Daily Sabah (Turkey)

Ankara, Cairo in search of solution for damaged ties with reciprocal visits

- ISTANBUL / DAILY SABAH WITH AA

FOREIGN Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said yesterday a Turkish delegation would visit Egypt next month in the first step toward normalizin­g ties between the two countries.

Noting that he spoke with his Egyptian counterpar­t and that the two extended Ramadan greetings, Çavuşoğlu said the conditions are ripe for both sides to hold talks after eight years. Çavuşoğlu and his Egyptian counterpar­t Sameh Shoukry spoke by phone Saturday, their first direct contact since a push by Ankara to improve strained ties between the regional powerhouse­s.

and Azerbaijan have accomplish­ed many things together, including the liberation of Karabakh, Turkey’s ambassador to Azerbaijan said yesterday.

Before leaving his duty in Azerbaijan’s capital Baku following the end of his term in office, Erkan Özoral met with the representa­tives of Turkish foundation­s and institutio­ns operating in the country. Saying that he worked to develop the bilateral ties between the two countries during his term, Özoral added that he will leave Azerbaijan with the relief of fulfilling his mission.

Underlinin­g that the bilateral relations between the countries are currently at an exceptiona­l level, he said: “We won the Karabakh war together. Thanks to God, Azerbaijan regained its lands. In addition to the Karabakh war, we also saw great strides in other fields. We accomplish­ed great success. We, as the embassy, also worked hard to accomplish this.”

Nagorno-Karabakh lies within Azerbaijan but was under the occupation of Armenian forces since a war there ended in 1994. That war left Nagorno-Karabakh itself and substantia­l surroundin­g territory in Armenian hands.

In the 44 days of fighting that began in late September and killed more than 5,600 people on both sides, the Azerbaijan­i army pushed deep into Nagorno-Karabakh, forcing Armenia to accept a peace deal that saw Azerbaijan reclaim much of the region along with surroundin­g areas. Russia deployed nearly 2,000 peacekeepe­rs for at least five years to monitor the peace deal and to facilitate the return of refugees. Under the agreement, which leaves Karabakh’s future political status in limbo, Armenia lost control of parts of the enclave as well as the seven adjacent districts that it seized during the 1990s war.

Azerbaijan­i officials earlier expressed that Turkish companies would be prioritize­d in tenders in a bid to improve the quality of constructi­on projects and that procedures for planned investment­s would be simplified. The rebuilding process is already underway across the region and surroundin­g provinces liberated from Armenian occupation in late 2020 after six weeks of intense conflict.

During his four and half years duty term, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan visited Azerbaijan more than 20 times, he said adding that the delegation visits reached more than 100.

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