“There have been certain public positive signals from Turkey. We will evaluate those signals and respond to those signals with a positive signal,” the Armenian prime minister said.
During a meeting with foreign ambassadors accredited to Turkey earlier this week Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that if Armenia takes positive steps to establish peace in the region, Turkey will respond adequately.
“After the recent Karabakh war, new opportunities have been created for progress in that direction,” he said. “We have already stated that if Armenia responds positively to these opportunities, we will take the necessary steps.”
Armenia and Turkey have no diplomatic relations. In 1993, Turkey reacted to the war in Nagorno-Karabakh by closing its border with Armenia out of support for its regional ally Azerbaijan.
In 2009, Yerevan and Ankara attempted to normalize their relations, signing protocols to establish diplomatic relations and re-open the border. But the protocols were never ratified, while the brief rapprochement came to a close in the subsequent years.
Armenia has pursued international recognition of the 1915 mass killings and deportations of over a million Armenians in Ottoman Turkey as genocide. Over two dozen governments of the word recognize the Ottoman-era massacres of Armenians as genocide today.
The U.S. House of Representatives and Senate passed resolutions in 2019 recognizing the Armenian genocide, as did U.S. President Joe Biden when he used the word “genocide” in his April 24, 2021 speech on the occasion of the Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day.
Turkey refuses to recognize that the Ottoman government pursued a policy of exterminating Armenians, maintaining that hundreds of thousands of Turkish Muslims and Armenian Christians died in intercommunal violence around the bloody battlefields of World War I. Turkey also disputes Armenia’s count of the numbers killed, putting it at 300,000.
Last year Armenia also accused Turkey of directly assisting Azerbaijan in its war against ethnic Armenians in Nagorno-Karabakh in September-November 2020.
Yerevan also accused Ankara of deploying terrorist fighters from Syria in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone during the 44-day conflict in which Azerbaijan regained much of the former autonomous region’s territory as well as all seven surrounding districts that had been controlled by ethnic Armenians since the early 1990s.
Turkey has denied any involvement in the conflict, but has repeatedly voiced support for Azerbaijan in its actions against Armenians.
Still during the war in October 2020 Armenia announced a temporary ban on the import of Turkish goods beginning in 2021. It extended the ban for another six months in July.
In its five-year action plan approved in the parliament this week the Armenian government said, however, that it supports the establishment of relations with Turkey without any preconditions.