Türkİye

Türkiye supports 'immediate' opening of strategic Zangezur corridor

Ankara supports dialogue between Azerbaijan and Armenia, says Turkish foreign minister

Faruk Zorlu and Burak Dag   | 27.06.2022
Türkiye supports 'immediate' opening of strategic Zangezur corridor

ANKARA

Türkiye supports dialogue to thaw relations between Azerbaijan and Armenia and the immediate opening of the Zangezur corridor, the Turkish foreign minister said Monday.

In a joint press conference with his Azerbaijani and Kazakh counterparts, Mevlut Cavusoglu said: "We strongly support the Zangezur corridor, which will provide a connection between the western regions of Azerbaijan and Nakhchivan," an exclave of Azerbaijani territory currently reachable only through Armenia.

Earlier on Monday, a trilateral meeting was held between the ministers of foreign affairs and transport in Azerbaijan's capital Baku.

"We are expecting the opening of the corridor immediately," Cavusoglu said, adding that this development will have a positive impact on the region.

Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev said in late May that Baku agreed with Yerevan on the opening of the Zangezur corridor, including the construction of both railways and highways.

Following the completion of the railway, Azerbaijan will be able to reach Iran, Armenia and Nakhchivan. The railway will also link Türkiye with Russia through Azerbaijan.

Armenia and Azerbaijan fought a 44-day war in September 2020 over Nagorno-Karabakh, a territory internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan, and seven adjacent regions.

The war, which ended with a Russia-brokered peace deal, saw Azerbaijan liberate several cities and over 300 settlements and villages that were occupied by Armenia for almost 30 years.

Russia-Ukraine war

Referring to the grain supply shortage caused by the Russia-Ukraine war, Cavusoglu said supported by the UN, Türkiye is making all-out efforts to solve the issue.

"We have seen once again in this crisis how important sustainable and safe transportation lines are," he said.

Ukraine is among the leading exporters of grain in the world, however, Russia's continued blockade of Ukraine's Black Sea ports has created a global food shortage.

Türkiye has been pushing Ukraine and Russia to reach a deal to resolve the issue with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov visiting Ankara last week.

Underlining that Türkiye made "significant investments" to increase its national and regional capacity, Cavusoglu highlighted the importance of the projects such as the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway, the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline and TANAP pipeline, which were earlier put into operation in the region.

The Turkish foreign minister added that the tripartite meeting will also contribute to the work of the Organization of Turkic States, a regional body.

"We are once again demonstrating our common will for the spread of peace and prosperity in our region and the transformation of the Turkic world into a more integrated structure in the future," he said.

For his part, Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Jeyhun Bayramov said: "During the talks, we focused on the development of the Trans-Caspian Corridor and the current freight traffic accordingly."

"If particular attention is paid to current issues, ways can be found to expand our transport and communications cooperation to eliminate obstacles," he said.

Bayramov stated that the new realities that emerged after the liberation of Azerbaijani lands from the Armenian occupation were also on the agenda of the meeting.

"The Zangezur corridor plays a special role in establishing a route to the European Union, Türkiye and Asia," he said.

Moreover, Kazakhstan’s Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Mukhtar Tileuberdi said: "Our goal is to further strengthen the relations between our countries."

Baku declaration signed by Türkiye, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan

Following the tripartite meeting, the foreign ministers signed the Baku Declaration.

At the top huddle, participants discussed ways to develop the potential of the Trans-Caspian East-West Middle Corridor Initiative.

Also called the Middle Corridor, the network of railways and roads starts in Türkiye and covers Georgia, Azerbaijan, the Caspian Sea and Central Asia to reach China, making it an important effort to revive the ancient Silk Road.

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