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Turkey, Armenia Talks About Normalising Ties After Decades

Turkey and Armenia have had a difficult relationship over the past few decades. Even though Turkey was one of the first countries to recognize Armenian independence after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, relations between the states took a downfall after Armenia invaded Turkish ally Azerbaijan in the early 1990s. Later in 1993 when Turkey co-sponsored a UN Security Council resolution calling on Armenian forces to withdraw from the Azerbaijani region of Kelbajar, which it had occupied during the First Nagorno-Karabakh War. Later that year, diplomatic relations between the two states ended and the border was closed. In 2009, at the insistence of the US, Turkey and Armenia came close to normalizing relations and reopening their land border. However, no agreement was finalized because Armenia would not commit to any meaningful progress toward peace with Azerbaijan. In 2020, tensions again flared during a war over the Nagorno-Karabakh territory. The authorities in Turkey have accused the ethnic Armenian forces of occupying land belonging to Azerbaijan. Turkey has been trying for reconciliation, to establish peace as well as their influence in the region. 

Representatives from Turkey and Armenia will be holding their first rounds of talks aimed at normalizing the ties between the two countries in Moscow in the coming days. This move is being seen as the foundation that will lead to the establishment of diplomatic relations and reopening borders after decades of antipathy. For over 30 years, Turkey and Armenia have had no diplomatic and commercial ties and the talks are the first attempt to restore links between the two countries since a 2009 peace accord was signed. Following the deal, it was never ratified and ties have remained tense. According to the official Turkish data, even after no direct trade routes, indirect trade has been risen since 2013 but was $3.8m in 2021. On Friday, the Turkish and Armenian foreign ministries said that the talks were held in a “positive and constructive” atmosphere, adding both sides were committed to a full normalisation without any pre-conditions. They said special envoys had “exchanged their preliminary views regarding the normalisation process”.