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Erdogan Talks Again About Opening Border, Restoring Ties With Armenia.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (file photo)

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (file photo)

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has spoken again about the possibility of improving ties with Armenia, saying Ankara could open its borders with its neighbor and reestablish diplomatic ties if Yerevan maintains a commitment to the ongoing normalization process between the two countries.

Erdogan told reporters on a flight back from Africa on February 23 that "we know Armenia has some concrete expectations like opening the borders and establishing diplomatic ties.”

“If Armenia can be committed to continuing the process that began with the special envoys, there will be no such thing as closed doors remaining closed for us," he said.

Representatives of Armenia and Turkey last month agreed to continue negotiations following a first round of talks in Moscow aimed at normalizing relations after years of animosity.

Ruben Rubinian, the deputy speaker of the Armenian parliament, and Serdar Kilic, a former Turkish ambassador to the United States, agreed during their meeting in the Russian capital that Turkey and Armenia should work to regulate ties “through dialogue” and without preconditions, the Armenian Foreign Ministry said.

A second round of talks is scheduled for February 24 in Vienna.

Relations between Armenia and Turkey have historically been complicated over the 1915 killings of Armenians at the hands of the Ottomans.

But it was the war between Armenian separatists and Azerbaijan over the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh during the Soviet Union's chaotic breakup in 1991 that soured any potential for relations between Ankara and Yerevan.

Armenia's victory prompted Turkey to seal the border in 1993 in support of its Turkic allies in Baku.

Regional dynamics changed when Armenia and Azerbaijan fought a six-week conflict in 2020 over Nagorno-Karabakh that had been under ethnic Armenian control for nearly three decades.

NATO member Turkey threw its weight behind Azerbaijan in the war, which ended with a Russia-brokered cease-fire in November 2020 that allowed its Turkic ally to regain control over parts of Nagorno-Karabakh and surrounding territory, with Russian peacekeepers on the ground.

With reporting by RFE/RL’s Armenian Service, Reuters, and NTV

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