Azerbaijani president Haidar Aliev completed on 9 May a five-day visit to Turkey that turned sour after the signing of a promising agreement on "strategic partnership". (See Monitor, May 7) In several statements in Ankara and Izmir, Aliev described Turkey’s position on the Karabakh conflict as inadequately supportive of Azerbaijan; regretted Ankara’s refusal to introduce a mutual assistance clause in the military cooperation agreement signed at the beginning of the visit; criticized Turkish foreign minister Tansu Ciller for agreeing to reopen limited air communications with Armenia and negotiating the reopening of one border-crossing point; and expressed "indignation" over growing Turkish-Armenian trade despite the Azeri-Armenian conflict. Reproaching Turkish business for neglecting Azerbaijan while investing massively in Central Asia’s Turkic states, Aliev submitted proposals amounting to $11 billion worth of Turkish investments in Azerbaijan. Aliev also accused unnamed Turkish individuals, including politicians, of involvement in the two abortive coups in Azerbaijan in 1995, and accused the Turkish authorities of protecting those individuals. Departing, Aliev described Azerbaijan as "the bleeding wound of the Turkish world" because of the conflict over Karabakh and asked Turkey to refrain from any contact with Armenia pending the "liberation of Azerbaijani lands." (Turan, Western agencies, May 8-9)
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