A window of opportunity opens for Ankara and Yerevan: Armenian politician

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A new window of opportunity has opened in Yerevan-Ankara relations despite Turkey’s support for Azerbaijan in the Karabakh war which ended in November 2020, a former Armenian lawmaker has said.

Styopa Safaryan, a member of the center-right Heritage party, told Anadolu Agency (AA) that after the recent war between Azerbaijan and Armenia, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian was facing difficulties at home and was willing to take steps to revive bilateral relations with Turkey. .

“Pachinian is trying to show that there is a positive signal from Turkey so that a common program can be formed. He makes these statements understanding the feeling on the ground very well,” he said.

He added that the most sensitive issue in the normalization program is the Zangezur corridor, which will connect Turkey-Nakhichevan-Azerbaijan.

Safaryan said some circles in Armenia interpreted the opening of the corridor as the political strangulation of Armenia.

He claimed that Turkey would gain a lot from opening these routes without using the term “Zangezur Corridor”.

“If this (corridor) expression is used, the Armenian-Turkish dialogue will be over,” Safaryan said.

Corridor routes and which mode of transport to use have been bones of contention between Armenia and Azerbaijan, former Soviet states at odds since the 1990s.

Their tensions culminated in the Second Karabakh War in 2020, in which Azerbaijan liberated several towns and some 300 settlements and villages after nearly three decades of illegal Armenian occupation.

To improve relations, Armenia must negotiate with Turkey and Azerbaijan, but without mediators like Russia, an Armenian analyst also said.

“Armenia lost the (Karabakh) war and is currently in a weak state. The government needs to negotiate with Turkey and Azerbaijan, but this should be done without intermediaries like Russia,” said Stepan Grigoryan, Director of the Center for Analysis on Globalization and Regional Relations. Cooperation, a think tank in Armenia, told AA.

“The process must continue through bilateral negotiations,” added Grigoryan, who is also a former Pan-Armenian National Movement lawmaker.

Stressing that Turkey can serve as an alternative to Russia in the region, he said: “Turkey pursues a serious foreign policy in line with its interests.

After last year’s six-week war, Azerbaijan retook Nagorno-Karabakh and other areas after nearly three decades of Armenian occupation.

Turkey supported Azerbaijan during the 44-day war, which ended with a Russian-brokered ceasefire agreement in November 2020.

Moscow has since brokered talks between Baku and Yerevan to end the decades-long conflict. He also expressed his willingness to support normalization between Ankara and Yerevan.

Besides Karabakh, Turkey has long been at odds with Armenia over issues such as Yerevan’s refusal to recognize their common border, terrorist attacks on Turkish diplomats and Armenia’s claims to the events of 1915. .

Due to its intransigence, landlocked Armenia has been left off transport and trade lines to Turkey and Europe, routes meant to bring the region closer together.

Noting that Turkey has the potential to be a “sustainable and reliable partner for Armenia”, Grigoryan said: “Turkey’s support and alliance with Azerbaijan is understandable and not open for discussion. “.

“By doing so, he can establish a reasonable and balanced relationship with Armenia. The same goes for Armenia.”

Urging his country to establish direct channels of relations with Turkey and Azerbaijan, he said, “I’m not saying it will be easy. Yes, there are disagreements on many issues, but negotiations need to start.” .

“Today we have a greater chance of establishing peace,” he added.

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