Opening Turkish-Armenian border without the liberation of occupied lands will be a blow to the back of Azerbaijan, said the First Deputy Speaker of the Parliament of Azerbaijan.
«Azerbaijan’s position on the Armenian-Turkish relations was known in advance and we uphold it. We were against the signing of these protocols,» the First Deputy Speaker, chairman of the parliamentary committee on security and defense Ziyafet Askerov told the official website of the ruling New Azerbaijan Party (YAP).
Turkish and Armenian Foreign Ministers, Ahmet Davudoglu and Edward Nalbandian signed the Ankara-Yerevan protocol in Zurich on Oct. 10.
The conflict between the two South Caucasus countries began in 1988 when Armenia made territorial claims against Azerbaijan. Armenian armed forces have occupied 20 percent of Azerbaijan since 1992, including the Nagorno-Karabakh region and 7 surrounding districts. Azerbaijan and Armenia signed a ceasefire agreement in 1994. The co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group — Russia, France, and the U.S. — are currently holding the peace negotiations.
According to Askerov, Turkish officials said during their visits to Azerbaijan and in their country that borders with Armenia will not be opened unless Armenia puts an end to its occupation policy. «For this reason, the signing of protocols between Turkey and Armenia looks illogical. Because Armenia and Western officials have always expressed the opinion that the signing of the protocols should not be linked to the Nagorno-Karabakh problem. We supported parallel discussions over both issues. The signing ceremony in Zurich was attended by the foreign ministers of co-chair countries of the OSCE Minsk Group. On the one hand, they say that they are separate issues and on the other hand, the ceremony is attended by the foreign ministers of co-chair countries. This fact shows that this process is directly related to the Nagorno-Karabakh issue,» said chairman of the committee.
According to Askerov, the opening of borders in the current circumstances is contrary to the interests of Azerbaijan. «If the border is opened without liberation of our occupied territories, it will be a blow to the back of Azerbaijan. Because such an action does not correspond to the logic and spirit of the friendly and brotherly relations between Azerbaijan and Turkey. This should not occur between the friendly and brotherly countries. We consider Turkey as a fraternal country and expect reciprocity. I would like to believe that these protocols will not be approved in the Turkish Parliament. President, prime minister, foreign minister and chairman of the Turkish Parliament should remain true to their words,» said the first vice speaker.