Cooperation between Azerbaijan and Turkey do not “pose a threat” to other countries, Azerbaijan’s deputy president told Anadolu Agency in an exclusive interview.
Ali Hasanov said Armenia is “threatening its own people” with its continued seizure of the Karabakh region as well as its “baseless” claims regarding the events of 1915 against Turkey.
Azerbaijan and Armenia remain in dispute over the occupied Karabakh region. Karabakh broke away from Azerbaijan in 1991 with Armenian military support, and a peace process has yet to be implemented.
“If Armenia wants peace, if it wants to participate in the national and international undertakings of Turkey and Azerbaijan, it is free to do so,” he said, adding that Armenia would have to leave the areas under its occupation.
Three UN Security Council resolutions (853, 874 and 884) and UN General Assembly resolutions 19/13 and 57/298 refer to Karabakh as being part of Azerbaijan.
Turkey and Armenia remain in dispute over deaths of Armenians in eastern Anatolia in 1915.
Ankara says that some Armenians sided with invading Russians and revolted against Ottoman forces. A subsequent relocation of Armenians resulted in numerous casualties.
Turkey denies the alleged Armenian “genocide” of 1915, but acknowledges that there were casualties on both sides during the events during World War I.
Ankara has repeatedly proposed the creation of a joint commission of historians from Turkey and Armenia plus international experts to tackle the issue.
Speaking about trade ties, Hasanov underlined that commercial-economic cooperation between Azerbaijan and Turkey had yet to reach its full potential.
“Trade between Azerbaijan and Turkey must increase and the Turkish people must respond to their potential,” he said.
Stressing the maxim “two states, one people”, Hasanov noted that Baku and Ankara sought cooperation on various large projects, including a recent oil refinery constructed by an affiliate of Azerbaijan’s state oil company SOCAR in Izmir
He highlighted that Azerbaijan wanted to open businesses and “bring prosperity” in Turkey, saying that Turkey has always stood with Azerbaijan on economic, political, security and other matters.