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Turkey rebukes Armenia for land claim

Armenia “should know the limits of its capacity,” Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu warned Yerevan yesterday, referring to territorial claims recently made by the country’s prosecutor general, as he paid a one-day visit to neighboring Azerbaijan at a critical time.
Foreign Minister Davutoğlu (R) gets a briefing from a Turkish soldier in front of a map showing an Ottoman campaign in Baku’s Martyrs Square. AA photo
The foreign minister called on “those who dare to take a pebble from Turkey” to know their limits, according to remarks reported by Anadolu Agency. “Apart from offering such a thing, it is out of question to think about it,” he said.

The prosecutor general of Armenia, Aghvan Hovsepyan, recently said Armenia should re-obtain its lost territories as the 100th anniversary of the 1915 killings at the hands of the Ottomans approaches. The Turkish Foreign Ministry had expressed fury at Hovsepyan’s declaration that the border between Turkey and Armenia has never been legally established and that lost Armenian land should be returned to Armenia.

Davutoğlu said the statements made by the Armenian officials over the issue were the product of “delirium,” arguing that possible peace in the Caucasus would only be possible when all parties knew their limits and boundaries. “I invite all to common sense. The territorial integrity of Turkey and Azerbaijan is pivotal for us,” he said.

Davutoğlu paid a one-day visit to Baku yesterday to hold discussions with Azerbaijani officials. According to Azerbaijan media reports, Elmar Mammadyarov, Azerbaijan’s foreign minister, gave information to his Turkish counterpart about a July 12 Vienna meeting with the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs, which is trying to solve the Nagorno-Karabakh issue. He emphasized that Azerbaijan supports the idea of holding a meeting between the Azerbaijani and Armenian presidents over the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

Anadolu Agency also published a photo showing Davutoğlu being briefed by a Turkish military attaché over the Caucasus Battle. The battle consisted of armed conflicts between the Ottoman Empire and the Russian Empire in 1918 during World War I. The land warfare was accompanied by Russian naval activity in the Black Sea region of the Ottoman Empire.

The visit also came as the Turkish and Azerbaijani armies launched joint military exercises on July 12 that will run in Baku and Nakhchivan until July 28. The land forces of the two countries will be involved in the war games; an infantry division will be involved in the Baku exercises, while a mechanized infantry division will take part in the exercises in Nakhchivan. In the region, Russia and Iran are also planning to conduct a joint naval exercise in the Caspian Sea in the second half of 2013.

Davutoğlu’s visit coincides with a project to carry gas from Azerbaijan through Turkey and Greece to Europe as part of the Trans-Adriatic-Pipeline (TAP), which was officially confirmed last month.

Hurriyet Daily News

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