BAKU: Turkish debt row more of politics – Azeri paper

Turkish debt row more of politics – Azeri paper

Yeni Musavat, Baku
2 Aug 04

Text of Konul Samilqizi’s report by Azerbaijani newspaper Yeni Musavat
on 2 August headlined “Turkey’s response to Ilham Aliyev” and
subheaded “The issue of airplanes may be a response to the Cyprus

There has long been tension between the governments of Azerbaijan and
Turkey. The reason is that the Azerbaijani Ministry of Agriculture
has not repaid its debt of 3m dollars to the Turkish company Saka
Korkmaz. Under a Turkish court decision two airplanes and a vessel
owned by Azerbaijan are being held hostage against the debt. Moreover,
the Fikrat Amirov vessel has already been put on auction for 800
dollars – a price that is much lower than its actual cost.

The matter is that the debt owed by the Azerbaijani Ministry of
Agriculture to Saka Korkmaz dates several years back. Granted that
when the dispute first emerged, the Turkish government wanted to show
that it was not interested in this issue by releasing the grounded
airplanes several times and making statements at the level of the
Foreign Ministry. However, the further course of events, namely the
detention of the two airplanes and the vessel once and for all, the
escalation of the problem to the level of mutual lawsuits and Ankara’s
acting as an observer gives all grounds to say that the Turkish
government has at least decided not to react to the tension. The
reasons behind this are quite clear to the Azerbaijani public.

What is more, the clan regime that again usurped power in Azerbaijan
with the support of the Erdogan government has failed to justify the
hopes of Ankara, like those of other protectors. The fact is that the
regime in Azerbaijan has taken steps against Turkey’s interests under
Russia’s influence. A vivid example of it is the position [Azerbaijani
President] Ilham Aliyev and his regime have been taking on the Cyprus
issue. It is natural that the response to such shameful mistakes and
betrayals is not instant and explicit if relations between states,
especially allies, are concerned. Now let us have a look at the
chronology of steps taken in Turkey in relation to Azerbaijan
following the “great shame” that Aliyev and the squad of the clan’s
deputies admitted on 28 April:

On 12 May, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced that problems
remained only with neighbouring Armenia and made a statement on the
necessity of improving relations;

On 13 May, the park named after [ex-President] Heydar Aliyev was
destroyed in Ankara. The official explanation as to why the
one-month-old park was destroyed was that part of its territory was
reportedly owned by another company. It is up to you to make a
conclusion how reasonable it was for this company to find out about
the construction of a park on its territory one month later;

On 14 May, the Turkish press circulated another report ranked as “a
diplomatic abomination”. The news was about a scandal around the
opening of an illegal bar in the premises of the Azerbaijani embassy
under the decision of the Turkish Ministry of Finance. We are again
leaving it to the readers to conclude how accidental the coincidence
of this scandal with the mistake Aliyev made with regards to Cyprus

On 26 June, that is only a few days after Aliyev promised the Greek
president not to recognize [Turkish Republic of Northern] Cyprus,
another statement by Erdogan was made public. He said they intended to
forge relations with Armenia and the precondition was the waiver of
the idea of “Armenian genocide”. In other words, it was officially
announced that Ankara has given up on the Karabakh condition.

It is enough to mention these four instances to include here the
scandal around the debt to Saka Korkmaz. We will probably have to
enlarge this list if the debt is not paid off.