Turkey, Armenia to appoint envoys in bid to normalize ties: FM
Turkey and Armenia will appoint special representatives to discuss steps in a bid to normalize their ties, Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said on Dec. 13.
Speaking at the parliament during a budget debate, the minister also said charter flights between Istanbul and Yerevan would restart soon.
“We have consulted with Azerbaijan. Soon, we will mutually appoint special representatives with Armenia for the steps toward normalization, and we will act together with Azerbaijan at every step,” he told lawmakers.
He did not provide further details about the steps to normalize ties but told the parliament that Turkey and Azerbaijan were now engaged in “intense diplomatic” efforts to bring peace and prosperity to the Caucasus region.
A day after the statement by Ankara, a spokesperson for the Armenian Foreign Ministry on Dec. 14 said they would appoint a special representative to normalize relations with Turkey.
According to Public Radio of Armenia, spokesperson Vahan Hunanyan said, “In this regard, we positively assess the statement of the Turkish Foreign Minister on the appointment of a special representative for the normalization of relations and confirm that the Armenian side will appoint a special representative for this dialogue.”
Armenia is ready for the normalization of relations with Turkey without preconditions, Hunanyan added.
Ankara and Yerevan have no diplomatic ties, and Turkey shut down their common border in 1993 in a show of solidarity with Azerbaijan, which was locked in a conflict with Armenia over the Nagorno-Karabakh region.
In 2009, Ankara and Yerevan signed “Zurich Protocols” to establish diplomatic relations and reopen their joint border, but Turkey later said it could not ratify the deal until Armenia withdrew from Nagorno-Karabakh.
Last year, Turkey strongly backed Azerbaijan in the six-week conflict with Armenia over Nagorno-Karabakh, which ended with a Russia-brokered peace deal that saw Azerbaijan gain control of a significant part of Nagorno-Karabakh.
Turkey and Armenia have more than a century-old hostility over the deaths of an estimated Armenians in 1915 events in Turkey, which Yerevan identified as “genocide” but Turkey vehemently rejects the labeling saying that the deaths resulted from civil unrest.
Turkey continues engagement with Taliban
Like the rest of the world, Ankara has initiated a gradual engagement with the Taliban and continues to do so, Çavuşoğlu said, adding, “Thanks to this engagement, 45 schools and training centers of our Maarif Foundation are now open and active. A total of 10 of them are girls’ schools. We keep our schools open in Afghanistan so that girls can go to school.”
“Our business people are starting their activities in the same way; a delegation from MUSIAD is in Afghanistan today,” he added.
Turkey has the political will to advance its relations with the EU on the basis of a full membership perspective with a positive agenda, but the bloc is unable to demonstrate a similar will due to the blocking of some members, he stated.
“We have restarted our high-level dialogue with France. We want to continue to work with Germany with the same understanding as the newly formed government. On the other hand, we will also make an effort to solve the problems with the United States,” he added.
Çavuşoğlu visits UAE
Meanwhile, Çavuşoğlu visits the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for a two-day trip amid mutual steps to restore ties with the Gulf country.
“At the meetings to be held with the UAE authorities during the visit, various dimensions of our bilateral relations will be discussed and views will be exchanged on regional and international issues,” the Foreign Ministry said in a written statement.
In his speech at the parliament, Çavuşoğlu said it was the UAE that harmed ties with Ankara, but now they want to mend relations.
“Did we have a problem with the UAE? No. They messed up relations with us and now they want to fix it, “ the minister said, noting that Ankara is now working to mend ties with the Gulf country. “Only we took the decision to break relations with Egypt, we accept this and you know the reasons,” he added.