Erdogan skips peace talks between Azerbaijan, Armenia in Spain

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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan cancelled a day trip to Spain, where leaders of Azerbaijan and Armenia are expected to hold peace talks after Baku successfully took control of the contested Nagorno-Karabakh region.

Erdogan will no longer attend a meeting of the European Political Community on Thursday, according to people familiar with the matter, citing the president’s busy schedule ahead of his ruling party’s convention on Saturday.

The Presidency declined to comment.

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Azeri President Ilham Aliyev, a close ally of Erdogan, is due to meet Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan at the event in Granada. They will seek ways to make peace after the Azerbaijani military’s lightning attack last month effectively ended the 35-year conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh. About 100,000 Armenians have since fled the territory to Armenia.

Azerbaijan and Turkey are now pushing for a transport corridor across southern Armenia to link the Azeri exclave of Naxcivan, which borders Turkey, with Baku to develop a new trade route.

Erdogan’s planned address to his lawmakers in parliament on Wednesday is also cancelled, said the people, who spoke on condition of anonymity. The president has been working to restructure his AK party’s boards before the election of new members during Saturday’s convention, they said.

Erdogan, who has made significant changes to his cabinet since winning elections in May, is now looking ahead to local polls on March 31.

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Azerbaijan says it does not want exodus of ethnic Armenians from Nagorno-Karabakh

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