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The visit to Ankara earlier this week by Vasif Talybov, chairman of the Naxcivan Autonomous Republic parliament, provided senior Turkish officials with an opportunity to hit back at Armenia in retaliation for Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian's April 22 announcement that the process of ratification of the two Turkish-Armenian protocols signed last October would be suspended.

The Azerbaijani online daily zerkalo.az cited a press release circulated following Talybov's talks on April 28 with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has consistently taken a far tougher line over Armenia than has President Abdullah Gul.

According to that press release, "the Naxcivan Autonomous Republic is an exclave surrounded by the several countries. The Naxcivan autonomous formation is exposed to various threats from the side of the Armenian state. For that reason, military cooperation between Turkey and Azerbaijan and the Naxcivan AR is one of the chief components of our relations."

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu similarly stated following his talks with Talybov that the security of Naxcivan is one of Turkey's foreign policy priorities. He noted that the Treaty of Kars signed in October 1921 obliges Turkey to protect Naxcivan in the event of a military threat to the exclave emanating from any other state.

A second Azerbaijani daily, echo-az.com, construed Davutoglu's statement as a warning to Armenia that even if the two protocols on normalizing relations between Armenia and Turkey are eventually ratified by both sides, they will not supercede or negate Turkey's obligations to Naxcivan under the Treaty of Kars.

Talybov also met during his visit with the chief of General Staff of Turkey's armed forces, General Ilker Basbug.

About This Blog

This blog presents analyst Liz Fuller's personal take on events in the region, following on from her work in the "RFE/RL Caucasus Report." It also aims, to borrow a metaphor from Tom de Waal, to act as a smoke detector, focusing attention on potential conflict situations and crises throughout the region. The views are the author's own and do not represent those of RFE/RL.

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