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Turkey, Armenia Agree On First Step Towards Border Opening


Turkey -- Dogu Kapi border crossing with Armenia near Kars, April 15, 2009

Turkey and Armenia on Friday agreed in principle to allow citizens of third countries to cross their border which Ankara has for decades kept closed.

Special envoys of the two neighboring states reported the agreement after holding a fourth round of Turkish-Armenian normalization talks in Vienna.

“They agreed to enable the crossing of the land border between Armenia and Turkey by third-country citizens visiting Armenia and Turkey respectively at the earliest date possible and decided to initiate the necessary process to that end,” the Turkish and Armenian foreign ministries said in identical statements.

“They also agreed on commencing direct air cargo trade between Armenia and Turkey at the earliest possible date and decided to initiate the necessary process to that effect. Furthermore, they discussed other possible concrete steps that can be undertaken towards achieving the ultimate goal of full normalization between their respective countries,” added the statement.

It did not specify just when the two sides could take the first step towards opening the Turkish-Armenian border.

Austria - Turkish and Armenian envoys hold a fourth round of normalization talks in Vienna, July 1, 2022.
Austria - Turkish and Armenian envoys hold a fourth round of normalization talks in Vienna, July 1, 2022.

Ankara has long made the normalization of relations with Yerevan conditional on a resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict acceptable to Azerbaijan. Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has repeatedly said that his government coordinates the Turkish-Armenian dialogue with Baku.

Armenian leaders have said, for their part, that they want an unconditional normalization of Turkish-Armenian ties.

Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan complained in late May that Ankara is “synchronizing” the Turkish-Armenian normalization process with Armenian-Azerbaijani peace talks.

“This is certainly not making the atmosphere more constructive,” he said. “Discussions are going on. Unfortunately, there are no tangible results at this point.”

Ruben Rubinian, the Armenian negotiator, likewise said on Thursday that the onus is on the Turks to bring the process to fruition.

“The success of the process depends on Turkey’s constructiveness and political will,” Rubinian told reporters before flying to Vienna to meet the Turkish envoy, Serdar Kilic.

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