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Turkey extends hand, but no apology, to Armenia

Turkey is making a fresh move to normalize ties with Armenia as the clock ticks down to the 100th anniversary of the Armenian genocide in 2015.
A mosque and the city waterfront are reflected in a new building in the Azeri capital Baku, September 8, 2012. Rising tension between Armenia and Azerbaijan could unleash a new war over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region that spreads beyond the countries borders and has global significance, the breakaway republic leader said. Picture taken September 8, 2012.  To match AZERBAIJAN-ARMENIA/CONFLICT      REUTERS/David Mdzinarishvili (AZERBAIJAN - Tags: POLITICS CITYSPACE RELIGION TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY) - RTR3

Turkey’s plan to normalize ties with Armenia, the most critical part of its “zero problems with neighbors” policy, went to the dustbin after Ankara made a surprise U-turn for the sake of Azeri gas. Bilateral relations had been severed in 1994 over the Nagorno-Karabakh war and the Armenian occupation of 20% of Azeri territory.

Following two years of secret talks, Turkey and Armenia signed two protocols aimed at normalizing ties in Zurich on Oct. 10, 2009, attended by the US and Russian foreign ministers. Even though the protocols made no reference to Nagorno-Karabakh, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan put forward a condition that Armenia should take a step toward resolving the conflict. In Armenia, meanwhile, the Constitutional Court approved the protocols with reservations before sending them to parliament for ratification. Turkey protested that the court’s reasoning went “against the spirit of the protocols.” Finally, Armenian President Serzh Sarkisyan announced Armenia was suspending the ratification process on the grounds that Turkey was putting conditions on it.

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