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Nagorno-Karabakh issue ‘second priority’ on Putin-Erdogan agenda – Turkish analyst

Dr. Hasan OKTAY


Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s upcoming meeting with President Vladimir Putin of Russia will address, among other things, the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and energy projects, but these issues will be second priorities on the two leaders’ agenda, according to an Ankara-based analyst and scholar.

In an interview with Tert.am, Associate Professor Hasan Oktay, who also heads the Caucasus Strategic Research Center, said he expects the talks to focus more on bilateral cooperation issues.

He also addressed the Armenia-Turkey relations, and the stall in the process after the annulment of the 2009 Zurich protocols. In his words, the closed interstate border can open only in case of Russia’s active role-playing.

“The opening of the Armenian-Turkish borders can be discussed only through Russia’s mediation. If Turkish-Russian relations were bad, Russia would not have acted as a mediator between Turkey and Armenia. If the interstate borders had opened in such a situation, Russia would have lost its predominant role in the Caucasus,” he said.

Mr Oktay cited the unresolved Nagorno-Karabakh conflict as “the only problem” complicating the processes in the region.

“The collaboration processes that occur in the Middle East between Russia and Turkey can be a model for the solution of problems in the Caucasus. The solution of the Nagorno-Karabakh problem should be the first step. If this problem is settled, other problems in the region will be easier to solve. The ongoing dialogue within the frameworks of the Sochi process can motivate Russia, Turkey and Iran on cooperation in the Caucasus. Russia, Turkey and Iran are important actors in the Caucasus,” the Turkish scholar added.

http://www.tert.am/en/news/2018/03/26/hasan-oktay/2646732

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