ANKARA, (AFP) - Despite deep scars over the massacre of Armenians during the Ottoman Empire, Armenia has for the first time sent a diplomat to Turkey -- as a representative of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC).
The diplomat, Arsen Avakian, arrived in Istanbul -- home of the BSEC's permanent secretariat -- in mid-September and officially began his mission as Armenia's BSEC representative on September 21, a Turkish official said Friday on condition of anonymity. Avakian, 29, is Yerevan's only official representative in Turkey where it does not have any diplomatic missions.
A fluent Turkish speaker who served at the Armenian foreign ministry's Turkey desk, Akakyan said his posting should not be considered within the framework of Turkish-Armenian ties. "But I hope I will be able to help in improving relations," told the Anatolia news agency.
The two neighboring countries have no diplomatic relations. The strongest official link between them is the BSEC, set up in 1992 to promote security, stability, prosperity and economic cooperation in the Black Sea region. The organization groups Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Georgia, Greece, Moldova, Romania, Russia, Turkey and Ukraine.