Yerevan must desist from provoking its neighbour and adhere to previous commitments between the two Caucasian nations, says Türkiye’s president.
After his visit to the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit in Samarkand, Uzbekistan, Türkiye's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan travelling to US to attend the 77th session of the UN General Assembly spoke to journalists onboard the presidential aircraft about his interaction with different world leaders.
Here are the key takeaways from his conversation.
No reason for the conflict to escalate
Erdogan said Ankara aims to secure peace and long-term stability in the Caucasus when asked to comment on the recent flare up in tensions between Armenia and Azerbaijan.
Speaking about his interaction with his Azerbaijani counterpart, Ilham Aliyev, Erdogan said Baku has achieved its goal of securing the territory and indicated he didn’t see any reason for the situation on the ground to get any worse.
Erdogan pointed out that Azerbaijan had responded to Armenian aggression and asked Armenia to resolve the conflict as per the deal, which ended the 2020 conflict over the Karabakh region.
The two Caucasian neighbours fought a bloody war in Karabakh in which more than 6,000 were killed. Azerbaijan took back the villages and communities from decades-long Armenian occupation.
“Regarding Karabakh, it is important that all regional countries give unconditional and strong support to Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity,” Erdogan said.
Grain and fertilizers
Both Russia and Ukraine are major grain producers including wheat and cereals. World Food Programme (WFP) has warned that a prolonged conflict can hamper food shipments and drive up prices when many countries around the world are reeling under the impact of high inflation.
Türkiye has played a crucial role in ensuring grain exports from Ukraine by offering a safe corridor for cargo ships via the Black Sea.
However, fertilizer exports from Russia have been held back due to international sanctions. Russia is the world’s largest exporter of fertilizer, which is used by farmers around the world to grow crops.
Erdogan said his officials are interacting with ministers of other countries to find a way out of the situation.
Akkuyu nuclear plant dispute resolved
Türkiye and Russia have resolved a dispute over a Turkish contractor which is part of the Akkuyu Nuclear Power Plant project, Erdogan said.
Rosatom, the Russian state-run nuclear power developer, cancelled a contract with IC Ictas, a Turkish construction company, recently over some unspecified contractual dispute.
"The two sides have reached an agreement and we hope the first unit of the nuclear power plant will become operational in 2023," Erdogan said.
Akkuyu, Türkiye's first nuclear power plant, is being built in the southern province of Mersin on the Mediterranean coast.
When finished, its four units would have a combined capacity to generate 4,800 megawatts of electricity.
The project aims to ease the burden on Türkiye's balance of payments as the country spends billions of dollars every year on the import of gas to produce electricity.
And that famous picture
Out of the many news stories which came out of Samarkand in recent days, one picture stood out. In the photo Erdogan can be seen sitting at the head of a table, with Russian President Putin and other leaders listening to him carefully.
Erdogan revealed President Ilham was supposed to be in that seat but he left it for him instead as everyone else spoke Russian and Erdogan had to rely on a translator to converse.
“It was a good moment,” Erdogan said, “everyone enjoyed the conversation.”