Turkish, Armenian envoys to hold 2nd meeting on Feb 24

Turkish, Armenian envoys to hold 2nd meeting on Feb 24

Turkish, Armenian envoys to hold 2nd meeting on Feb 24

The second meeting of envoys from Turkey and Armenia for the normalization of ties is set for Feb. 24 in Vienna, the Foreign Ministry said on Feb. 3.

“The next meeting of the Special Representatives of Turkey and Armenia in the Turkey-Armenia normalization process, [between] Ambassador Serdar Kilic and Deputy Speaker of the Armenian Parliament Ruben Rubinyan, will take place on Feb. 24 in Vienna,” said the statement.

Armenia and Turkey have no diplomatic relations. In December 2021, the two countries appointed special envoys to normalize relations.

The envoys held their first meeting in Moscow on Jan. 14 for the normalization of bilateral ties through the establishment of diplomatic relations and opening sealed borders. Both sides have described the first encounter as positive and productive and stated their agreement for the continuation of the dialogue.

In parallel to these talks, Turkey and Armenia resumed the mutual charter flights between Istanbul and Yerevan on Feb. 2.

Armenia also lifted an embargo on Turkish goods in early January as part of the mutual gestures.

Amid these rapprochement efforts, Turkey invited Armenian officials to this year’s Antalya Diplomacy Forum between March 11-13 in Turkey’s southern province of Antalya.

The two neighbors are at odds over various issues, primarily the deaths of Armenians in the Ottoman era during the 1915 incidents of the First World War, which Armenia identifies as “genocide.” However, Turkey vehemently rejects the labelling, saying that the deaths resulted from civil unrest.

Moreover, Ankara and Yerevan had failed to establish diplomatic ties because of the latter’s occupation of Azerbaijani territories in Nagorno-Karabakh in the early 1990s. They have also sealed the borders and have never opened them since then.

The two countries attempted to restore ties in 2009 by signing two documents, dubbed Zurich Protocols, for establishing diplomatic ties, as well as improving ties in the economy, transportation, trade and other issues. But the deal was never ratified in the face of opposition from nationalists on both sides.

Azerbaijan’s liberation of its territories in Nagorno-Karabakh from Armenia’s occupation in late 2020 has changed the balances in the region that pushed Turkey and Armenia to initiate a new effort to normalize ties.