On January 14, special envoys Ruben Rubinyan met with Serdar Kilic in Moscow, which received attention in the Turkish press. This meeting is the first dialogue between Yerevan and Ankara after the Artsakh war. Unlike the Azerbaijani side, there was no public meeting between Armenian and Turkish officials. Besides, the years 2008-2009 are still fresh. Memories of football diplomacy and the Zurich Protocols.
Cumhuriyet reminds of failed “football diplomacy”
The Cumhuriyet daily, which is affiliated with Turkey’s main opposition political force, the Republican Party, touched upon Armenian-Turkish relations. Expert columnist Barish Doster is skeptical about the prospects of the current talks, calling on the authorities to learn from the failure of the process at the time, following the example of football diplomacy. He thinks that the previous time Ankara did not receive any concessions from Yerevan, it was criticized by Azerbaijan, as it was accused by the West that Ankara was to blame for the failure of the process. Doster asked rhetorically whether the current post-war situation was enough to take that step with Yerevan, while at the same time considering it possible that Ankara might want to normalize relations with the United States. However, the Turkish columnist urges Cavusoglu not to repeat Ahmet Davutoglu’s mistakes.
Another expert, Hussein Hayatser, believes that a new phase has begun in Armenian-Turkish relations; According to Hayatser, Ankara does not want Moscow to mediate in contacts with Yerevan; it is possible that the Turkish side will make such a proposal at the Moscow meeting.
Çavuşoղlu wants to see Armenian-Turkish contacts without mediators
Foreign Minister Mlut Cavusoglu spoke in more detail about Armenian-Turkish relations, as well as the meeting of special envoys, at a large press conference in late 2021.
Çavuşo :lu stated that although positive signals are coming from Armenia, they should be permanent. Cavusoglu, who likes to quote the Azerbaijani agenda in Armenian-Turkish relations, noted that states can even act on a trilateral scale. However, the main point of Çavuşo :lu’s statements was that the first meeting of the envoys will take place without any preconditions, the issue of drawing up a road map will be raised. He insisted that the first meeting of the Armenian-Turkish special envoys would take place in Moscow at Yerevan’s request, but it would be right for the parties to communicate without mediators, through bilateral telephone calls to reciprocal visits.
“We have appointed special envoys, let them establish direct contacts,” he said.
Çavuşo :lu reaffirmed the idea that Turkey would take part in the meeting without preconditions, stating that “the possible demands of the Armenian side on the events of 1915 are unacceptable and unrealistic.” Continuing his thoughts on the Armenian claim, he said ․ “We will tell them in 1915. The events are slander, they are not true, that is the reality. You know it is not genocide. I looked again at the former ministers on the wall of the ministry (group ․ – meaning the Turkish Foreign Ministry). 1912-1913 The Foreign Minister of the Ottoman Empire was Nuratunkyan Pasha, who was of Armenian descent. It shows how unique our state is. ”
Erdogan linked the Armenian-Turkish settlement with Azerbaijan
On the eve of the January 13 meeting in Moscow, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, speaking about Armenia-Turkey relations, noted the beginning of a new era in the Caucasus. He stressed that it is possible for Armenia to establish positive relations with Azerbaijan. Earlier, by Erdogan’s order on January 10, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Serdar Kըlչç was officially appointed Special Representative of the Turkish side in the settlement process with the Republic of Armenia. The other day, Kilic was received by Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar, having previously had a telephone conversation with his Azerbaijani counterpart Zakir Hasanov. This once again proves the close Turkish-Azerbaijani consultation in the Armenian-Turkish settlement process.
The Turkish side considers that there is already a positive progress in the relations, pointing out the reopening of air communications. Armenian “Flyuan Armenia” and Turkish “Pegasus” will carry out flights in the direction of Yerevan-Istanbul from February.