Turkish, Armenian envoys to meet in January for normalization: Çavuşoğlu
The special envoys of Turkey and Armenia will hold their first meeting in Moscow in January for normalizing ties between the two neighboring countries, the Turkish foreign minister has said, urging the Armenian diaspora not to spoil the process.
Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, in a televised interview late Dec. 30, informed that the talks between Turkey’s special envoy, Serdar Kılıç, and Armenia’s special envoy, Ruben Rubenyan, will meet in January in the Russian capital. Çavuşoğlu said the exact date has not been agreed on. Çavuşoğlu described Rubenyan as a good-intended person with good knowledge of Turkey.
“When we look at the steps taken by Armenia, we can say that there is a positive outlook. This should be a permanent one. There are no prejudices. But it is also a fact that we cannot be on the same page on certain issues,” Çavuşoğlu said.
The first meeting will be held in a third country and this will be Russia with whom Turkey’s relations are also good, the foreign minister said, informing that the special envoys will discuss how to proceed with the normalization of ties.
Turkey had recognized Armenia in the early 1990s but did not establish diplomatic ties after Yerevan occupied Azerbaijani territories in Nagorno-Karabakh. The normalization process suggests the establishment of diplomatic ties, opening the sealed borders and starting economic, trade and transportation projects between the two nations.
As part of confidence-building measures Turkey will resume the charter flights to Yerevan while Armenia decided to lift an embargo on Turkish goods. “A decision was made not to extend the embargo on the import of Turkish goods into the country,” the Armenian economy ministry said. The embargo was imposed after Turkey’s strong backing of Azerbaijan in the six-week long war with Armenia that ended with the liberation of the occupied Azeri territories.
On a question about the reaction of the Armenian diaspora toward the normalization efforts, Çavuşoğlu said there are some groups within the diaspora that pursue anti-Turkey policies. “As of now, we have not seen any country using the diaspora in that fashion. To the contrary, the United States and some European countries are backing this process,” he said.
Turkey, UAE may agree on land transportation
On ties with the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Çavuşoğlu said the two nations have developed a joint understanding for improving the ties following a difficult period. “The UAE has proposed a land transportation deal. We found it favorable,” he said, adding this should also include Iran because it will link Turkey and the UAE.
Recalling that President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan will visit Abu Dhabi in February, Çavuşoğlu said the agreement can be signed during this visit.