Turkish, Armenian officials to meet in Moscow as part of normalization

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“The first meeting between the special representatives of Turkey and Armenia will be held in Moscow on January 14, 2022,” a statement from the Foreign Ministry confirmed Wednesday evening.

Earlier, Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu announced the next meeting.

Noting that the two sides have appointed special representatives, the senior diplomat said Ankara wished to have direct contact with Yerevan before the official meeting.

“A roadmap outlining the steps to be taken to normalize relations should be determined by making direct contact, including bilateral visits,” Çavuşoğlu said.

Çavuşoğlu stressed that Turkey is coordinating with Azerbaijan regarding the measures to be taken with Armenia and said: “I hope Armenia will continue on this line. Armenia’s messages are positive, but we want to see action. We can take trilateral action.

“Azerbaijan and Turkey could open their borders with Armenia if we reach the point we want,” he added, saying such a decision would be taken in cooperation with Baku.

After years of frozen relations, the neighboring countries of Turkey and Armenia have announced that they are seeking to normalize their relations as part of regional integration and cooperation efforts in the South Caucasus.

Representatives from the two countries said steps towards normalization were underway and charter flights between the two countries would resume soon, with Armenia saying it would lift the embargo on Turkish products from January.

On December 15, Turkey appointed Serdar Kılıç, former Ambassador to the United States, as its special envoy to discuss normalization measures with Armenia. Three days later, Armenia appointed its special representative for dialogue with Turkey, Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly Ruben Rubinyan.

The borders between the two countries have been closed for decades and diplomatic relations are suspended.

Armenia and Turkey signed a landmark peace deal in 2009 to reestablish ties and open their shared border after decades, but the deal has never been ratified and ties have remained strained.

Relations between Armenia and Turkey have always been complicated. Turkey’s position on the events of 1915 is that Armenians lost their lives in eastern Anatolia after some sided with the Russian invaders and revolted against Ottoman forces. The subsequent relocation of the Armenians resulted in heavy casualties, as massacres by the military and militias on both sides increased the death toll.

Turkey opposes presenting the incidents as “genocide”, but describes the events of 1915 as a tragedy in which both sides suffered losses.

Ankara has repeatedly proposed the creation of a joint commission made up of historians from Turkey and Armenia and international experts to tackle the problem.

During the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, Ankara supported Baku and accused Yerevan of occupying Azerbaijani territories.

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