Turkish-Armenian envoys to hold first meeting in Moscow: Minister
Sevil Erkuş - ANKARA
The first meeting of the representatives of Armenia and Turkey, appointed for the normalization of relations, will take place in Moscow upon the demand of Yerevan, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu has said.
“According to our impression, the first meeting will be in Moscow. Armenia’s desire is in this direction,” Çavuşoğlu said, noting that, however, Turkey wants direct contacts for the upcoming meetings after the first one.
“Why? We appointed a mutual special representative so that they could meet directly,” he told reporters at the foreign policy evaluation meeting for 2021.
The minister said that Istanbul-Yerevan flights would also start soon.
Direct contacts and mutual visits between Armenia and Turkey should be established, and a road map should be determined for the steps to be taken to normalize relations, Çavuşoğlu stated.
Zurich protocols are abolished
The “Zurich protocols,” which were signed between Turkey and Armenia in 2009 for normalization and failed to be ratified at the national parliaments, are abolished at the moment, the minister said.
The protocols have “lost the meaning,” the minister said, recalling that the Armenian Constitutional court had canceled some major articles of the deal. “A new process has been started,” he stated.
Noting that consultation and coordination with Azerbaijan are important in the process of normalizing relations with Armenia, Çavuşoğlu said: “I hope Armenia will continue in this line. [Armenia’s] messages are positive, but we want to see actions. We can also take steps in three ways.”
Asked about the opening of borders with Armenia, Çavuşoğlu underlined that the decisions of full normalization and opening borders would be taken in line with consultations made with Azerbaijan.
“I hope we can come to that point, and both us and Azerbaijan will open the borders, he said.
2021 the year to take steps of normalization
“This year, we took steps to normalize many problematic issues,” he said, referring to the initiatives with the UAE, Egypt, Bahrain and Israel and noted that these contacts also contributed to easing regional tensions.
“We will consider these processes with a realistic approach. Likewise, we started to reduce the tension in relations in France,” he added.
Elaborating the recent initiative of Turkey and Qatar to run some Afghan airports, including Kabul international airport, Çavuşoğlu said they had presented a proposal to the Taliban administration. Elaborating on a similar parallel attempt by the UAE, Çavuşoğlu said the Taliban have been receiving bids from different parties.
Turkey ready to contribute to easing tensions between NATO, Russia
Asked about a recent demand by Russia from NATO to provide a binding security guarantee and not to deploy its troops in Eastern Europe without Russian consent, Çavuşoğlu said, “For any proposal to be accepted, it should be acceptable by both sides.”
“Russia made some proposals. But maybe NATO seeks the same kind of guarantees from Russia. This is not a one-sided issue. If the requests are maximalist - I’m not saying that Russia is maximalist in any case - both sides must be constructive,” he said.
“If Russia has any certain specific expectation or issue from Turkey regarding reducing tensions between Russia and NATO, Turkey will evaluate this positively because our objective is clear,” the minister said.