Foreign minister says that both countries were prepared to take “concrete steps” towards normalization
Armenia is ready to establish diplomatic relations with Turkey and to open the borders, Armenian Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan said.
While Turkey recognized Armenia in the early 1990s, the two countries never established diplomatic relations. In 1993, following the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the Nagorno-Karabakh region, Baku-supporting Turkey unilaterally closed its borders with Armenia.
In an interview with the Turkish Anadolu news agency, which was published on Tuesday, Mirzoyan reiterated that his country’s political will was “to achieve full normalization of relations with Turkey and open the era of peaceful and sustainable development in the region.” He confirmed that the negotiations between the two countries were ongoing and “positive.”
The minister spoke to Anadolu on the margins of the Antalya Diplomatic forum, and his participation in the conference marked the first visit of a high-level Armenian official to Turkey in a decade.
“Armenia is ready to establish diplomatic relations and to the opening of the borders with Turkey. I was glad to hear from my Turkish counterpart [Mevlut Cavusoglu] that there is a political will on their side to lead the process to that end as well,” the foreign minister said.
He added that “amid a rapidly developing situation in the world” the sides “should not hesitate to take concrete steps.”
Among such “concrete steps,” he named the resumption earlier this year of direct flights between Armenia’s capital, Yerevan, and Turkey’s biggest city, Istanbul.
“Opening of the borders will have its positive impact on the connectivity, trade and economic relations between the two countries, people to people contacts and the overall stability in the region,” Mirzoyan underlined.
Admitting that, in both countries, there are “certain groups” which “are skeptical about the normalization process, the foreign minister said that in general the Armenians support it.
Cavusoglu had earlier characterized his March 12 meeting with Mirzoyan as “very productive and constructive.”
“We are making efforts for stability and peace,” the Turkish foreign minister told the reporters.
Relations between the two countries have been adversarial for more than a century, with Ankara never admitting to the 1915 genocide of Armenians carried out by the Ottoman Empire. In Yerevan’s conflict with Baku over the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh, which re-escalated in 2020, Turkey was actively supporting Azerbaijan, despite Armenia’s calls on it to stay away.
Nevertheless, the last few months have seen some improvement in bilateral relations between Armenia and Turkey.