Turkey is ready to take further steps in improving relations with Armenia and establishing a regional cooperation platform in the Caucasus as long as Yerevan is determined to continue the normalization process that started with the appointment of special representatives, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Wednesday, Daily Sabah reports.
Speaking to reporters on his way back from the Africa tour, Erdogan said he discussed the process with Germany’s President Frank-Walter Steinmeier on Tuesday. Noting that in addition to the appointment of special envoys to conduct diplomatic talks and the relaunch of the flights between the two countries, he also reiterated Turkey’s intentions to form a regional cooperation platform among Caucasus countries, including Armenia.
“As you know, I already said that we will respond in the same way to positive steps taken by Armenia. This region needs peace, stability and prosperity. With this understanding, we made a sincere effort to start a normalization process between our country and Armenia. We are pleased with the will of Armenia to normalize with us,” the president said.
“We also know that Armenia has some concrete expectations such as opening the borders and establishing diplomatic relations. If Armenia is determined to continue the process that has started with the special representatives, there will be no question of keeping the doors closed for us,” he added.
Underlining that Turkey favors a regional cooperation platform, Erdogan said: “In this sense, Azerbaijan-Armenia relations and Turkey-Armenia normalization process can progress by supporting each other. Likewise, our idea of regional cooperation will support and feed off these bilateral processes. Everyone needs to act constructively to make good use of this historic opportunity. We will continue to carry out all these processes in close coordination with Azerbaijan, as we have done so far.”
The first meeting of special representatives from Turkey and Armenia toward normalization was held last month. Turkey and Armenia held what both hailed as “positive and constructive” talks in Moscow, the first in more than a decade, raising hopes that diplomatic relations can be established and their land border reopened. Turkey and Armenia have also restarted commercial charter flights between Istanbul and Yerevan after two years as part of the normalization process.
The second meeting of envoys is set for February 24 in Vienna.
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