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Turkey Reaffirms Conditions For Normalizing Ties With Armenia


Turkey - Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu attends a news conference with British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss in Ankara, June 23, 2022.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu on Thursday made the normalization of Turkish-Armenian relations conditional on Armenia negotiating a peace accord with Azerbaijan and opening a land corridor to its Nakhichevan exclave.

Cavusoglu complained that Yerevan has taken no “concrete steps” in that direction after four rounds of Turkish-Armenian normalization talks held this year.

“We don’t yet see clear steps from Armenia on the Zangezur [corridor] and other projects or the peace treaty,” he told Turkish state television. “Armenia’s leadership headed by Prime Minister Pashinian should take positive steps for peace. Words alone are not enough.”

“Whether Armenia likes it or not, this is the reality,” said, pointing to the Turkish-Azerbaijani alliance. “We are one nation and two states. That is why if there is to be peace in the region, everybody needs to take steps, including Georgia and Central Asian countries. We expect concrete steps from Armenia on this issue, be it Zangezur, the comprehensive peace treaty or steps towards us.”

Cavusoglu has repeatedly made clear before that Ankara is coordinating the ongoing Turkish-Armenian dialogue with Baku. He stressed in February the importance of the Armenian-Azerbaijani peace treaty which Baku says must commit Yerevan to recognizing Azerbaijani sovereignty over Nagorno-Karabakh.

Turkey - Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu meets his Armenian counterpart Ararat Mirzoyan in Antalya, March 12, 2022.
Turkey - Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu meets his Armenian counterpart Ararat Mirzoyan in Antalya, March 12, 2022.

The Armenian government has said, by contrast, that it wants an unconditional normalization of relations with Turkey. Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan complained in May that Ankara is “synchronizing” the normalization process with Armenian-Azerbaijani peace talks.

Meeting in Vienna on July 1, special envoys of the two neighboring states agreed to open the Turkish-Armenian border to citizens of third countries and to allow mutual cargo shipments by air. The Turkish and Armenian foreign ministries said this will be done “at the earliest date possible.” But they set no concrete time frames.

Armenian opposition leaders have repeatedly accused Pashinian of being ready to accept the Turkish preconditions. The prime minister’s political allies have denied that.

Pashinian’s administration maintains that the possible peace accord with Azerbaijan must address the thorny issue of Karabakh’s status. It has also ruled out any exterritorial corridors passing through Armenia’s internationally recognized territory and southeastern Syunik province in particular.

Syunik is the sole Armenian province bordering Iran. Tehran has repeatedly warned against attempts to strip it of the land border with Armenia.

“The Islamic Republic will not tolerate policies or plans that lead to the closing of the Iran-Armenia border,” Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, tweeted on Tuesday after holding separate talks in Tehran with the presidents of Turkey and Russia.

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