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Erdogan woos Armenia with regional cooperation proposal

A transport corridor for Azerbaijan via Armenian territory — a plan that has stoked Turkey’s strategic ambitions in the region — remains on paper a year on, but that’s not the only obstacle to normalization between the three neighbors.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan attends a ceremony at Anitkabir, the mausoleum of Turkish Republic's Founder Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, during the 83rd anniversary of his death, in Ankara on Nov. 10, 2021.
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A year after the Azerbaijani-Armenian war over Nagorno-Karabakh, Turkey is extending an olive branch to Armenia, drawing on the self-confidence it has attained from the outcome of the conflict. During an Oct. 26 visit to Fuzuli, an area that Azerbaijan recaptured in the war, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan stressed “no obstacles will remain for Turkey’s normalization with Armenia if Armenia displays a sincere will [to resolve its problems] with Azerbaijan.” Defense Minister Hulusi Akar, who attended Azerbaijani celebrations on the first anniversary of the armistice Nov. 9, called on Armenia “to seize upon the opportunity” offered by the peace gestures of the Turkish and Azerbaijani leaders.

Turkey’s military support, including armed drones and expertise, helped Azerbaijan prevail in the 44-day war, which ended on Nov. 9, 2020, with a cease-fire deal brokered by Russia. Though Azerbaijan recovered an array of territories under Armenian occupation since the early 1990s, critical issues such as the final status of Nagorno-Karabakh, border demarcation, the return of refugees and war prisoners were left unresolved. Crucially, a plan for the reopening of transport links in the region, outlined in the deal, remains shrouded in uncertainty.

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