ANKARA: Turk FM comments on Russian gas deal, Armenia, Kurd issues

Anadolu Agency, Turkey
Aug 9 2009

Turkish foreign minister comments on Russian gas deal, Armenia,
Kurdish issues

Ankara, 9 August: The Turkish foreign minister said on Sunday [9
August] that different energy corridors were not the alternatives of
each other.

Turkey’s Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said that the energy deals
signed with Russia this week created the north-south corridor, similar
to the east-west corridor of the Nabucco pipeline.

"Therefore, they are not alternatives of each other," Davutoglu told a
TV programme on private Kanal 7 channel.

Davutoglu said Turkey did not have endless natural gas or oil
resources. "However, we have such a geography that if we use it well,
we can use the resources we do not own for our own advantage," he
said.

The South Stream project would partly replace the planned extension of
Blue Stream from Turkey through Bulgaria and Serbia to Hungary and
Austria, and is seen as rival to the planned Nabucco pipeline. The
completion is due by 2015.

The Nabucco project represents a new gas pipeline connecting the
Caspian region, Middle East and Egypt via Turkey, Bulgaria, Romania,
Hungary with Austria and further on with the Central and Western
European gas markets.

Davutoglu said Russia was Turkey’s number one trade partner with 40bn
US dollars of trade volume, and Turkey was Russia’s number five
partner.

Davutoglu said that Turkey and Russia signed customs agreements that
would eliminate problems.

Also, he said rapprochement with Russia would definitely contribute to
settlement of Upper Karabakh dispute.

"Because, we have to avoid the regional and global dispute area risk
in the Black Sea and the Caucasus," he said.

Davutoglu said Turkey’s perspective on the Caucasus was to normalize
relations between itself and Armenia and between Armenia and
Azerbaijan.

The minister expressed Turkey’s determination to normalize its
relations with Armenia, and said talks were under way.

Davutoglu said normalization of Turkish-Armenian relations would
contribute to solution of Azerbaijani-Armenian problem.

On the "Kurdish move" of the government, Davutoglu said this move
should not be regarded as a move aiming at a certain group, but as a
historic unification move.

"There may be circles who want to make these brothers enemies, but
statesmen and intellectuals have a responsibility to protect this
brotherhood," he said.

Davutoglu said no freedom should be intimidating, what was
intimidating should be narrowing democratization, not broadening it.

The minister underlined importance of brotherhood and democratization
in this process, and said he would visit Iraq in coming days.

On 29 July, Turkish Interior Minister Besir Atalay made public the
"Kurdish move" of the government with a press conference, expressing
the government’s belief that the so-called "Kurdish issue" would be
solved with an egalitarian approach through democratization.

On 2 August, Atalay met a group of journalists at a workshop titled
"Solution of the Kurdish Issue: Towards a Turkey Model" at the Police
Academy in capital Ankara.

A statement released after the meeting said the participants had a
"fruitful brainstorming", and discussed ways to manage the different
dynamics of the process, as well as short, medium and long-term
measures needed to be taken within the framework of the
democratization process.

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