Armenia and Turkey are not holding talks to normalise relations, Armenian Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan said.
“In case of Turkey’s readiness to normalise relations and appropriate actions, Armenia is ready to discuss the possibilities of building bilateral relations,” Mirzoyan said, the Public Radio of Armenia reported on Wednesday.
Armenian government’s program stipulates that it is ready to normalise ties with Turkey without preconditions, Mirzoyan said in an interview with Nouvelles d’Armenie, the radio station said.
Over the past few months, Turkey and Armenia have made positive statements about restoring their bilateral relations, which have been frozen for nearly three decades.
At the end of August, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said Yerevan would evaluate Turkey’s diplomatic gestures for the establishment of peace in the region and respond to positive signals. Turkey can work toward gradually normalising ties because Armenia has stated its readiness to do so, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said in response.
Dipomatic relations between Turkey and Armenia have been suspended for 28 years due to Armenia’s extended military standoff with Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabakh in which Ankara sided with Baku. Two bilateral protocols were signed between Turkey and Armenia in Zurich in 2009 aimed at normalising ties. They were never ratified by either of the country’s parliaments.
Armenia has handed back territories in Nagorno-Karabakh to Azerbaijan as part of a Russia-brokered ceasefire signed by the two sides in November following six weeks of clashes. Turkey provided military hardware and know-how to Azerbaijan in the conflict.
“The lack of diplomatic relations between Armenia and Turkey, the closed borders, as well as Turkey’s open involvement in the 44-day war, the recent statements from Turkey about the so-called “Zangezur Corridor” have a negative impact on stability in the region,” Mirzoyan said.
The November ceasefire agreement foresees the re-opening of key historical transportation lines between Azerbaijan, Armenia and Russia. Following the deal, Aliyev called on Armenia to open the Zangezur Corridor, which would link Azerbaijan to Nakhchivan, an autonomous western Azeri region separated from the country by Armenian territory.
At the end of last month, Aliyev reiterated his call over the opening of the corridor, during Erdoğan’s latest visit to Nagorno-Karabakh since last year’s war. Azerbaijan and Turkey plan to unite the Turkic world by re-opening the trade corridor, he said, adding that both countries will take necessary steps to that end.
Azerbaijan has blocked shipments of materials to both Armenia and Karabakh since 1989, while Armenia has imposed a blockade on Nakhchivan.