YEREVAN — Three months after Russia brokered the Armenian-Azerbaijani agreement to stop the war in Nagorno-Karabakh, Armenia and Turkey are holding no talks on opening their border, Foreign Minister Ara Ayvazian said on Wednesday.
Ayvazian signaled Yerevan’s desire to see the border opened soon when he spoke in the Armenian parliament.
“As you know, the [Turkish] blockade, the closure of the [Turkish-Armenian] border was the result of the Nagorno-Karabakh status quo, which has changed through a use of force. Turkey therefore no longer has any reason to keep its border with Armenia closed,” he told lawmakers.
“At the moment no [Turkish-Armenian normalization] process is underway,” he said. “But Armenia and our diplomacy will be making meaningful efforts so that our neighborhood becomes more favorable for Armenia’s security.”
“As a state, as a government and as a society we should strive to deescalate the situation, which will, in turn, contribute to the strengthening of the security environment,” he noted.
Turkey completely shut down the border between the two neighboring states in 1993 and has refused to establish diplomatic relations with Armenia since then out of solidarity with Azerbaijan. It has also maintained a ban on all imports from Armenia via third countries.
During the recent Karabakh war the Armenian government similarly decided to ban the import of all Turkish goods. The government cited Ankara’s “inflammatory calls,” arms supplies to Azerbaijan and “deployment of terrorist mercenaries to the conflict zone.” It said the six-month ban, which went into force on December 31, is meant to neutralize “various kinds of dangers” emanating from the “hostile country.”
Ankara has yet to clarify whether a Karabakh settlement acceptable to Baku remains a precondition for normalizing Turkish-Armenian relations after the six-week war that resulted in the restoration of Azerbaijani control over all districts around Karabakh.
Some Armenian analysts have speculated that it may now also demand that Yerevan stop seeking greater international recognition of the 1915 Armenian genocide in Ottoman Turkey.
The Armenian-Azerbaijani ceasefire agreement also calls for the restoration of transport links between Armenia and Azerbaijan. A trilateral “working group” formed by the Russian, Armenian and Azerbaijani governments for that purpose held its first meeting in Moscow late last month.