“The leaders stressed the importance of the bilateral process of normalizing relations between their countries, which will also help to strengthen peace and stability in the region,” read the official Armenian readout of the call.
According to the statement, both Erdogan and Pashinian said they expect a quick implementation of agreements to open the Turkish-Armenian border to citizens of third countries and to allow mutual cargo shipments by air.
The Turkish presidential press office released a virtually identical statement on the conversation cited by the official Anatolia news agency.
Special envoys of the two neighboring states reached the agreements during a fourth round of normalization talks held in Vienna on July 1. The Turkish and Armenian foreign ministries said after the talks that “third-country citizens” will be allowed to cross the land border “at the earliest date possible.” They gave no possible dates.
Pashinian instructed Armenian government agencies last Thursday to closely cooperate with their Turkish counterparts for implementing the agreements “as soon as possible.” Visiting Armenia’s Armavir province on Saturday, he inspected the ongoing reconstruction of a local road leading to the Turkish border.
Ankara has long made the opening of the border and establishment of diplomatic 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.
Monday’s phone call marked Pashinian’s first-ever direct contact with Erdogan.
Pashinian reportedly offered to meet with Erdogan last September. The Turkish leader appeared to make such a meeting conditional on Armenia agreeing to open a transport corridor that would connect Azerbaijan to its Nakhichevan exclave. Earlier in 2021, he echoed Azerbaijan’s demands for Armenian recognition of Azerbaijani sovereignty over Nagorno-Karabakh.
Armenian opposition leaders denounced at the time what they described as Pashinian’s secret overtures to Erdogan. They maintain that Ankara has not dropped its preconditions for normalizing Turkish-Armenian ties.
Turkey provided decisive military assistance to Azerbaijan during the six-week war in Karabakh stopped by a Russian-brokered ceasefire in November 2020.