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Azerbaijan, Turkey officials send messages of brotherhood

To alleviate the tensions between Azerbaijan and Turkey over the so-called flag crisis, which erupted a week ago, Istanbul Ayd?n University and the Consulate General of Azerbaijan in Istanbul held a conference on Thursday at the university to discuss a solution to the Nagorno-Karabakh dispute, an ethnic-territorial conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia, to point out Turkey's interest in securing the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region within Azerbaijan's territorial borders.

A wide range of participants from many walks of political and academic life from both Turkey and Azerbaijan attended the conference to discuss the history of Nagorno-Karabakh and offer constructive solutions to the problem.

In the opening speech at the conference said that the aim of such events is to create unity and support between the two countries. Taking the floor, Azerbaijan's Istanbul Consul General Seyyad Aran said Nagorno-Karabakh is not only Azerbaijan's problem, but Turkey's as well. "In this respect, Turkey should expend its efforts on the solution of the problem," said Aran. The chairman of Ayd?n University's board of trustees, Mustafa Ayd?n, said in his speech that it is not appropriate to deepen the crisis, which was a result of misunderstandings between Turkey and Azerbaijan.

Speaking during the first session of the conference, Justice and Development Party (AK Party) Konya deputy Mustafa Kabakc? said there may be small misunderstandings and conflicts between two countries but they should not become permanent problems. "There needs to be definite, concrete actions and steps taken to expand security and trust in the region. We have discussed these protocols [on the normalization of relations and the establishment of diplomatic ties between Turkey and Armenia] with the parliament speaker and the prime minister. We have decided not to approve the protocols if there is no development noted in the Nagorno-Karabakh issue," he said.

Republican People's Party (CHP) Deputy Chairman Onur Oymen said they have done their best to promote peace and security in the South Caucasus. "The region is not safe today. We saw wars in Georgia last year, and the Nagorno-Karabakh issue is too fragile, there might be wars in the region again," he said.

Criticizing the AK Party government over the protocols signed with Armenia, Oymen said the protocols and the normalization of relations with Armenia is the project of David Phillips, a senior analyst at the Atlantic Council think tank in the United States. He also said the protocols do not include either a resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh as a condition for opening the border between Turkey and Armenia or the Kars Treaty, an agreement between the Ottomans and Soviet Russia in 1921 demarcating Turkey's eastern borders with Russia. "If we come to power, we will tear these protocols (apart)," Oymen stated.

The president of Istanbul Ayd?n University, Salih Celikkale; the head of the Azerbaijan Academy of Sciences History Institute, Yagub Mahmudov; the deputy general director of the Turkey State Archives, Mustafa Budak; and the director of the Turkish Center for International Relations and Strategic Analysis (TURKSAM), Sinan Ogan, were also among the participants of the one-day conference.

Organizers of the conference gave plaques and gifts to conference participants in thanks for their contribution. More than 1,000 people attended the event.

Todays Zaman
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