ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News with wires
Azerbaijan said Tuesday it did not expect Turkey to re-open its border with Armenia until the conflict over the breakaway Nagorno-Karabakh region is resolved.
Ankara and Yerevan announced Monday they had agreed on a plan to establish diplomatic relations and re-open their border, which Ankara closed in solidarity with Azerbaijan after 20 percent of its territory was invaded by Armenia – a frozen conflict legacy of the Soviet Union known as Nagorno-Karabakh.
But Azerbaijani foreign ministry spokesman Elkhan Polukhov told AFP that Baku was confident Ankara would not agree to open the border without a deal on Nagorno-Karabakh.
"Azerbaijan's position is based on numerous statements from high-ranking officials in Turkey on the question of opening the Armenian-Turkish border," he said.
"Opening the border without the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict would contradict the interests of Azerbaijan," he said.
Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu reiterated Tuesday in an interview with broadcaster NTV that Ankara would safeguard Baku’s interests while setting up ties with Armenia and could re-open the border if the Nagorno-Karabakh dispute is resolved soon.