Armenia, Turkey to appoint envoys to mend relations

Armenia, Turkey to appoint envoys to mend relations
The countries' relationship is strained by WWI-era mass killings in the Ottoman Empire and Turkeys recent support for Azerbaijan.
2 min read
14 December, 2021
This comes after Turkish FM Mevlut Cavusoglu announced Turkey will nominate special representatives for normalisation with Armenia [Getty]

Armenia said Tuesday it will appoint a special envoy on mending ties with arch-foe Turkey, a day after a similar announcement from Ankara.

Armenia and Turkey have never established formal diplomatic ties and their shared border has been closed since the 1990s.

Their relationship is strained by WWI-era mass killings of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire, atrocities Yerevan insists amount to a genocide.

The relationship deteriorated more recently over Turkey's support for Armenia's Caucasus neighbour Azerbaijan, which fought a brief but brutal war with Yerevan last year for control of the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region.

"Armenia has always been and remains ready for the process of normalisation of relations with Turkey, without preconditions," Armenian foreign ministry spokesman Vahan Hunanyan said on Facebook.

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"We assess positively the statement of the foreign minister of Turkey on the appointment of a special representative for the normalisation of relations, and confirm that the Armenian side also will appoint a special representative for dialogue."

On Monday, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu announced: "We will respectively nominate with Armenia special representatives for normalisation."

"We will also start Yerevan-Istanbul charter flights in the coming period," he told parliament in Ankara.

"With dear Azerbaijan, we are making diplomatic efforts for building regional peace and prosperity in the Caucasus," he added.

Last autumn, Armenia and Ankara's Turkic-speaking ally Azerbaijan fought a six-week war over Nagorno-Karabakh, which claimed some 6,500 lives.

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Russia brokered a ceasefire that saw Yerevan cede swathes of territory it had controlled for decades.

Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev are due to meet Tuesday afternoon in Brussels for talks hosted by the European Council President Charles Michel.

On November 26, Russian President Vladimir Putin gathered the leaders for negotiations on easing post-war tensions.

Armenia and Turkey in 2009 signed an agreement to normalise relations, which would have led to the opening up of their shared border.

But Yerevan never ratified the agreement and in 2018 ditched the process.