Armenian FM says Turkey conditions relations on establishment of land corridor to Azerbaijan
Armenia’s Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan said that there is a readiness to restore relations with Turkey but it has preconditioned this on the establishment of a land corridor that connects it to Azerbaijan.
In an interview with French newspaper Le Figaro that was published on Sunday, Mirzoyan was asked if Yerevan would normalize ties with Turkey or accept the land corridor. The diplomat maintained that Armenia has always been ready for unconditional normalization of relations with Turkey "despite Turkey's immense involvement in the war alongside Azerbaijan" during last year's war in Nagorno-Karabakh (known as Artsakh in Armenian).
“We have always stated that we are ready to normalize our relations without preconditions, despite the huge support provided by Turkey to Azerbaijan during the war against Artsakh, both politically and through the supply of weapons and the deployment of thousands of foreign mercenaries,” Mirzoyan told Le Figaro.
"We have heard positive signals from Turkey to reopen the dialogue, but it remains difficult. Ankara sets new conditions," he continued.
Regarding the so-called Zangezur Corridor that would connect Azerbaijan to its landlocked Nakhchivan province and onward to Turkey via Armenia, Mirzoyan said said that discussions of Armenian sovereignty are "in no way under discussion".
Last year, the 44-day war over Nagorno-Karabakh ended in a truce following extensive mediation by Russia. The deal saw 2,000 Russian peacekeepers deployed to the province to maintain the ceasefire and Russia has proposed a series of diplomatic frameworks that it hopes will bring stability to the South Caucasus.
During the war, Turkey supported Azerbaijan with military supplies, diplomatic support and by allegedly deploying mercenaries transferred from its proxies in Syria to support Azerbaijan.
However, Armenian and Azerbaijani troops have engaged in serious skirmishes in the year since the ceasefire began. In his interview, Mirzoyan accused Baku as undermining the peace and of challenging the Russian presence in the area by repeated violations of the agreement.
Turkey has backed Azerbaijan and its position that Armenia is responsible for breaching the truce arrangement. On Wednesday, Turkey's Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu accused Armenia of enabling a "terrorist attack" on Azerbaijan one day earlier after a skirmish between troops on both sides.