Turkey’s Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan threw his country’s support to Azerbaijan’s almost eight-month blockade of Artsakh, saying that the Lachin Corridor is Azerbaijan’s territory.
“Lachin road is Azerbaijan’s territory. Therefore, Azerbaijan takes whatever measures it deems necessary. Taking (such steps) is also one of its greatest sovereign rights,” Hakan said during a joint press conference in Ankara with his Azerbaijani counterpart Jeyhun Bayramov on Monday.
“Medical transports are taking place. Other routes, which are suitable for large-scale cargo transport, have also been provided. When we look at all these evaluations, we think that there is no justification for criticizing Azerbaijan on this issue,” Fidan added, presumably referring to Azerbaijan’s latest scheme of offering a road from Aghdam — completely bypassing Armenia— as a way to transport humanitarian assistance to Artsakh.
A renewed wave of appeals by the European Union, the United States, Russia and other countries to Azerbaijan to immediately lift the blockade have been ignored.
Fidan said that it is “extremely important” that the peace talks between Azerbaijan and Armenia come to a conclusion. He added that agreements between Armenia and Azerbaijan should be signed soon, adding: “This represents a great opportunity for other countries in the region.”
Fidan also discussed the Azerbaijani scheme of opening a corridor through Armenia for access to Nakhichevan, commonly referred to as the “Zangezur Corridor.” He said that opening such a road is “vital.”
“The road to regional stability is through a comprehensive peace agreement. For this, the opening of the ‘Zangezur corridor’ is of great importance,” Fidan said.
Bayramov took the opportunity to blame and threaten Armenia once again, saying Yerevan’s policies vis-a-vis Artsakh pose “serious threats to regional peace and security.”
“Armenia’s failure to withdraw its military units (from Karabakh) in breach of its obligations, its obstruction of the opening of the Zangezur corridor with various excuses, its intention to interfere in Azerbaijan’s internal affairs under the guise of protecting the rights of Armenian residents in Karabakh… are among the most serious threats to peace and security in the region,” Bayramov told the press conference.
Saying that he discussed the Armenia-Azerbaijan normalization process with Fidan, Bayramov said that Baku’s and Ankara’s position are “based on international norms and principles.”
Baku’s policies, he asserted, combined with Azerbaijan and Turkey’s views and steps on the future of the region would ensure the safety and prosperity, the Azerbaijani foreign minister added.
The positions of Azerbaijan and Turkey on normalization with Armenia are “obvious,” he said, adding that such a process should not be held hostage by Yerevan’s “occupation policy” and “occupation of Azerbaijani territory for many years.”
Bayramov also emphasized that strengthening relations between Turkey, Azerbaijan and Israel could become a stepping stone for advancing global opportunities.