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Turkish MP: Opening of Armenia-Turkey border is impossible until liberation of Azerbaijan’s occupied lands

01 December 2009 [11:55] - TODAY.AZ
Day.Az interview with non-party member of Turkey’s Grand National Assembly (parliament) Ahmet Tan.
How do you assess the Armenia-Turkey protocols on normalization of relations?

The Justice and Development Party (AKP) government is now in a difficult situation. It intended to implement dramatic changes in Turkey’s domestic and foreign policy, but got into difficulties.

I think a factor of Azerbaijan could not be considered in this respect. However, Azerbaijan responded fairly to ongoing processes. The Turkish public also expressed its strong indignation. No one in Turkey, except the government, welcomed this process.

I am confident that the promises made to Azerbaijan and Turkish nation will be kept. However, the very vague situation can not last long.  We will witness continuation of the “protocol process" soon.

When do you think the Armenia-Turkey border will open?

Opening of Armenian-Turkish border is impossible until resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Establishing relations and assistance to the state which has seized territory of a neighboring country is contrary to international principles and instruments adopted by the UN. The UN founding documents clearly indicate boundaries of the member countries and call for international sanctions against states that try to change these boundaries by force. No international sanctions have been adopted against Armenia so far. Only Turkey decided to exert pressure on Armenia by closing the borders. It is unreasonable to refuse sanctions until the occupation is put an end.

On the other hand, the Armenia president and other country officials have stated that establishing relations with Turkey does not mean abandoning "genocide" claims. Armenia does not even think about changing the item in its constitution about territorial claims to Turkey. I am confident that neither the U.S. nor the EU nor Armenia welcomed this move by Turkey as goodwill. On the contrary, they only hardened their positions and tried to come up with new conditions. They try to use Turkey as a bridge to Armenia.

What will happen next once the parliament puts the protocols on agenda?

A: We will do our utmost to prevent the protocols from being ratified. The outcome of events that can happen after the protocols get into parliament is impossible to predict. AKP has a parliamentary majority and could seek to ratify the protocols. But the AKP is afraid to do it. They understand that they risk much.  Non-party and opposition MPs said the government that they are not concerned over difficulties experienced by Armenia.

Why the West protects Armenia’s interests so zealously?

The EU is talking much talk about freedom of conscience. But, in fact, there are many who share position of Christian fundamentalism. Their demands to Turkey are unfounded and are nothing but a manifestation of Christian brotherhood. Despite all the problems, they admitted the Greek Cyprus to the EU. They created a theocratic state Vatican in Rome. Now they are trying to create something similar in Istanbul. The West pompously marked establishment of the Armenian Patriarchate in Istanbul. They encourage Armenia and its claims in this way. Inter-religious confrontation is the main point in this respect.

The whole world would long ago have been on alert if Armenia were in Azerbaijan’s place. Why does the West, which seeks “global justice", turns a blind eye to how nearly a million people live in intolerable conditions? Today one of the main goals of Europe is Armenia's participation in regional energy projects and improving economic situation in this country.

Do you believe the Karabakh conflict will be resolved through mediation of international organizations? Can plan of the phased conflict settlement bear fruits?

I was a member of Turkish delegation to PACE, as well as deputy chairman of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly. Together with Azerbaijani counterparts, we have met with representatives of these organizations’ member states on many occasions. Most countries protect Armenia’s position. The Armenian lobby has staged a successful propaganda among them. The European parliamentarians clearly advocate Armenian’s position. Armenians spend billions for this. But we limit ourselves to mere words. Western world no longer adheres to the principle of justice in national and territorial issues. With regard to the phased conflict resolution, I do not trust Armenians. Will they sign an official document to liberate five regions surrounding the Nagorno-Karabakh? They will not relinquish the occupied territories so easily. Deliberately dragging out peace negotiations plays into Armenia’s hands. That is why I am pessimistic about the peace-making process at this stage.

Though the Turkish parliament raises the issue of recognition of the Khojali genocide from time to time, it as failed to do so every time. What is the reason?

A: The Turkish parliament lacks strength to recognize the Khojaly genocide which occurred recently and before the eyes of the entire world, because a parliamentary majority is held by the ruling party.

What leverage does Turkey have to influence resolution of the Karabakh conflict?

Turkey plays an important role in the BSEC, the OSCE and other international organizations. Turkey can become OSCE Minsk Group co-chair. Some forces in the OSCE prevent this. Many blame Armenia for this, but I think it is the United States that should be blamed.

Why the West, supporting Armenia, not thinks about the role that Azerbaijan and Turkey can play in the European energy security?

Everyone knows that the main pipelines which transport the Caspian energy to the West will pass through Turkey. This means that Turkey’s significance will increase many fold. The West fears that Turkey will become a regional leader. So, it tries to keep Armenia as a lever of pressure on Turkey. To counter this, Turkey needs to establish a strong regional alliance with Azerbaijan and Russia. The West is trying to worsen relations between Turkey and Azerbaijan in an effort to exclude probability of such a union.


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