“We have repeatedly stated that we are ready to start discussing … the normalization of relations with Turkey,” Armen Grigorian, the secretary of Armenia’s Security Council, told a news conference. “We are also discussing this with our Russian partners, [talking] about how we can move forward in this process.”
“I think it’s best to start that work because both we and the Turkish side have pointed out that there are positive signals and we can start the normalization of relations,” he said.
Russia voiced support for a Turkish-Armenian rapprochement in early September, with Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov saying that Moscow is “ready to assist in that in the most active way.” Lavrov cited in that regard Russian-mediated efforts to establish transport links between Armenia and Azerbaijan after last year’s war in Nagorno-Karabakh.
Turkey has since continued to make the establishment of diplomatic relations and opening of the border between the two countries conditional on a resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict acceptable to Azerbaijan.
“If Armenia demonstrates a sincere will to normalize its relations with Azerbaijan then there will be no obstacles to normalizing relations between Armenia and Turkey,” Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said earlier this week.
He spoke during the inauguration of a newly built airport in Fizuli, a town southeast of Karabakh recaptured by the Azerbaijani army during the six-week war. Erdogan and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev also announced the official start of work on a new highway leading to Armenia’s southeastern Syunik province.
Aliyev claimed that the road will be part of a “corridor” that will connect Azerbaijan to its Nakhichevan exclave via Syunik and also “unite the Turkic world.” “Both Azerbaijan and Turkey are taking practical steps in that direction,” he said.
Yerevan maintains that a Russian-brokered ceasefire agreement that stopped the Karabakh war last November calls for transport links between the two South Caucasus states, rather than permanent “corridors.”
“No issue with corridor logic is being discussed,” insisted Grigorian. He also noted that Erdogan did not explicitly echo Aliyev’s demands for the “Zangezur corridor” during his latest trip to Azerbaijan.
Erdogan did mention the corridor last month when he claimed that Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian has offered to meet with him and discuss bilateral ties. Earlier in September, the Turkish leader also cited Azerbaijan’s demands for a formal Armenian recognition of Azerbaijani sovereignty over Nagorno-Karabakh.