ISTANBUL — Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has announced that Armenia’s Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan has requested a meeting, via a message transmitted by the Georgian prime minister, Civilnet.am reports.
According to Anadolu, the state news agency, Erdogan, En route to the United Nations General Assembly in New York, responded to a question by a journalist about an earlier statement by the Armenian prime minister that he will not allow a transit corridor between Azerbaijan and Nakhichevan, its exclave to the west of Armenia.
“Opening or not opening such a transit corridor is a political issue. One wonders – on the one hand he [Armenia’s prime minister] makes such a statement. On the other hand he wants to meet with me. If he wants to meet with Erdogan, then he must take certain steps. We’re not opposed to diplomacy. In fact, he has communicated through the Georgian prime minister his desire to meet me,” said Erdogan, adding that for that to happen, Armenia must demonstrate a positive approach.
“If the Georgian prime minister conveys such a request and undertakes steps towards a new process, I will demonstrate my sincerity and begin negotiations. When there is diplomacy, of course, one must give and take. I hope that in this matter, the positive approaches outweigh the negative. Thus, I am hopeful that the problem of transit corridors between Armenia and Azerbaijan will be overcome,” Erdogan reportedly said.
Armenia responded to Erdogan’s remarks through PM Pashinyan’s spokeswoman, Mane Gevorgyan, on Monday.
“As of now, there have been no contacts between Armenian and Turkish officials, even though the Armenian government is prepared for such contacts,” Gevorgyan told the Armenpress news agency. “In the event of such productive work, Armenia will also be ready for meetings at a high and the highest level.”
Gevorgyan also criticized Erdogan’s calls for the “Nakhichevan corridor,” saying that such statements run counter to efforts to establish “peace and stability and overcome the atmosphere of enmity in the region.” She said that Armenia stands for the opening of all regional transport links.
Armenia and Turkey have no diplomatic relations and the shared border has been closed since the 1990s.
Earlier this month, Prime Minister Pashinyan said Yerevan was prepared to hold discussions on repairing relations with Ankara.
Addressing a government meeting on September 8, Pashinyan said “deepening or normalization of relations with neighboring countries is an important foreign policy priority.”
At the same time, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan has declared on many occasions that “Armenia has never discussed and will not discuss anything under the logic of a corridor.” He has empathized that neither the November 9, nor the January 11th statement make any mention of a “corridor.”