YEREVAN (RFE/RL)—Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian has agreed to meet with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip in Washington next week, his office said on Thursday.
Erdogan proposed such a meeting in a written message that was taken to Yerevan by a high-ranking Turkish diplomat on Wednesday.
The presidential press secretary, Armen Arzumanian, told RFE/RL’s Armenian service that Sarkisian accepted the proposal. He said no concrete date for the talks has been set yet.
The two leaders are due to attend a nuclear security summit that will take place in Washington on April 12-13.
Feridun Sinirlioglu, the Turkish Foreign Ministry undersecretary, discussed with Sarkisian and Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian the current state of the Turkish-Armenian normalization process. According to official Armenian sources, Sinirlioglu was told that Yerevan expects Ankara to take “practical steps” towards an unconditional ratification of the fence-mending protocols signed by the two governments last October.
Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu was reported to describe Sinirlioglu’s talks in Yerevan as “positive and constructive.” “We sincerely believe our relations with Armenia will be normalized in accordance with the protocols’ letter and spirit,” he said, according to “Hurriyet Daily News.”
A separate statement by the Turkish Foreign Ministry said the sides “confirmed mutually their commitment to the (normalization) process and their understanding that, despite the difficulties, this window of opportunity should not be missed.”
Sinirlioglu proceeded to Baku and was due to meet there with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev on Thursday.
“We gave a clear message of our loyalty to the normalization process during the talks in Armenia,” an unnamed Turkish diplomatic source was quoted by “Hurriyet Daily News” as saying. “Now, we need to share our impression with the Azerbaijani side.”
“Once again, we will affirm that Turkey is sharing Azerbaijani concerns over the Karabakh conflict,” the diplomatic source added.
Armenia has repeatedly rejected the Turkish linkage between protocol ratification and a resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict that would satisfy Azerbaijan.