will take time, but this is a good start,” he said. “Both the
initial Azeri and Armenian reaction were positive to our initiative.”

NATO has been discussing a project for launching a Caucasus Stability
Pact, but the continued tension between Azerbaijan and Armenia over the
disputed territory has blocked progress.

Turkey says normalization of its ties with Armenia – its only neighbor
with which Ankara has no diplomatic relations – depends on Armenia’s
withdrawal of troops from Nagorno-Karabakh, an enclave in Azerbaijan
under Armenian occupation for the last decade.