EU High Representative and Vice President of the European Commission Federica Mogherini has called on Turkey and Armenia to normalize its relations without any preconditions. "The EU has also reiterated its commitment to support the normalization of relations between Armenia and Turkey and our encouragement to both sides to engage in this process without preconditions," said Mogherini on May 23 at a press conference following the 17th meeting of the EU-Armenia Cooperation Council in Brussels.
Mogherini also underlined that the status quo in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is unsustainable and the problem needs an early political settlement in accordance with international law. "The European Union continues to fully support the mediation efforts and proposals of the OSCE [Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe] Minsk Group Co-Chairs," she added.
The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict has become one of the most tragic conflicts in the history of the 20th century and affected the lives of millions. During the military campaign of 1992 and 1993, Armenia occupied 20 percent of Azerbaijan's territory. During this period, Armenian forces committed grave human rights violations against local Azerbaijani populations in invaded territories. The most notable was the Khojaly Massacre, in which 613 Azerbaijanis were murdered. More than 700,000 Azerbaijanis have been displaced due to the conflict.
With the escalation of the armed conflict in 1993, the U.N. Security Council decided to adopt four resolutions on the issue. Armenia has ignored these resolutions that call for the withdrawal of Armenian forces from Nagorno-Karabakh.
Even though Turkey was one of the first countries to recognize Armenia's independence in 1991, Turkey cut diplomatic ties in 1993 after Armenia's invasion of Azeri territories. The Turkish-Armenian normalization process of 2009 neither succeeded nor spurred a breakthrough in the Karabakh peace process.
Turkey maintains its willingness to normalize relations with Armenia. However, it believes that in the absence of any improvement in Armenian-Azerbaijani relations, any progress in the Turkish-Armenian normalization process alone would be insufficient and not lasting or sustainable.