BAKU: Goals Of Presidential Aide’s Turkey Visit


Turan News Agency
April 1 2010

Baku, 1 April: A delegation led by the head of the Azerbaijani
Presidential Administration, Ramiz Mehdiyev, arrived in Turkey on
31 March on an official visit. Official sources report that on the
same day, Mehdiyev met the secretary-general of the Turkish National
Security Council, Serdar Kilic. He later also met the chairman of
the Turkish Parliament’s Committee on Foreign Affairs, Murat Mercan.

Mehdiyev also visited Ankara’s Gazi University, where he spoke on
Azerbaijani-Turkish relations. His visit is continuing. According to
unofficial sources, Mehdiyev is to meet Prime Minister [Recep Tayyip]
Erdogan today.

Baku sources have not reported on the goal of Mehdiyev’s visit, but
with a great deal of probability one can suppose that Baku is making
efforts to find common ground with Ankara ahead of Erdogan’s visit
to the USA. Baku’s relations with both Ankara and Washington have
turned sour recently. However, [Azerbaijani President] Ilham Aliyev is
pressed to urgently mend relations with Turkey in order not to be left
completely alone in the Karabakh settlement issue. The development
of the geopolitical situation in recent months has seriously shaken
and weakened Baku’s position. This happened after the signing of the
Armenian-Turkish protocols on the normalization of bilateral relations
[in October 2009].

The West actively supported the process and despite Baku’s expectations
and demands, refused to link the opening of the Armenian-Turkish
border with the Karabakh settlement.

Ankara took a similar position, which led to the straining and
deterioration of bilateral ties. The blocking of the Nabucco [gas
export] project by Turkey was the next negative step. Simultaneously,
Ankara suggested buying Azerbaijani gas at a low price for its
further delivery to Europe. Against this background, relations
between Baku and Washington continued to deteriorate, as Washington
does not conceal its discontent with the violation of human rights
and freedoms in Azerbaijan and demands that Baku take specific steps
to improve the situation.

In the current situation, Ilham Aliyev has no other choice but to
make friends with Ankara and to try and coordinate its actions with
it in order to counter "common enemies".

The question is what the cost of this will be.

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