Azerbaijan attacks deal with Armenia

Turkey's Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan said yesterday that Armenia must withdraw from Nagorno-Karabakh in Azerbaijan to assure his parliament's approval for a peace accord signed between Turkey and Armenia.

"Turkey cannot take a positive step towards Armenia unless Armenia withdraws from Azerbaijani land ... if that issue is solved our people and our parliament will have a more positive attitude towards this protocol and this process," Erdogan told a party congress in Ankara.

Turkey and Armenia signed an accord on Saturday aimed at restoring ties and opening their shared border. Last-minute disagreements delayed the signing for more than three hours, forcing U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to engage in intense talks to salvage a deal.

The Turkish and Armenian parliaments must approve the accord in the face of opposition from nationalists on both sides and an Armenian diaspora which insists Turkey acknowledge the killings of up to 1.5 million Armenians during World War One as genocide.

"We will bring the protocol to parliament but parliament has to see the conditions between Azerbaijan and Armenia to decide whether this protocol can be implemented," Erdogan said.

Turkey cut ties and shut its border with Armenia in 1993 in support of Turkic-speaking Azerbaijan which was then fighting a losing battle against Armenian separatists in Karabakh.

In his comments, Erdogan looked to reassure ally Azerbaijan, which reacted angrily to the deal, saying it could threaten security and "cast a shadow" over its relations with Ankara.

"The normalisation of relations between Turkey and Armenia before the withdrawal of Armenian troops from occupied Azeri territory is in direct contradiction to the national interests of Azerbaijan," the Azeri Foreign Ministry said yesterday.

In a strongly worded statement, the ministry said the deal "casts a shadow over the fraternal relations between Azerbaijan and Turkey, which have historical roots.

Turkey's Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and his Armenian counterpart Edward Nalbandian signed the Swiss-mediated deal in Zurich at a ceremony also attended by European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana, Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and France's Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner.

In a statement Lavrov welcomed the accord, saying Russia was happy and would lend support.

"The essence of the documents is evidence of both countries' firm resolve to do their part ... Not one of the steps can be interpreted as damaging to any third party," he said.

If the agreement comes into effect, it would boost European Union-candidate Turkey's diplomatic clout in the volatile South Caucasus, a transit corridor for oil and gas to the West.

Turkish officials told Reuters the two sides had many disagreements over statements each was due to make in Zurich, including oblique references to the Karabakh conflict. In the end, neither Davutolgu nor Nalbadian made public statements.

Alexander Iskandaryan, director of the Caucasus Media Institute in Yerevan, said in reaction to Erdogan's speech: "The Turkish side needs to play to its domestic audience. Erdogan and other political figures have made such statements often enough ... It's a fact that neither the word Karabakh nor Azerbaijan appears in the documents that were signed."

Although landlocked Armenia stands to make big gains, opening its impoverished economy to trade and investment, Armenia's leader Serzh Sarksyan faces protests at home and from the huge Armenian diaspora, which views the thaw with suspicion.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Experienced Bookkeeper - German Speaking - Part Time

£23000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This firm of accountants based ...

Recruitment Genius: Operations Manager

£30000 - £38000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are a financial services c...

Ashdown Group: Field Service Engineer

£30000 - £32000 per annum + car allowance and on call: Ashdown Group: A succes...

Recruitment Genius: Sales & Marketing Co-Ordinator

£15000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Well established small company ...

Day In a Page

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence