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Sky is limit for Turkey-Azerbaijan relations: Envoy

The relations between Azerbaijan and Turkey are based on cordial, friendly, very practical and positive strategic ties, Azerbaijan’s ambassador to Turkey told Anadolu Agency in an exclusive interview.

"Sky is the limit for Turkey-Azerbaijan relations," Khazar Ibrahim said, recalling that relations between the two countries were based the principle of "one nation, two state" coined by former Azerbaijani President Haydar Aliyev.

Speaking on ending visa requirement for Turkish citizens, Ibrahim said that as of Sept. 1, visa requirements would be lifted for Turkish citizens visiting Azerbaijan for up to 30 days.

He said Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Azerbaijani counterpart Ilham Aliyev recently spoke on the matter, adding that Azerbaijan's embassy in Ankara had "presented an official note verbale" to Turkey's Foreign Ministry on Thursday.

"That goes in line with the general relations between two brotherly nations," Ibrahim said.

He underlined that the decision to lift visas was made through political will, noting that he believed the motion will have a "very strong impact" on Turkish citizens' travel to Azerbaijan.

Ibrahim stressed that even before the move there had always been a "big inflow" of Turkish citizens to Azerbaijan for many reasons, including travel, family affairs and business.

On the reason behind the long-awaited visa lifting, Ibrahim said: "Positively surprising our brothers is always good."

Underlining visa requirements were matters to be considered within bureaucracies and would be decided "from the top" on the basis of practicality and national interests, he noted that such decisions rare in the history of Azerbaijan since its independence from the U.S.S.R. in 1991.

"So, that's why this is a big decision, and this decision is taken, and that will have a big boost for bilateral relations," he said, denying claims visas were previously required in relation to Turkish citizens of Armenian origin.

"I don't think that we should look for the black cat in the dark room, because, there is no black room, and there is no black cat, actually," he said.

"Travel freely, travel as easy as possible"

Ibrahim stressed that both countries always aimed to increase travel between them. 

"We will never be satisfied with the numbers, both ways," he said, adding that the goal was to have "brotherly" nations.

"Travel freely, travel as easy as possible," he said.

He also stressed that sometimes there was a "huge exaggeration" of visa requirements.

Ibrahim highlighted that besides visa regulations, there were many other things which affected travel, including rising flight numbers, railway connections, road quality, general economic circumstances and tourism opportunities for the two countries' citizens.

"Sometimes, it is psychological barriers," he said, noting that some may not be aware all the rules regarding travel policies, and start "bureaucratic panicking".

Latest developments on Upper Karabakh conflict

Ibrahim underlined that little progress had been made towards a resolution of the Karabakh conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia. 

"We had expectations from the new Armenian leadership. We don't see it going as well as we have expected," he said.

Stressing that "expectations are failing", Ibrahim said Baku did not believe that "potential is exhausted".

He underlined that the same "tactics" which have been played out by the previous Armenian administrations were currently being repeated.

Nevertheless, diplomatic efforts continue, he added.

"We believe that the [OSCE] Minsk Group co-chairs should be more active in pursuing the country which is indeed breaking international law and occupying illegally the territories of Azerbaijan to come in terms not only with its neighbors but also with international law."

The Minsk group -- co-chaired by France, Russia and the U.S. -- was formed to find a peaceful solution to the conflict.

He also asserted that it was impossible to live in these kind of circumstances in the 21st century.

"You cannot just grab the lands of your neighbor and run away, especially the neighbor, who can easily take it back," Ibrahim said.

Karabakh -- a disputed territory between Azerbaijan and Armenia -- broke away from Azerbaijan in 1991 with military support from neighboring Armenia, and a peace process has yet to be implemented.

Three UN Security Council resolutions and two UN General Assembly resolutions refer to Karabakh as being part of Azerbaijan, and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe refers to the region as being occupied by Armenian forces.

The Armenian occupation of Karabakh led to the closing of the frontier with Turkey, which sides with Baku in the dispute.

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