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Turkey Warns Deal With Armenia Could Fall Through

Ahmet Davutoglu, foreign minister of Turkey
LONDON (Reuters) -- Efforts to reconcile Turkey and Armenia and open their common border could fail unless the process is carried out "properly," Turkey's foreign minister said today.

"If we are not convinced that the process is being carried out properly, there is no possibility to carry it forward," Ahmet Davutoglu told Turkish journalists in London.

Davutoglu's warning is the strongest response yet from Turkey to an Armenian court ruling this month that has cast doubt over accords signed in October.

The Constitutional Court reaffirmed the Armenian government's obligation to seek recognition of the World War I mass killings of Armenians by Ottoman Turks as genocide -- a term vehemently rejected by Turkey.

Turkey has accused Armenia of trying to rewrite the protocols that launched the reconciliation three months ago.

The opening of the Turkish-Armenian border has been seen as a way to increase stability in the South Caucasus, an area crisscrossed by oil and gas pipelines.

Reaching a deal with Armenia would also help to support Turkey's flagging EU membership bid.

The peace efforts, which have been supported by the European Union, the United States, and Russia, are also in danger of deadlock due to a simmering territorial conflict in the Caucasus that has pitted Armenia against Turkish ally Azerbaijan.

Turkey closed its border with Armenia in 1993 in solidarity with Azerbaijan during the height of the Nagorno-Karabakh war, which saw ethnic Armenians clash with Azeris over the disputed territory in violence that killed some 30,000.