ADDS MORE REMARKS OF TURKEY'S FOREIGN MINISTER
By Behlul Cetinkaya and Nazli Yuzbasioglu
ABU DHABI (AA) - Turkey has appointed Serdar Kilic, former ambassador to the US, as special envoy to discuss steps for normalization of ties with Armenia, the Turkish foreign minister said on Wednesday.
Speaking to reporters in the United Arab Emirates, Mevlut Cavusoglu said positive statements for the normalization of relations were recently made from both sides, adding that there is a need to take confidence-building measures.
"We consult with Azerbaijan on every issue and take such steps ... Nobody should question whether we can act independently or separately from Azerbaijan. We are one nation, two states. These are positive things that will benefit us all," Cavusoglu said.
Kilic's appointment has been made with the approval of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Turkish foreign minister said.
Cavusoglu also stated that Turkish and Armenian airlines have applied to operate flights between Istanbul and Yerevan.
"These (applications) are evaluated by the Transport Ministry and the General Directorate of Civil Aviation. In principle, we approach it positively," he added.
He said that Turkey wants to see peace, stability, economic development and joint projects in the region.
Relations between the former Soviet republics of Azerbaijan and Armenia have been tense since 1991, when the Armenian military occupied Nagorno-Karabakh, also known as Upper Karabakh, a territory internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan, and seven adjacent regions.
New clashes erupted on Sept. 27, 2020, and during the six-week war, Azerbaijan retook several cities and 300 settlements and villages.
The conflict ended in November 2020 in a Russia-brokered deal that saw Armenia cede swathes of territory it had occupied for decades.
In January, the leaders of the three countries agreed to develop economic ties and infrastructure for the benefit of the entire Caucasus region.
- Turkish president’s planned visit to UAE
Cavusoglu said Erdogan's visit to the UAE is planned to take place on Feb. 14-15, adding that they are planning to organize a Turkey national day event at Expo 2020 in Dubai on Feb. 15.
Noting that the relations between Turkey and the UAE have not been at the desired level in recent years, Cavusoglu said there has been a will to normalize relations recently.
Speaking about his meetings in UAE, Cavusoglu said he had "very productive" talks during his visit and discussed issues related to economic cooperation, especially investment and trade.
"There are agreements that we will sign in the upcoming period, we discussed issues such as a comprehensive trade agreement related to land transportation," he added.
Cavusoglu said that during his meeting with the Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, bilateral relations and regional issues were discussed, including Libya and Iran's return to the nuclear deal.
He said that the normalization of ties between Qatar and four Arab countries have had an impact in the entire region. "This softening has also had a positive effect on our relations with the region. We want to continue that," the Turkish minister added.
*Writing by Jeyhun Aliyev from Ankara.