Turkey, Armenian and Azerbaijan Wrangle Over Karabakh
Despite optimism from international negotiators about a breakthrough on Nagorno-Karabakh negotiations, jostling among Armenia, Turkey and Azerbaijan persisted during a December 1-2 Ministerial Council session. The session was convened under the auspices of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.
At the session, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davitoglu repeated earlier assertions that Ankara will only proceed with plans to open Turkey's border with Armenia, if Yerevan makes concessions to Baku in the Karabakh peace process, the Kavkazsky Uzel news service reported December 2.Armenia has insisted all along that the opening of the border should not be linked to the Karabakh issue. These differences threaten to dent the momentum in the Turkish-Armenian reconciliation. Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan said recently that Yerevan will not wait forever until Ankara makes up its mind about opening the border. But commentators in Armenia say that trade opportunities with Turkey and international pressure may convince Yerevan to return to Azerbaijan territories that are occupied by Armenian forces. The occupied territories currently act as a defensive ring for Karabakh proper.