Turkey offers Armenia to take part in regional transportation project

Turkey has proposed that Armenia take part in its comprehensive regional transportation project linking Europe to Asia, if there are concrete developments in solving Nagorno-Karabakh dispute, the Hurriyet Daily News reports.

“We are trying to activate the OSCE Minsk Group for the solution of the Nagorno-Karabakh dispute. We introduced the Integrated Transportation Corridors Project to the Minsk Group in November 2012. This project is to be implemented in peace time and particularly after there are concrete developments in the Nagorno Karabakh issue,” Turkish diplomatic sources told the Hurriyet Daily News recently. “We are proposing full normalization of ties between Turkey-Armenia and Armenia-Azerbaijan.”

The Hurriyet Daily News reminds that Turkey’s recent move to reconcile with Armenia was nixed due to strong Azeri reaction in 2010, which caused suspension of the ratification of two key protocols for establishing diplomatic relations and opening the sealed borders.

Turkey has introduced its Integrated Transportation Corridors Project to the Minsk Group on Nov. 8, 2012 during a meeting in Vienna attended by three co-chair countries, France, Russia and the United States. “It has received a positive response from all Minsk Group countries,” sources told the Daily News. “We have made clear to them this project is aiming at creating a peace perspective to the benefit of all relevant parties.”

The proposed transportation project has two phases. On the one hand it is focused on linking Turkey, Armenia, Azerbaijan and Russia through fixing unused railways and building new ones.

Along with the Kars-Tbilisi-Baku railway project that is expected to be concluded by the end of this year, the Turkey-Armenia railway may be re-opened after just a minor rehabilitation. Parallel to the railway, a new modern highway is also being considered to further increase trade and human traffic between the two countries.

The source says Azerbaijan has been informed about the content of the project by Turkey. Armenia has so far remained cool to Turkey’s project, and has not conveyed an official reaction through the Minsk Group.

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