Armenian deputy warns against "internationalization" of issues in South Caucasus
Garo Paylan, deputy for the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) and a member of the Armenian community in Turkey, said that the "internationalization" of the issues in South Caucasus may make the situation more complicated, and that "Turkey is the key country for achieving peace."
Commenting on the peace process between Armenia and Azerbaijan following recent clashes between the two countries that had begun in early August, Paylan told a press conference on Friday at the Turkish Grand National Assembly (TBMM):
"We are faced with a problem of the solution being internationalized. There are big players in the region like Russia and Iran. The Speaker of the US Congress Nancy Pelosi visited the region after the recent clashes started. More recently, Nikol Pashinyan [Armenian Prime Minister], Ilham Aliyev [Azerbaijani President] and Vladimir Putin [Russian President] met for talks in Sochi. The Caucasus has once more turned into a chess board of great powers (...) It is more difficult to solve the issues when so many great powers are making moves in that region after their own interests."
"We should not let the issue be internationalized, and there is a key for that (...) The key actor is Turkey. Turkey is the key country for achieving peace in South Caucasus. While the others are able to protect their interests through conflicts, Turkey can benefit only through peace, and it will be not only Turkey's gain, but a mutual gain for Azerbaijan and Armenia as well. I call upon all political actors in Turkey, including the administration and the president: Let's help these two fighting brother countries make peace."
He added that the opposition and a part of the people in Armenia had concerns and prejudices regarding the peace process, fueled by Azerbaijan's "maximalist demands" and Turkey's "reluctance in taking steps" for a solution.
Paylan also stressed that the opening of the Turkish-Armenian border will be of great benefit not only for Armenia, but for Turkey as well.
"I'm making a call on the mayors, governors, deputies and other officials of Turkey's eastern provinces. Let your statements be heard by everyone. Tell them that the opening of the border will change the fate of Kars, Igdir, Ardahan, Van and Diyarbakır, even of Trabzon and Rize by means of sea ports. Why are cities like Kars and Igdir so poor? Because the Armenian border is closed. Once it is opened, all the people in the region will benefit."