Azeri Dailiy Criticizes Turkey’s Handling Of Georgian-Russian Confli

AZERI DAILY CRITICIZES TURKEY’S HANDLING OF GEORGIAN-RUSSIAN CONFLICT

BBC Monitoring International Reports
August 21, 2008 Thursday

An Azerbaijani independent daily has described as "insincere" Turkey’s
handling of the conflict between Georgia and Russia.

Russian-language Zerkalo said on 21 August that Turkey, which is a
NATO member, is openly aiding Russia. While Turkey backed the NATO
declaration on Georgia, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan
failed to condemn Russia’s invasion of Georgia during his visit to
Baku on 20 August, Zerkalo said.

The paper also criticized Ankara for its failure to discuss the idea
of a Caucasus stability pact with its NATO allies, including the
USA. The Caucasus Home, suggested by Turkey, is to include Turkey,
Azerbaijan, Georgia, Armenia and Russia.

"Apparently, the Turkish leadership has an illusion that the
Kremlin will be reckoning with its opinion in geopolitical issues
in the region," Zerkalo said. "In fact, Erdogan is suggesting that
Azerbaijan toe Russia’s line. This is a dangerous path which will
sooner or later make Azerbaijan a vassal of Russia."

The daily said that the reason for Turkey’s behaviour could be its
attempt to delay the regional countries’ Euroatlantic integration.

"Up until today, Turkey was the ‘last barrier’ on NATO’s southeastern
flank. However, after the regional countries integrate into the
Euroatlantic space, Turkey will lose this significance for the
West. This is where its interests coincide with those of Russia,"
Zerkalo said.

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