Turkey and Georgia aim to establish peace and stability in the South Caucasus region, Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said on Thursday.
Speaking at a joint press conference with his Georgian counterpart Ilia Darchiashvili in Istanbul, Çavuşoğlu said: “We are determined to continue our bilateral relations and regional cooperation in the international arena with Georgia, a friendly partner, neighbor and strategic, deepening our relationship”.
Çavuşoğlu also said that Turkey continues its efforts for the Caucasus 3+2 platform.
Ankara has frequently called for a six-nation platform, the 3+3 format, including Turkey, Russia, Iran, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Armenia for permanent peace, stability and cooperation. in the region, describing it as a win-win initiative. for all regional players in the Caucasus.
Turkey believes that permanent peace is possible through mutual security-based cooperation between the states and peoples of the South Caucasus region.
However, Georgia had told Daily Sabah that it would not participate in such a format due to Russia’s presence.
Diplomatic relations between Russia and Georgia, which aspires to join the European Union and NATO, collapsed after Moscow occupied two of the latter’s territories in a dispute and recognized the independence of Ossetia South and Abkhazia, where Russian troops are now garrisoned. Most of the world, however, continue to consider them part of Georgia.
“Turkey is one of the leading countries firmly supporting the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia. We want the conflicts in South Ossetia and Abkhazia to be resolved by peaceful means and the territorial integrity of Georgia,” Çavuşoğlu stressed, adding that Ankara also supports Tbilisi’s Euro-Atlantic integration.
Çavuşoğlu also congratulated Georgia for bringing together the foreign ministers of Azerbaijan and Armenia in Tbilisi.
The foreign ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan this month held their first face-to-face talks since the 2020 war between sworn enemies for control of the Karabakh region.
Held in Tbilisi, the Georgian capital, the talks were to build on an agreement reached by the leaders of the Caucasus countries under the mediation of the European Union in May to “advance the discussions” on a future peace treaty.
Relations between the former Soviet republics of Armenia and Azerbaijan have been strained since 1991, when the Armenian army occupied Karabakh, formerly called Nagorno-Karabakh, a territory internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan, and seven regions adjacent.
Clashes erupted on September 27, 2020, with the Armenian military attacking Azerbaijani civilians and forces and violating several humanitarian ceasefire agreements.
During the 44-day conflict, Azerbaijan liberated several towns and around 300 settlements and villages that had been occupied by Armenia for nearly 30 years.
The fighting ended with a Russian-brokered deal on November 10, 2020, which was seen as a victory for Azerbaijan and a defeat for Armenia.
On another note, Çavuşoğlu also announced that the foreign, transport and energy ministers of Turkey, Azerbaijan and Uzbekistan will meet in Tashkent on August 2.
“The purpose of these meetings is as follows; recently, it seems difficult or even impossible to bring products from Asia and Central Asia to European markets via Russia, in particular because of the war with Ukraine. Therefore, the importance of the middle corridor and the position of Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey are increasing,” explained the head of Turkish diplomacy.
“We would like to include Georgia in such meetings in the coming period. We have to work together on logistics and energy. It is important in terms of the economic development and stability of our region, important in terms of international markets and extremely critical in making our region an energy base,” he added.
Furthermore, he announced that President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is also planning to visit Georgia after the Foreign Minister’s own visit to the country for preparations for the third high-level strategic cooperation council.