YEREVAN (Azatutyun.am)–Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan will attend the inauguration of Turkey’s newly reelected President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, it was announced on Friday.
“The Republic of Armenia has received an invitation to take part in Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s swearing-in ceremony,” said the Armenian government’s press office. “Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan will leave for Ankara on June 3 to take part in the ceremony.”
The short statement did not specify whether the invitation was personally addressed to Pashinyan.
Pashinyan, who is accused by his political opponents of making unilateral concessions to Turkey and Azerbaijan, rushed to congratulate Erdogan on winning reelection in a run-off vote on May 28. He said he hopes to continue “working together towards full normalization of relations between our countries.”
Erdogan’s first presidential inauguration in 2014 was attended by then Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandyan.
Turkey has since continued to make the opening of the border and the establishment of diplomatic relations with Armenia conditional on an Armenian-Azerbaijani peace deal acceptable to Azerbaijan. Turkish leaders have repeatedly reaffirmed this precondition since the start of the normalization talks with Yerevan in January 2022.
Tensions between the two neighboring states were reignited in late April after municipal authorities in Yerevan unveiled a monument dedicated to Armenians who had assassinated masterminds and perpetrators of the 1915 Armenian genocide in Ottoman Turkey.
The Turkish government strongly condemned the move and banned Armenian airlines from flying over Turkey to third countries. Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu threatened last week “new measures” against Armenia if the monument is not removed soon.
Pashinyan described the erection of the monument as a “wrong decision” when he spoke to RFE/RL’s Armenian Service earlier in May.
During the presidential election campaign, Erdogan and his political allies repeatedly touted Turkey’s decisive military assistance to Azerbaijan provided during the 2020 war with Armenia. They accused Erdogan’s main challenger, Kemal Kilicdaroglu, of opposing Ankara’s political and military alliance with Baku.