Turkey and Armenia Are Inching Toward a Diplomatic Rapprochement

Turkey and Armenia Are Inching Toward a Diplomatic Rapprochement
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, right, and Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan shake hands before a meeting at Prague Castle in Prague, Czech Republic, Oct. 6, 2022 (photo by the office of the Turkish presidency via AP).

On Oct. 6, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan met with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on the sidelines of the inaugural European Political Community Summit held in Prague. It was the first such high-level meeting between leaders of the two countries since 2009, when then-Turkish President Abdullah Gul met his Armenian counterpart, then-President Serzh Sargsyan, as part of a previous attempt to normalize relations.

Those efforts failed largely because Azerbaijan insisted that Turkey condition any rapprochement on Armenia making concessions on the standoff between Baku and Yerevan over Nagorno-Karabakh. This time around, the changed geopolitical circumstances due to the outcome of the 2020 war between Armenia and Azerbaijan have removed that obstacle. But the current diplomatic engagement between Yerevan and Ankara could still be derailed by other significant stumbling blocks.

The meeting in Prague between Pashinyan and Erdogan followed months of active diplomacy between the two sides since December 2021. Both appointed special representatives to facilitate rapprochement who have met four times so far. Additionally, in March, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu met his Armenian counterpart, Ararat Mirzoyan, in the first such meeting between the two countries’ foreign ministers since 2009. Both sides have also signaled that they are eyeing full restoration of diplomatic ties as among the goals of the process.

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