During Key West Talks
For the Resolution of the Karabakh Conflict
Turkey Dissatisfied With Azerbaijan's Karabakh Policy
Source: BBC Monitoring Service - United Kingdom, May 23, 2001
Turkey has taken umbrage at the fact that Azerbaijan has stopped insisting on Ankara's key role in settling the Karabakh conflict and the way Baku has allowed the OSCE Minsk Group mediators to play up the importance of Iran as the key regional player which must be kept informed about the settlement process. The Turkish media is now saying that the successor of Azerbaijani President Heydar Aliyev should be sought in the ranks of the opposition and opposition Musavat Party leader Isa Gambar was received at a very high level during his recent trip to Turkey. The following is text of Rauf Mirgadirov report by Azerbaijani newspaper Zerkalo on 23 May entitled "Turkey is dissatisfied with Azerbaijan"
Now with Baku's position on the Karabakh settlement
Zerkalo has learnt from Turkish diplomatic sources that Ankara is dissatisfied with the course of talks on settlement of the Karabakh conflict. We have also learnt that following the OSCE Minsk Group cochairmen's visit to Baku, the Turkish Foreign Ministry secretly told the Azerbaijani leadership about its dissatisfaction with the fact that during the mediators' visit, Azerbaijan did nothing to prevent attempts to isolate Ankara from settlement of the Karabakh conflict, which is the regional problem.
We should recall that until recently official Baku repeatedly spoke of the need to involve Turkey almost as a mediator in the settlement process. Azerbaijan even suggested electing Turkey as one of the OSCE Minsk Group cochairmen, as a counterbalance to Russia, Armenia's strategic partner.
Besides, account was also taken of the fact that a final settlement of the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict is impossible without the involvement of Turkey as a regional power.
For a long time official Baku pursued the tactics of coordinating with Ankara all its actions to resolve the conflict. However, at the present - to use the words of the mediators - decisive stage of the talks, the Azerbaijani leadership has abandoned these previous tactics.
The first and very serious "alarm bell" for Ankara rang when Baku, despite Turkey's negative reaction, accepted French President Jacques Chirac's mediation, just after the French parliament recognized the "Armenian genocide".
The mediators compounded things further in Key West. They said that they would inform the leadership of Iran, which is vying with Turkey for the status of regional leader, about the course of the talks.
Zerkalo has learnt from the same sources that the unexpected visit of a high-ranking Turkish Foreign Ministry official to Baku just before the mediators' visit to the conflict zone had been Ankara's final attempt to persuade the Azerbaijani leadership of the need for a coordinated policy on this issue. We should recall that Azerbaijani President Heydar Aliyev received and listened to the Turkish official even though it was his day off. However, this official seemingly could not persuade the Azerbaijani leadership, i.e. could not carry out his mission.
The result is clear. Turkish Minister of State Abdulhaluk Cay has strongly criticized Azerbaijan's policy in Turkish media outlets. Ankara welcomed one of the Azerbaijani opposition leaders - Musavat Party Chairman Isa Gambar - at almost the top level. Turkish media outlets are full of articles saying that Aliyev's successor should be sought in the ranks of the opposition.
After their visit to Baku, the mediators struck another tangible blow against Turkey's positions in the region. On behalf of his colleagues the Russian cochairman of the OSCE Minsk Group said that Iran was a "major regional power and a real settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh problem was unlikely to be achieved without taking into account its interests".
It is obvious that Russia and, maybe, France is behind the mediators' attempt to reduce Turkey's influence on regional processes. This undoubtedly was destined to provoke Ankara's irritation...[ellipses as published]
Source: Zerkalo, Baku, in Russian 23 May 01, p1
/BBC Monitoring/ © BBC.
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