Armenian people support normalizing ties with Turkey: FM Mirzoyan -
Armenian people support normalizing ties with Turkey: FM Mirzoyan
People in Armenia support normalizing ties with Turkey, the foreign minister of the South Caucasus said Tuesday underlining that Yerevan is ready to establish diplomatic relations and open its border with Turkey.
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"Generally, the population of Armenia wants to normalize relations," Ararat Mirzoyan said in a written interview with the Anadolu Agency (AA) after participating in the Antalya Diplomacy Forum, where he discussed the two countries' normalization efforts with his Turkish counterpart Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu in a landmark meeting.
Mirzoyan said public opinion polls also reflected this popular support for the rapprochement between the two countries long at odds over a range of issues.
Certain groups in both Armenian and Turkish societies are skeptical of normalization, he noted, underlining that officials on both sides should "take political leadership to address these issues."
On Saturday, a historical meeting took place between Çavuşoğlu and Mirzoyan on the sidelines of the Antalya Diplomacy Forum. It was the first high-level visit from Armenia to Turkey in a decade.
"During my meeting with Minister Çavuşoğlu, we have exchanged views on certain sensitivities and I hope that they will be taken into account," Mirzoyan said.
Speaking to reporters, Çavuşoğlu had described the meeting with his Armenian counterpart Mirzoyan as “extremely fruitful and constructive.”
The foreign minister had stressed that Ankara is striving “for stability and peace in the South Caucasus and we receive support from all toward our efforts in this direction.”
Çavuşoğlu had also noted that Azerbaijan supports the normalization process between Ankara and Yerevan.
“Stability and peace in the region is for the benefit of all of us, and we will continue to take steps in this direction,” he added, noting that he and Mirzoyan had reached an agreement to do so.
In the months running up to the Antalya Diplomacy Forum, both Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan had exchanged public statements expressing readiness to launch talks between the two countries, later appointing special representatives for dialogue, the Armenian top diplomat noted.
The envoys from Turkey and Armenia, Serdar Kılıç and Ruben Rubinyan, held their first meeting on Jan. 14 in Moscow, and the second meeting in Vienna on Feb. 24, agreeing to continue negotiations without preconditions aimed at full normalization of the relations.
"I paid a visit to Antalya to participate in the Antalya Diplomatic Forum to reiterate once again the political will of the Government of the Republic of Armenia to achieve full normalization of relations," said Mirzoyan, adding that this effort with Turkey aimed to "open the era of peaceful and sustainable development in the region."
Asked about how the current normalization process was going, Mirzoyan said: "Overall, we consider it positive."
"Armenia is ready to establish diplomatic relations and to the opening of the borders," he stressed.
"I was glad to hear from my Turkish counterpart that there is a political will on their side to lead the process to that end as well," he said.
"Amid the rapidly developing situation in the world, I do believe we should not hesitate to undertake concrete steps."
On the benefits of the normalization process, the foreign minister said people were already benefiting from direct flights between Istanbul and the Armenian capital Yerevan.
"Opening of the borders will have its positive impact on the connectivity, trade and economic relations between the two countries, people to people contacts, and overall stability in the region," he added.
On the possibility of reciprocal official visits between Turkey and Armenia, he answered: "Needless to mention that if the process of normalization proceeds smoothly and we achieve positive results, mutual visits can take place."
Following years of frozen ties, the neighboring countries of Turkey and Armenia have announced they seek to normalize relations amid efforts for regional integration and cooperation in the South Caucasus. In December, the two countries appointed special envoys to normalize relations.
The borders between the two countries have been closed for decades, and diplomatic relations have been on hold.
Armenia and Turkey signed a landmark peace accord in 2009 to restore ties and open their shared border after decades, but the deal was never ratified and ties remained tense.
Relations between Armenia and Turkey have historically been complicated. During the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict last year, Ankara supported Baku in its war that saw it liberate Azerbaijani territories from Yerevan’s occupation.
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