By Ayya Lmahamad
Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev has said that Armenia should be interested in normalizing relations with Turkey and Azerbaijan.
He made the remarks in an interview with Turkey's Anadolu Agency on September 27.
“Armenia should, first of all, be interested in normalizing relations with Turkey, as well as Azerbaijan, it should determine its borders with Turkey and Azerbaijan, delimitation and demarcation must be carried out. They should be more interested in this than we because there are no borders without this,” the president said.
He confirmed that the Zangazur corridor is a condition for Armenia to start the normalization of ties, as this is stipulated in the trilateral statement signed on November 10.
Speaking about the normalization of Armenian-Turkish relations, Aliyev noted that Azerbaijan is interested in peace in the entire region. He noted that the 3+3 platform could be the best way for the normalization of relations. However, the president added that Armenia has not yet agreed to this.
“While opposing this, Armenia declares that it wants the normalization of relations with Turkey. If you are interested in a normalization, you should, first of all, respond to this proposal positively,” he stated.
Aliyev added that another condition for the normalization of ties is that Armenia should abandon its territorial claim against Turkey that is stipulated in their constitution.
“They should abandon that. They need to revise and re-adopt their constitution,” the president added.
Relations with Turkey
Speaking about the future of relations between Turkey and Azerbaijan, the president noted that in recent years, bilateral relations reached the highest peak.
“I repeatedly said that there is no such cooperation, friendship and brotherhood elsewhere in the world. … I believe that to have built a palace of such wonderful relations on such a solid historical and cultural basis is our special achievement - both of the distinguished President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and mine,” Aliyev said.
He noted that the signing of the Shusha Declaration raised bilateral relations to an even higher level.
“In fact, by signing the Shusha Declaration, we raised our de facto relations to the de jure level or the level of the alliance. We already had allied relations in every area but we formalized them, and this is a clear direction for our further activities,” he stated.
Touching upon the issue of the statement made in the Armenian media that the process of free arming Armenia had started again, the president dismissed it as inaccurate.
“On learning about this, we immediately sent an inquiry to the Russian side and asked what it meant. We were told that this statement in the Armenian media did not reflect reality. In other words, the Russian defence minister did not say such words,” he said.
Aliyev described this as yet another act of Armenian propaganda, as nothing of the kind was said.
"We received a rather detailed answer from the Russian side in connection with the further free arming of the Armenian army and removed this issue from the agenda," he said
Relations with Russia
Aliyev stressed that during the years of occupation and afterward, the Armenian lobby operating in Armenia and Russia constantly tried to do everything possible to create a crack in Russian-Azerbaijani relations.
“They believe that in this case some revanchist forces may once again raise their head and start a new war against us. But they are wrong. First, Russian-Azerbaijani relations are at a fairly high level. We openly discuss all issues - at the level of presidents, defence and foreign ministers. We immediately come into contact regarding any issues of concern to one of the parties and solve problems. I can say that there is no topic related to the solution of some pressing issues in Russian-Azerbaijani relations today because these relations are quite positive. Such attempts by the Armenian propaganda will not bring them any success,” the president stressed.
Speaking about the trucks sent from Iran to Armenia and Khankandi recently, Aliyev stated that this is not the first time that Iranian trucks have entered the Karabakh region.
The president noted that the trucks kept traveling there even after the war.
Aliyev stated that first the presidential administration was instructed to speak to the Iranian ambassador to resolve the issue in a friendly way.
“But what happened after that? They tried to attach Armenian license plates to Iranian trucks. They committed this falsification in an attempt to deceive us. An extremely incompetent step was taken – a tank truck with a Persian sign but an Armenian license plate. I should also note that they attached the same license plates to several cars,” the president stated.
Aliyev underlined that under such circumstances, a diplomatic note in an official manner was handed to the ambassador.
He stated that despite this, about 60 trucks from Iran illegally entered Karabakh from August 11 to September 11. He added that afterward Azerbaijani checkpoints were installed.
“The first time, we gave a verbal warning, the second time we handed in an official note, and the third time we installed checkpoints – customs, border, police. Thus, we began to control the road leading to Armenia through the territory of Azerbaijan, after which the entry of trucks into Karabakh was stopped,” the president emphasized.
Speaking about the military exercises held recently near the Azerbaijani border with Iran, the president described it as "very surprising" as there has been no such event over the past 30 years.
“Why now? Why exactly on our border? These questions are being asked by the Azerbaijani public, not me. Azerbaijanis of the world are asking about this. They are also asking why no exercises were carried out in this region during the years of occupation? Why weren’t any exercises held when the Armenians were in Jabrayil, Zangilan and Fuzuli? Why are they being held after we have liberated our lands and put an end to 30 years of bondage and occupation? These are legitimate questions,” the president said.
Aliyev said that Azerbaijan does not wish to see a single fact that would undermine long-term cooperation in the region.
"I want to say again that Azerbaijan is acting very responsibly and with restraint here too. We do hope that the emotional reaction to our legitimate steps is probably temporary," he added.
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