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Vahe Sarukhanyan

Turkish Political Analyst - Armenians Must Symbolically Withdraw from Parts of Karabakh

Turkey wants to see positive signs before border is opened At a seminar held today in Yerevan of Armenian journalists and representatives of Turkish educational and civil structures, Behlul Ozkan, an instructor of foreign relations at Istanbul’s Bogazici University, stated that there would be no progress in Armenian-Turkish relations without positive developments on the Karabakh front. "One must understand, he said, that Armenian-Turkish relations cannot be independently viewed from Armenian-Azerbaijani relations, because Baku is an ally of Turkey in the south Caucasus." He added that there were millions of people in Turkey who viewed Azerbaijan as a related nation and had quite friendly feelings towards it. "According to the opinion of Turkey, if Armenia wants to see the border opened, then certain positive developments must be registered on the Karabakh matter," Ozkan stated. He added that most officials in Turkey realize that the Karabakh issue cannot be resolved overnight and that the Armenian forces will not totally withdraw from Karabakh. However, he said that Armenian forces should symbolically withdraw from some of the surrounding territories. The status-quo, in his opinion is hurting Armenia and Turkey. Ozkan noted that 85% of Armenia’s borders are closed and this presents a real challenge to the country’s development. He added that Turkey also suffers because it cannot influence matters since relations between the two countries do not exist. The political analyst argued that today Turkey was facing Azerbaijan, with 10 million people, and Armenia, with 2.5 million, and that in this equation, Turkey opts for siding with Baku. Ozkan went on to say that while Turks and Armenians are close geographically and culturally, there are giant barriers that still must be scaled between the two peoples. He said that one would be hard pressed to find two other nations that have fought so much over the centuries.