Turkey, Armenia take first step for normalization

Turkey and Armenia will appoint special envoys soon to discuss steps to normalize relations, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Monday.

Speaking to lawmakers in parliament, Cavusoglu noted that Turkey would also move in coordination with Azerbaijan on the normalization steps with Armenia.

“In the Caucasus, we are making intense diplomatic efforts to build regional peace and prosperity with Azerbaijan,” Cavusoglu said.

“In the coming period, we will start charter flights between Yerevan and Istanbul,” he added.

Relations between the former Soviet republics of Azerbaijan and Armenia have been tense since 1991, when the Armenian military occupied Nagorno-Karabakh, also known as Upper Karabakh, a territory internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan, and seven adjacent regions.

New clashes erupted on Sept. 27, 2020, and during the six-week war, Azerbaijan retook several cities and 300 settlements and villages.

The conflict ended in November 2020 in a Russia-brokered deal that saw Armenia cede swathes of territory it had occupied for decades.

In January, the leaders of the three countries agreed to develop economic ties and infrastructure for the benefit of the entire Caucasus region.

Relations with UAE, Egypt

Cavusoglu said there was no permanent enmity or permanent friendship between countries, “which is the basic rule of diplomacy.”

“Did we have any problem with the United Arab Emirates? No we did not. They broke relations with us. Now they want to fix it. We want to fix it too. It’s that simple,” Cavusoglu said.

He reiterated that Turkey had only decided to cut diplomatic ties with Egypt.

“We accept it, and we know the reasons…We develop our relations with everyone on the basis of mutual interests, and everyone wants to invest in Turkey,” he added.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan met on Nov. 24 in Ankara with Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan and discussed bilateral relations.

During Sheikh Mohammed’s visit, the UAE announced a $10 billion fund for investments in Turkey, and the two countries signed several cooperation agreements on energy, technology, trade and health.

According to Turkey’s Communications Director Fehrettin Altun, Turkey and the UAE have committed to strengthening their bilateral economic ties and taking advantage of regional cooperation opportunities.

It marked the Crown Prince’s first official visit to Turkey since 2012 and the first top-level meeting between the UAE and Turkey in recent years.

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