Turkey´s Relations with Southern Caucasus Countries

Main aspects of Turkey’s Southern Caucasus policy are strengthening the independence and sovereignty of the countries of the region and supporting their integration efforts with Euro-Atlantic structures, while preserving and enhancing regional cooperation and political and economic stability. Turkey has deep-rooted historical and cultural ties with Southern Caucasus, which serves as a bridge linking Turkey to the Central Asia.

Following the dissolution of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), Turkey was among the first countries to recognize the independence of Azerbaijan, Armenia and Georgia. Turkey has developed good relations with Azerbaijan and Georgia in the following years. However, a similar momentum could not be reached in Turkish-Armenian relations due to the occupation of Nagorno-Karabakh by Armenia and Armenia’s negative attitude towards Turkey. Following Armenia’s occupation of Kalbajar region of Azerbaijan in 1993, the border between the two countries was closed.

Within 27 years of their independence, Turkey’s relations with Azerbaijan and Georgia have enhanced rapidly and reached its current high level. As a manifestation of our close relations with Azerbaijan and Georgia, High Level Strategic Cooperation Council (HLSC) mechanisms were established and mutual high level visits take place regularly. Furthermore, together with Azerbaijan, with the participation of other countries in the region, trilateral and quadrilateral cooperation mechanisms were established

In line with Turkey’s aim of establishing a common area of prosperity in South Caucasus region, Turkey attaches importance to regional cooperation and development projects as well. For this purpose, the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan Crude Oil Pipeline and Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum Natural Gas Pipeline, Baku-Tbilisi-Kars (BTK) Railway and Trans-Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline (TANAP) became operational.

With the aim of establishing peace and stability in Southern Caucasus, Turkey supports the resolution of the conflicts in the region (Nagorno-Karabakh, Abkhazia and South Ossetia) through peaceful means within the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Azerbaijan and Georgia.

In this regard, Turkey also preserves its will for normalization of relations with Armenia. However, the process was interrupted firstly by Armenia’s suspension of Zurich Protocols, then withdrawal of the Protocols from the Parliament in February 2015 and declaration of the Protocols as null and void in March 2018.