Turkey and Armenia said on Friday that the first round of talks in more than 10 years was “positive and constructive”, raising the possibility that ties could be restored and borders reopened after decades of hostilities. .
Turkey has not had any diplomatic or commercial relations with its eastern neighbor since the 1990s. The talks in Moscow were the first attempt to restore contact since the 2009 peace deal. That deal was never confirmed and relations remained strained.
The Turkish and Armenian foreign ministries said on Friday that the talks took place in a “positive and constructive” atmosphere, with both sides committed to complete normalization without any preconditions. He said the special envoys “exchanged their initial views regarding the normalization process.”
Neighbors differ on a number of issues, primarily the 1.5 million people Armenia says were killed in 1915.
Armenia maintains that the 1915 killings constitute a genocide, a position supported by the United States and some others. Turkey accepts that many Armenians living in the Ottoman Empire were killed in conflict with Ottoman forces during World War I, but oppose figures and deny the killings constitute genocide.
Tensions rose again during the 2020 war on the Nagorno-Karabakh region. Turkey accused ethnic Armenian forces of occupying lands belonging to Azerbaijan. Turkey has since called for a rapprochement, as it seeks greater influence in the region.
The foreign ministries said in separate but similarly worded statements that the date and venue for the next round of talks would be finalized later.
Turkish diplomatic sources said the talks between the delegations lasted for about 90 minutes.
Russia’s TASS news agency said on Thursday, citing Armenia’s foreign ministry, that it hoped the talks would establish diplomatic ties and open up borders closed since 1993.
Thomas de Waal, a senior partner at Carnegie Europe, said opening the borders in November and renovating the railway to Turkey would bring economic benefits to Armenia, as the routes are used by traders from Turkey, Russia, Armenia, Iran and Azerbaijan. can go.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Kavusoglu said last year the two countries would start charter flights between Istanbul and Armenia’s capital Yerevan as a co-ordination, but Turkey would coordinate all steps with Azerbaijan.
Flights are scheduled to start in early February. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Thursday that Armenia needed to build good relations with Azerbaijan for the normalization effort to yield results.
no easy success
Despite strong support for normalization from the United States, which hosts a large Armenian diaspora and angered Turkey last year by calling the 1915 killings genocide, analysts have said talks would be complicated.
Eurasia Group’s London-based director Emre Pekar said a cautious approach was expected on both sides due to chronic sensitivity, focusing on quick deliverables, adding that the role of Russia, which brokered the Nagorno-Karabakh ceasefire The lead actor in the Ki and Hai field will be the lead.
Cavusoglu also said that Russia has contributed to the process of appointing special envoys.
“The great challenge will come from the question of historical reconciliation,” Pekar said, adding that the fate of the talks “will depend on Ankara’s recognition that it should give shape to its ambitions.”