YEREVAN, ANKARA—Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu has been invited by the Armenian Foreign Ministry to Armenia to attend a scheduled summit of the Organization of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC) in early December.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Tigran Balayan told RFE/RL’s Armenian service that invitations have been sent out to the foreign ministers of all countries aligned in the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC) grouping, including Turkey and Azerbaijan. They are scheduled to meet in Yerevan on December 12.
The Turkish Today’s Zaman newspaper, quoting unnamed Turkish government officials, reported that Davutoglu is considering attending the meeting. However, Today’s Zaman reported, his decision will be finalized according to the trajectory of the ongoing talks between Azerbaijan and Armenia on the Karabakh conflict resolution.
The government sources told Today’s Zaman that if the leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan agree during the Vienna talks to continue dialogue on the resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh, Davutoğlu would attend the BSEC meeting in Yerevan.
On Tuesday, presidents Serzh Sarkisian and Ilham Aliyev met in Vienna to discuss the peace process and emerged with a pledge to push for lasting peace in the region.
Davutoğlu also raised the issue of Nagorno-Karabakh with Secretary of State John Kerry during talks in Washington on Monday. The Turkish foreign minister also talked over the phone both with Aliyev and Sarkisian about the two leaders’ Vienna meeting three days before the talks.
Some circles are seeing a correlation between a recent push by Davutoglu to engage Switzerland to mediate Turkish-Armenian normalization with the invitation by Armenia’s Foreign Ministry.
Davutoglu went to Berne last month and reportedly asked Switzerland to renew efforts to mediate dialogue between Armenia and Turkey. Soon after the visit, Davutoglu was quick to point out that any normalization of relations with Armenia was pre-conditioned by a resolution to the Karabakh conflict in favor of Azerbaijan.
RFE/RL hinted on Wednesday that a trip by Armenia’s National Security Advisor Artur Baghdasarian to Switzerland late last week focused on Turkish-Armenian relations. Baghdasarian’s spokesman declined to comment, reported RFE/RL.
“As far as I understand, the Swiss have conveyed to Armenia what they were told [by Ankara],” said the Armenian Revolutionary Federation’s political affairs director Giro Manoyan on Wednesday, suggesting that Baghdasarian’s trip was connected with the Turkish initiative.
Manoyan insisted that the Turkish government is not intent on normalizing relations with Armenia. He said it only wants to deflect international attention from the 100th anniversary of the Armenian genocide.