Caspian Region

Armenian, Turkish Envoys Agree To Continue Efforts At Normalizing Ties

(RFE/RL) YEREVAN -- Armenia and Turkey have agreed to move forward with efforts to normalize relations "without conditions," a move that could lead to the reopening of their shared border, Armenia's Foreign Ministry says.


According to a statement, Armenian and Turkish envoys Ruben Rubinian and Serdar Kilic "confirmed the joint goal to reach a full-fledged regulation of relations between the two nations."


"Possible steps to reach tangible process in that matter were discussed. The sides confirmed their readiness to carry out the process further without preliminary conditions," the ministry's statement said.


Armenia and Turkey have no diplomatic relations, a closed land border, and a deep-seated hostility rooted in the killing of up to 1.5 million Armenians under the Ottoman Empire during and following World War I that many countries have recognized as genocide.


But in December 2021, Rubinian, who is Armenia's deputy parliament speaker, and Kilic, a former Turkish ambassador to the United States, were appointed as special envoys to normalize relations, spurred by support from regional powerbroker Russia and Armenia's pro-Turkish neighbor, Azerbaijan.


Rubinian and Kilic met twice after that -- in Moscow on January 14, and in Vienna on February 24.


The war between Armenian separatists and Azerbaijan over the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh during the Soviet Union's chaotic breakup in 1991 soured any potential for relations between Ankara and Yerevan. Armenia's victory prompted Turkey to seal the border in 1993 in support of its Turkic allies in Baku.

Regional dynamics changed when Armenia and Azerbaijan fought a six-week conflict in 2020 over Nagorno-Karabakh.

NATO member Turkey threw its weight behind Azerbaijan in the war, which ended with a Russian-brokered cease-fire in November 2020 that allowed Baku to regain control over parts of Karabakh and surrounding territory, with Russian peacekeepers on the ground.