Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian arrived in Istanbul on Monday where he will hold talks with his Turkish counterpart Ali Babacan aimed at normalizing relations between the historic foes, the online edition of Hurriyet newspaper reported.
Speaking to Turkey’s English-language Hurriyet Daily News before his visit, Nalbandian said he hoped that Turkey and Armenia would establish normal diplomatic relations and that the border between the two nations be re-opened.
“Armenia is ready to normalize our bilateral relations without any precondition and we are expecting the same from Turkey,” Nalbandian said.
Turkey and Armenia do not have any diplomatic relations and the land border between the two countries was closed by Turkey in 1993 in protest at the Armenian occupation of Azerbaijan region of Nagorno-Karabakh.
Relations are strained by Turkey’s refusal to accept as genocide the deaths of up to 1.5 million ethnic Armenians in the last days of the Ottoman Empire.
Turkey says that while there were massacres of ethnic Armenians, the events do not constitute genocide and were instead the result of a civil uprising during the First World War.
There has been a recent thaw in relations between the two countries with a visit to Yerevan by Turkish President Abdullah Gul in September to attend a football match, described as “football diplomacy” by the Turkish media, marking the start of efforts to normalize relations.