Turkey and Armenia will mutually appoint special envoys to discuss steps to normalize ties, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu announced on Monday, adding that the two countries would also restart charter flights between Istanbul and Yerevan.
Çavuşoğlu made the remarks to lawmakers during his ministry’s budget talks in Parliament, Karar newspaper reported.
Turkey and Armenia over the past few months have released positive statements about restoring their bilateral relations, which have been frozen for nearly three decades.
Diplomatic relations between the countries 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 normalizing ties. They were never ratified by either of the country’s parliaments.
In 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.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan responded by saying Turkey can work toward gradually normalizing ties, because Armenia has stated its readiness to do so.
“Soon we will mutually appoint special envoys with Armenia for normalization of ties,’’ Çavuşoğlu said on Monday. “We are going to begin charter flights between Istanbul and Yerevan.’’
Azerbaijan, backed by Turkey, began a successful military offensive against Armenian forces in Nagorno-Karabakh region in September 2020. The conflict ended two months later, with a Russia-brokered ceasefire agreement. Azerbaijan regained control of much of the disputed territory controlled by ethnic Armenians since the 1990s. Turkish military support proved crucial to Azerbaijan reclaiming control over the territory from Armenian-backed forces.