ANKARA — The Turkish prime minister has said his country is willing to consider an offer by new Armenian leader Nikol Pashinian to establish diplomatic relations and ease tensions between the longtime bitter rivals, but with preconditions.
“If Armenia gives up its hostile attitude which it has had for several years, its attitude toward Turkey’s territorial integrity and borders, if it is giving up all its wrong attitudes…and it wants to open a new page, we will give the response looking at the details relating to this,” Prime Minister Binali Yildirim told reporters in Ankara on May 11.
“We do not want to be hostile to anybody, especially our neighbors. If such an approach is taken, we will naturally evaluate it in the interests of our country,” he said, adding that the government’s principle is “to increase friendships and diminish hostility.”
Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian on May 9 said his country is ready to establish diplomatic ties with Turkey “without preconditions.”
“Turkey is putting forward preconditions. This demand is illogical because it is illogical to put forward conditions related to a third country in order to establish relations with any country. We do not change our position and we are ready to establish relations without conditions. At the same time, we remain committed to international recognition of the Armenian genocide,” Pashinian said.
Armenia and Turkey do not have diplomatic relations and the tense border between the two countries is closed, with Russian troops based in Armenia guarding the frontier.
Armenia and Turkey signed a landmark peace accord in October 2009 to restore ties and open their shared border after a century. However, the protocols have since then not been ratified by Turkey, and Armenia finally scrapped the agreement on March 1.
Armenia suspended its ratification following Turkish demands that it first reaches terms over Nagorno-Karabakh region, a condition that Turkey set to appease its ally Azerbaijan.
Azerbaijan feared that it would lose leverage in negotiations to win back Nagorno-Karabakh, which was liberated by Armenian forces in the bloodiest of the ethnic conflicts which followed the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union.