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Armenian-Turkish “row” at NATO session or why Cavusoglu decided to become a diplomat

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Issues of Armenian-Turkish relations and Turkey’s role in conflicts were raised at the 62nd NATO Parliamentary Assembly Session held in Istanbul November 18-25. The Q&A periods turned into heated debates at times and was described in Turkish media as “row” between Armenian and Turkish politicians.

The head of the Armenian delegation Koryun Nahapetyan asked about the closed border with Armenia and Turkey’s role in the Karabakh conflict after Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu’s report on the concept of “zero problems with neighbors.”

“Trapped in an awkward situation, the Turkish FM tried to make some baseless accusations against Armenia and Armenians. He even referred to the issue of Genocide although we had never raised the question,” Nahapetyan said.

The head of the Armenian delegation said he would not describe the debate as a “row,” but added that “Cavusoglu definitely got nervous.” The Turkish Foreign Minister even recalled the reasons behind his decision to become a diplomat.

“He recalled ASALA, the fact that Turkish diplomats were affected by the organization’s activity. Cavusoglu said he became a diplomat ignoring his mother’s objections,” Koryun Nahapetyan said.

During the plenary sitting the Armenian delegates had an opportunity to address questions to NATO Secretary General. Asked about NATO’s possible role in the opening of the Armenian-Turkish border, Jens Stoltenberg said “it is an issue of the two countries and NATO can play no role here.”

Referring to the Karabakh conflict, the Secretary General said the organization’s stance on the issue had not changed. “NATO is in no way involved in the settlement of the conflict and welcomes the negotiation process under way within the framework of the OSCE Minsk Group.”

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