Breakthrough moment: Can it lead to normalized relations between Turkey and Armenia

Turkey

Turkey TurkeyNearly three decades of enmity between Turkey and Armenia, but a recent breakthrough decision may be a sign towards end of deadlock between the two nations. With Ankara and Yerevan having pledged to assign special envoys to steer the relations between two countries towards normalization, the end of deadlock may finally be in sight. The announcement of special envoys was made by Ankara and endorsed by Yerevan, following months long public statements that signaled positive progression towards the normalized relations between Armenia and Turkey.

While Armenia said that it is ready to normalize relations “without preconditions” with Turkey, the latter said that charter flights would resume soon between Istanbul and Yerevan.

Serdar Kilic, a former Turkish ambassador to Washington who also shares a close relationship with the Turkish presidency, has been named Turkey’s special envoy. Armenia is yet to announce a name of its envoy. The most concrete step towards normalization, the appointment of envoys from both countries, has now been established. This is the first step through which envoys will be able to negotiate with no involvement of third parties.

Ankara has stressed that in all the negotiations, consultations with Azerbaijan would be included. This stresses that this time Turkey is cautious to include Baku and not sideline it, like it did during signing of Zurich Protocols between Armenia and Turkey in 2009. This earlier attempt of opening the border between Turkey and Armenia was disrupted by Azerbaijan. It is evident that the new round of talks between Turkey and Armenia have to include separate line of talks between Armenia and Azerbaijan, for the negotiations to be successful.

Last year the bloody six week war between Armenia and Azerbaijan ended, but in favor of Azerbaijan, thanks to support from Turkey. This dynamic further brings the issue of restoration of ties between the neighbours to table.

Richard Giragosian, director of Yerevan-based Regional Studies Center, said, “Firstly, the process of normalization is part of a broader post-war effort to restore regional trade and transport in the South Caucasus region.” He added, “Secondly, a return to diplomatic engagement between Turkey and Armenia offers a rare success in Turkish foreign policy and a positive development after months of political instability and economic crisis in Turkey. And thirdly, this is also a component of a more ambitious Turkish effort of rapprochement with Israel, the UAE and others.”

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