EU envoy says Turkey takes “tactical step backwards” on Armenia thaw

Turkey has taken a “tactical step backwards” on normalizing relations with Armenia because of fierce domestic reaction to the move, the EU’s envoy to the region told Reuters in an interview published on June 17. “A step back was taken by the Turkish side … but this is not a U-turn,” EU South Caucasus envoy Peter Semneby said in the interview conducted at the end of a visit to Moscow last week. We expect the conversations will continue,” Semneby said. Turkish officials, however, have said Turkey will not open its border with Armenia before the neighboring country ends its occupation of Nagorno-Karabakh, reassuring Azeri leaders that Ankara’s efforts to reconcile with Yerevan would not undermine the country’s interests.

While there are parallel negotiating tracks, it is regarded as unlikely that agreement can be reached on normalization of bilateral relations and opening the border without sequential or simultaneous movement on the Nagorno-Karabakh issue. 

Source: Hurriyet Daily

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