The topic of normalizing relations between Yerevan and Ankara, a year after Turkey overtly and aggressively supported Azerbaijan in its brutal attack on Artsakh, is gaining momentum, with Ankara signaling that it is in discussions with Baku on the subject. Separately, Armenia has been probing the matter with Russia.
Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told CNN Turk that Turkey has been working jointly with Azerbaijan on the matter of normalization of relations with Armenia.
“During the Turkish president’s recent visit to Azerbaijan, we discussed, with [Azerbaijani] Foreign Minister Jeyhun Bayramov, the issue of normalization of Armenian-Azerbaijani relations,” Cavusoglu added.
The head of Armenia’s National Security Council Armen Grigoryan said at a news confernce on Thursday that Armenia is ready to normalize relations with Turkey.
“We have repeatedly stated that we are ready to start discussing … the normalization of relations with Turkey,” Grigorian said. “We are also discussing this with our Russian partners, [talking] about how we can move forward in this process.”
“I think it’s best to start that work because both we and the Turkish side have pointed out that there are positive signals and we can start the normalization of relations,” added Grigorian.
Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov voiced Moscow’s support to Turkey-Armenia normalization, saying last month Moscow is ready to assist in the process “in the most active manner.” Of course, Lavrov tied the process to the Kremlin’s plan of opening transportation links between Armenia and Azerbaijan.
All this comes days after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey reiterated his precondition that Armenia must recognize Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity before any dialogue on normalization of relations can begin.
“If Armenia demonstrates a sincere will to normalize its relations with Azerbaijan then there will be no obstacles to normalizing relations between Armenia and Turkey,” Erdogan said standing alongside his Azerbaijani counterpart Ilham Aliyev on Monday at a ceremony to inaugurate an airport in occupied Artsakh.
During the same event, Azerbaijan signaled that it would penetrate Armenia through a highway currently under construction that leads to the Armenian border as part of Aliyev’s often cited “Zangezur Corridor” that envisions a direct link to Nakhichevan through Armenia.
Aliyev on Thursday praised Erdogan and Turkey, expressing his gratitude for Erdogan’s “political and moral support and the fraternal Turkic state” during last year’s aggressive attack against Artsakh.
Grigorian, Armenia’s National Security chief, insisted that the issue of a corridor is not being discussed, and ventured to say that Erdogan did not echo Aliyev’s demand for the road link, when it was Erdogan who prodded Azerbaijan’s director of highways to offer his vision that after construction on the road is complete it will reach all the way to Istanbul.