There won’t be obstacles for Turkey to normalize relations with Armenia, if Armenia solves its problems with Azerbaijan. This is what President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Tuesday during a press conference with President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev in Kovsakan, which is currently under the control of Azerbaijan. Erdogan was in Azerbaijan to attend the opening of the airport that was under construction for the past few months in Varanda.
“The conditions for building strong peace are favorable now more than ever. In this regard, Armenia needs to show sincere will to settle the problems with Azerbaijan. If Armenia does this, there won’t be any obstacle for the normalization of relations between Turkey and Armenia,” Erdogan declared.
During a conversation with Armenian News-NEWS.am, academician of the National Academy of Sciences of Armenia, Turkologist Ruben Safrastan expressed the view that Erdogan’s statements are being used within the Turks’ traditional rhetoric that is not aimed at paving the real way for launching negotiations with Armenia and normalizing relations. “The real goal is to take advantage of Armenia’s defeat in the war and strengthen pressure on Armenia in order to achieve Armenia’s acceptance of Turkey’s preconditions, not normalize relations,” Safrastyan stated.
On October 28, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told CNN Turk that Turkey is considering with Azerbaijan the normalization of relations with Armenia. Safrastyan noted that Turkey is an elder partner in its relations with Azerbaijan and that now it is informing Baku about its actions, not reaching an agreement on them with Baku.
Touching upon the statement that the President of Russia made at Valdai Discussion Club a few days ago that the establishment of peaceful coexistence will also favor Armenia, Safrastyan noted that Russia is interested in the establishment of stability in the region, the normalization of Armenian-Turkish relations and the operation of communications. He also agrees with the views that Turkey may intend to penetrate into the economy of Armenia which has become weak after the war.
“Turkey will seek to make sure Armenia accepts and meets its conditions. If Armenia accepts and meets the conditions (the additional condition is the so-called “Zangezur corridor”), Turkey will establish relations with Armenia, open borders, do trade, etc. As to how favorable this is for Armenia, that’s a different story. In my opinion, it’s not favorable. I am certain that Turkey won’t take this step until Armenia doesn’t make concessions. In its turn, Russia wants to see the normalization of relations, but doesn’t have a picture of how difficult it is going to be.
The post-war situation is unprecedented — Russia seems to be losing its monopoly of calling the shots in the region. Now Turkey is taking advantage of Armenia’s defeat in the war and its successes in absorbing Azerbaijan and is trying to play its game in the region. Regional issues may also be discussed during the Russian-Turkish negotiations. Turkey and Azerbaijan are persistently talking about the corridor, and an attempt is being made to exert pressure and turn the opening of the corridor into a more real issue,” he said.