TODAY.AZ / Politics

Mark Katz: Turkey is in better position to solve Karabakh conflict than the OSCE Minsk group

10 December 2009 [13:07] - TODAY.AZ
Interview with professor of Government and Politics in George Mason University Mark N. Katz. The interview focuses on the latest meeting of U.S. President Barack Obama and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
According to the Press, Obama and Erdogan did discuss the Nabucco project. What are the perspectives of this project? What, in your opinion, the U.S. can do to support the project?

I think that the important thing that the Obama Administration can do is to point out to Ankara how Nabucco is very much in Turkey's interest:  having Nabucco running through Turkey will position Turkey to be the main export route for Iranian gas to Europe when Iranian-Western relations finally become normalized.  And one day, they will.
Turkish PM was quite unsatisfied with the OSCE Minsk group's efforts to resolve the Karabakh problem, and urged the group to show more will in this important matter. What, in your opinion,  the OSCE Minsk group could truly do to boost the Karabakh process?

The Minsk group is neither willing nor able to force Azeraijan and Armenia to reach a settlement, therefore all they can do is try to persuade them to do so through offering sweeteners to both sides to get them to agree.  Ironically, Turkey may be in a better position to do this than the Minsk group.

Judging from Erdogan's words, Turkey is ready to become a mediator in the Iran-U.S. relations. What, in your opinion, Ankara can do to help the negotiations between Tehran and Washington?

I really don't think that Turkey can serve as a moderator or mediator in US-Iranian relations. If either Washington or Tehran (or both) does not want to improve relations, Ankara will be unable to persuade them to do so.  But if Washington and Tehran both want to improve relations, they will not need Turkey to faciliate this process.

T. Teymur

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