by Zulfugar Agayev
The Baku Today Writer
Gul, who arrived at Baku in an official visit on Jan. 9, said Russia should not worry about this cooperation, as Russia itself joins some NATO programs.
The Turkish foreign minister added that NATO’s improving relationship with the former Soviet countries, particularly with those of the Caucasus region, should not worry Iran either, “as NATO is not an alliance directed against Iran.”
The Foreign Minister met with high government officials in Baku, including his counterpart Vilayet Guliyev and the President Ilham Aliyev, and upon his first visit to Azerbaijan.
Gul said he discussed with the Azerbaijani Foreign Minister, and also with other high officials, the ways to solve the problems, including that of Nagorno(Daghlig)-Karabakh, that troubles both friendly countries.
He stressed that though his government favors finding a peaceful solution to the 15-year-long conflict over Azerbaijan’s mainly ethnic-Armenian populated region of Nagorno(Daghlig)-Karabakh, “it will be hard to solve the problem peacefully as long as [Armenia’s] occupation continues.”
Gul noted that there have been no recent changes in Turkey’s relationship with Armenia.
“But we are open to any negotiations,” he said, adding that meeting and talking would only serve for the benefit of both sides.
Turkey has no diplomatic relationship with Armenia, and the borders between the two countries are officially closed off. Ankara demands the authorities in Yerevan withdraw its troops from the territory of Azerbaijan in return for establishing of diplomatic relations with Armenia and opening the borders.
Guliyev of Azerbaijan, said it was agreed during his meeting with Gul to step up Turkey’s role in the piece process over Nagorno(Daghlig)-Karabakh.