The governments of Turkey and Armenia expressed this Wednesday their willingness to accelerate the process of normalization of relations, within the framework of a Historic visit of the Armenian Foreign Ministerafter his country announced the delivery of aid to the victims of the earthquake that hit the Turkish and Syrian peoples last week and caused more than 40,000 deaths.
“It is very significant” the visit of the Armenian minister Ararat Mirzoian, declared his Turkish counterpart, Mevlut Cavusogluaccording to what the Turkish newspaper Hurryet reported and the Europa Press news agency replied.
“Armenia has said that it will deliver additional aid. We thank them for that. Armenia has shown solidarity and cooperation in these difficult days,” Cavusoglu said.
“We need to maintain this solidarity. The normalization process continues in the South Caucasus,” added the Turkish official, and specified that “the process of normalization of relations by Armenia with Turkey and Azerbaijan will contribute to peace and prosperity in the region “.
For his part, Mirzoian reiterated Armenia’s will to “build peace in the region” and “fully normalize and establish diplomatic relations with Turkey”, and showed Yerevan’s willingness to “fully open” the border between the two countries.
“We have discussed certain issues related to this process and we have an agreement to restore the Ani bridge through joint efforts and address the respective infrastructures in view of the full reopening of the border,” he was quoted as saying by the Armenian news agency Armenpress.
Mirzoian conveyed his condolences to the families of the victims of the earthquakes and stated that “the world must act in a unified front” whenever there is a natural disaster.”
“I believe that the international community should not remain indifferent to humanitarian crises that take place in any part of the world,” he said.
Opening of the border for humanitarian aid
This visit comes after last Saturday Turkey and Armenia open the border crossing of Alican, in the province of Igdir, for the first time in 35 yearsto facilitate the delivery of humanitarian aid after the strong earthquake.
Five trucks with aid for the victims of the earthquake that shook Turkey and Syria on Monday 6 crossed the post that was last opened in 1988 to deliver aid.
Both countries, divided by the memory of the Armenian genocide at the hands of the Ottoman Empire during World War I and by the disputes in Nagorno Karabakh, enclave in conflict with Azerbaijan, they began to resume contacts in December 2021 with the appointment of special envoys who discussed the normalization of relations in Vienna.
Turkey has always condemned the use of the word “genocide” to refer to the extermination of between 1.5 and 2 million Armenian civilians at the hands of the Ottoman Empire, between 1915 and 1923.
The border between the two countries was definitively closed in 1993, after a wave of clashes between Armenia and members of the Turkic ethnic group in Azerbaijan, and in 2022 commercial flights resumed.