Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu made clear that Turkey stands by its preconditions for normalizing relations with Armenia when he visited Yerevan last month, his Armenian counterpart Edward Nalbandian confirmed on Wednesday.
“Turkey has not changed its policy on normalizing Turkish-Armenian relations,” Nalbandian said, commenting on his talks with Davutoglu held on the sidelines of a Black Sea Economic Cooperation meeting in the Armenian capital.
“When the Turkish foreign minister came [to Yerevan] he repeated what he told me three or four years ago,” he told a news conference. “That is why the normalization process was frozen at the time.”
“I said to him, ‘I told you the same thing four years ago and you are now back, pretending [seeking rapprochement.] Do you want us to waste another three, four or more years?’” revealed Nalbandian.
Speaking to Turkish journalists who accompanied him in Yerevan on December 12, Davutoglu described his meeting with Nalbandian as “warm” and “frank.” He claimed that the two sides overcame a “psychological barrier” to renewed dialogue.
Davutoglu made his first-ever trip to Armenia on December 12 to underline Ankara’s stated desire to resume that dialogue. The Armenian government has rejected the Turkish overtures, saying that Ankara is only keen to keep more countries from recognizing the Armenian genocide in the Ottoman Empire ahead of its 100th anniversary to be marked in 2015.
Turkish officials indicated in October and November that the normalization of Turkish-Armenian relations remains conditional on a resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict acceptable to Azerbaijan. The Turkish government cited this precondition when it refused to implement U.S.-brokered protocols signed with Yerevan in 2009.
Armenia insists that the two estranged nations establish diplomatic relations and open their border unconditionally. “This is a position that enjoys the international community’s backing,” said Nalbandian.