WASHINGTON, DC — U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said Washington supports the statements by Ankara and Yerevan on appointing special representatives to normalize bilateral relations.
“We welcome and strongly support statements by Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu and Armenian Ministry of Foreign Affairs on appointing special envoys to discuss the process of normalization,’ Blinken tweeted.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu announced on Monday that the governments of the two neighboring states will soon appoint special envoys for that purpose. The Armenian Foreign Ministry confirmed that.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Vahan Hunanyan said Yerevan views Cavusoglu’s statement as a positive sign and will appoint its special envoy to start a dialogue.
“We have consulted with Azerbaijan. Soon, we will mutually appoint special representatives with Armenia for the steps toward normalization and we will act together with Azerbaijan at every step,” Cavusoglu said.
Although Turkey was one of the first countries to recognize Armenia’s independence from the former Soviet Union, the countries have no diplomatic ties and Turkey shut down their common border in 1993, in a show of solidarity with Azerbaijan which was locked in a conflict with Armenia over the Nagorno-Karabakh region.
Turkey also refuses to recognize the Armenian genocide, committed during 1915-1923 when an estimated 1.5 million Armenians were massacred by the Ottoman government. The overwhelming majority of historians widely view the event as genocide.
In 2009, Ankara and Yerevan reached an agreement in Zurich to establish diplomatic relations and to open their joint border, but Turkey later said it could not ratify the deal until Armenia withdrew from Nagorno-Karabakh.
Last year, Turkey strongly backed Azerbaijan in the six-week conflict with Armenia over Nagorno-Karabakh which ended with a Russia-brokered peace deal that saw Azerbaijan gain control of a significant part of Nagorno-Karabakh.