Official of Turkey’s leading opposition party: “Prime Minister Erdogan should keep the words he said in Azerbaijani parliament” – EXCLUSIVE

Official of Turkey’s leading opposition party: “Prime Minister Erdogan should keep the words he said in Azerbaijani parliament” – <font color=red> EXCLUSIVE </font>
# 01 September 2009 13:36 (UTC +04:00)
-Some days ago you said there will be improvements in Turkey-Armenia relations. You were right. How do you assess the recent situation?

-We were confused, because Prime Minister Erdogan promised in May in Azerbaijani parliament that Turkey-Armenia relations will not be normalized unless the occupation by Armenia ends. There is no information that Armenia will end the occupation – they do not step back. How will the relations be normalized under these circumstances? We can not approve it. We must think about Turkey-Azerbaijan relations. Azerbaijan is our brother. The problems worrying Azerbaijan will worry us, too. That’s why, we consider that Turkey should not normalize the relations with Armenia, unless Armenia releases Azerbaijani territories and one million Azerbaijanis return home.

-Head of Turkish Foreign Ministry’s office and his assistant visited Azerbaijan last week. As far as we know Turkish diplomats assured Baku that Azerbaijan’s interests will not be damaged.

-They had said it earlier and noted that they informed Ilham Aliyev about the negotiations held in Switzerland. Later, serious protests came from Azerbaijan. Does it damage Azerbaijan, if relations are established before Armenians release Azerbaijani territories?

-It seems that these steps are taken to pave the way for Serzh Sargsyan’s arrival in Turkey. Doesn’t this atmosphere show this?

-Sargsyan may come to Turkey by plane. Abdullah Gul also left for Yerevan by plane. They exert pressure on Turkey under the pretext of the match. “I will not come, if do not reopen the borders.” No one will mourn in Turkey, if Sargsyan does not come to watch the match. We can not change our targets and policy only because he will come to watch the match. Turkey should demonstrate a decisive position.

The Prime Minister promised during his visit to Azerbaijan that the borders will not be opened until the solution to Nagorno Karabakh conflict.

- Sargsyan is one of the separatists who occupied Nagorno Karabakh. Sargsyan shows Karabakh Armenians as soon as Turkey and Azerbaijan pressure upon Armenia.

- We understand these games very well. Is there any sign of Armenia’s willingness to withdraw from Karabakh lands?

- No.

- Why we have to step back? Why we closed the borders? We closed borders because Armenia occupied 20 percent of Azerbaijani lands. Why we have to re-open the borders while the lands were not liberated so far?

- As a veteran diplomat and politician, you know the Russian influence on Armenia. What do you think, can the West to win Armenia making these steps over Turkey?

- Russia has own interests and goals as every country has. We want normal relations with Russia, but the countries have to be able to protect their interests and targets. Otherwise they can’t win anyone’s trust. If the Prime Minister promised something on behalf of his country, he must not leave it later. I am concerning about our Azerbaijani brothers. The re-opening of the borders will hurt them. We didn’t hear Azerbaijan’s reaction yet. It will be better to know thoughts of Azerbaijani president about the last developments. In our opinion, Turkey must not step back in its policy.

- Probably you will express your opinion during the discussion on the protocols agreed between the governments of Turkey and Armenia at the Turkish parliament.

- Of course. But the ruling party has a majority in the parliament and it has a power to pass any law there. Unfortunately we have no enough power to prevent it. But the Turkish people will show necessary reaction. The government should report to the people about its actions.
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