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Turkey-Armenia: first “constructive” normalization talks


Turkey and Armenia have started talks to normalize their historically conflicted relations. Negotiations are continuing and a next meeting should be scheduled soon with, already, on the horizon, charter flights between Yerevan and Istanbul from February 2.

Turkey and Armenia welcomed Friday “positive” and “constructive” discussions, after a first meeting in Moscow between their special envoys to normalize historically tense relations. The envoys, Turkey’s Serdar Kiliç and Armenia’s Rouben Roubinian, “exchanged their preliminary views on the normalization process (…) in a positive and constructive atmosphere”, the foreign ministries in Ankara and Yerevan said. , in press releases identical to the word.

“The two parties have agreed to continue negotiations without preconditions with a view to normalizing” their relations, added the ministries, indicating that the date and place of the next meeting would be chosen later. However, no concrete measures were announced at the end of these first discussions, which lasted an hour and a half and are part of a thaw between Ankara and Yerevan.

A heavy past

Relations between these two countries, whose common border has been closed since 1993, are undermined by several disputes, in particular over the massacres of Armenians under the Ottoman Empire during the First World War. Many historians qualify these killings as genocide, recognized as such by the governments or parliaments of many countries. The number of Armenians who have died is estimated at 600,000 to 1.5 million.

But Turkey, resulting from the dismantling of the Ottoman Empire, rejects this term and evokes a civil war, coupled with a famine, in which 300,000 to 500,000 Armenians and as many Turks perished. Relations between Ankara and Yerevan have also suffered from the war which pitted Azerbaijan against Armenia in 2020 for control of the separatist region of Nagorny-Karabakh, a conflict during which Turkey supported Azerbaijan.

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Towards an appeasement

But after years of tension, Ankara and Yerevan have multiplied gestures of appeasement in recent weeks. Armenia announced last month the end of its embargo on Turkish products. In addition, charter flights between Yerevan and Istanbul will start on February 2.

In 2009, Turkey and Armenia had already signed an agreement aimed at normalizing their relations. Supposed to lead to the opening of their common border, the document was never ratified by Yerevan, which abandoned the procedure in 2018.

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