Turkey-Azerbaijan Meeting Keeps Nabucco Alive

Turkey-Azerbaijan Meeting Keeps Nabucco Alive

Turkey continues to work along different tracks in its strategy to become the "gas hub" of Europe, as demonstrated by the official visit to Ankara of Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov in late December. Mammadyarov's visit should set to rest speculation about Turkey's waning political support for the Nabucco pipeline, as well as Ankara's supposed reorientation toward Russia.

Mammadyarov was received in Ankara by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and President Abdullah Gul before meeting behind closed doors with his Turkish counterpart, Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu. Although the details of the talks have not been disclosed, the enthusiastic declarations of friendship that followed are an indication of renewed cooperation between Turkey and Azerbaijan, the country that first promised its large reserves to the Nabucco project.

Given the particular context in which the meeting was held, this result was far from obvious. The two countries enjoy a history of alliance and solidarity, catalyzed by common ethnic and cultural roots. But relations between them had reached a nadir over the preceding months, following Turkey's rapprochement with Armenia. Azerbaijan has been locked in conflict with Armenia since 1998 over the fate of the separatist Azerbaijani province of Nagorno-Karabakh. During that time, Turkey has been Baku's main supporter, even conditioning normalizing its own relations with Armenia on a resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

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