Armenia ready to build direct relations with Turkey without preconditions: New PM Pashinyan
“I have already said many times that we are ready to establish direct relationships with Turkey without any precondition,” Pashinyan told reporters at the prime ministry building on Dec. 10, according to Turkey’s state-run Anadolu Agency.
“We hope Turkey will take the same stance,” Pashinyan was quoted by Armenian news agency Armenpress as saying.
“The problem is that unfortunately relationship with Turkey has been connected with the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict,” Pashinyan added.
“It is a very strange situation when the relations between two countries can be so strongly connected with a third country, […] I mean Azerbaijan,” he said.
A mountainous part of Azerbaijan, Nagorno-Karabakh is run by ethnic Armenians who declared independence from Baku during a conflict that broke out as the Soviet Union crumbled in 1991. The conflict led to the closing of the frontier with Turkey, which sides with Baku in the drawn-out dispute.
Political ties between Ankara and Yerevan remain frozen owing to the Karabakh conflict as well as the legacy of the mass killings of Armenians during the First World War, which the Armenian diaspora and government describe as genocide – a description which Turkey refutes.
On Dec. 10, Armenia’s election commission said that Pashinyan’s My Step Alliance garnered 70.4 percent of the votes at the snap parliamentary elections.
In April, Pashinyan, who is a former journalist, led mass protests against the ruling Republican Party, which brought daily life in Yerevan to a standstill and forced former Prime Minister Serzh Sargsyan to resign.
Pashinyan, who became the nation’s acting prime minister in May, had resigned in October to open a way for snap elections in a bid to gain the majority in parliament.