Azerbaijani President refuses to attend the “Alliance of Civilizations” project meeting in Turkey -EXCLUSIVE

Azerbaijani President refuses to attend the “Alliance of Civilizations” project meeting in Turkey -<font color=red>EXCLUSIVE</font>
# 03 April 2009 13:29 (UTC +04:00)
President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev has also been invited to the meeting. According to unofficial reports given to APA, the President of Azerbaijan refused to attend the event. It could be valued as a protest against Turkey’s intention to open borders with Armenia.

Wall Street Journal reported that Turkish Foreign Minister Ali Babacan would visit Yerevan on April 16 to attend the Black Sea Economic Cooperation Organization and Memorandum of Understanding on the opening of borders was expected to be signed during the visit. Turkey’s Hurriyyet said that Turkey’s intention to open borders with Armenia caused serious concern in Azerbaijan and Baku would cut gas supplies to Turkey if Ankara opened the borders.

Recently Armenian foreign minister Edward Nalbandian told Armenian journalists that talks with Turkey over the opening for borders would have logistic final. Member of Turkish Parliament from ruling AKP Ali Guner (Igdir) also confirmed the Turkey’s view to open borders and to start border trade. In his meeting with the voters on the eve of municipal elections, Guner said free economic zone would be created in Igdir and business people from Armenia would also carry out commercial operations alongside with other countries, and commercial operations with Armenia and Iran would be free of customs taxes.

The sources in the European Union confirmed that Turkey was going to open borders with Armenia. Euronews agency wrote two days ago quoting senior officials of the European Union that official Ankara will pass a decision to open borders with Armenia. According to the information, Ankara may open borders with Armenia after U.S. President Barack Obama’s visit to Turkey in April. According to the source, this will have positive influence on Turkey-European Union relations. All these factors prove that Turkey intends to open borders with Armenia without taking into consideration Azerbaijan’s position and before Nagorno Karabakh conflict is solved. This step may be regarded as one of the causes of Ilham Aliyev’s refusing to attend Alliance of Civilizations in Turkey.

Of course, the refusal may also be connected with the president’s work schedule. Still the main version is that Turkish officials have not taken a stance on the reports on improvement of Turkey-Armenia relations and opening of borders.

Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan are the co-chairs of the Alliance of Civilizations under the auspices of the UN Secretary General.