Jan 16, 2022 07:37 UTC
  • A border tower is seen in Getap, in the Armenian side of the Armenian-Turkish border, on November 1, 2009.
    A border tower is seen in Getap, in the Armenian side of the Armenian-Turkish border, on November 1, 2009.

Turkey and Armenia say their representatives held “positive and constructive” talks in the Russian capital Moscow, for the first time in decades, in an attempt to restore ties and reopen borders after decades of animosity.

Ankara and Yerevan have had no diplomatic or commercial relations since the 1990s.

Representatives from the two sides held the first round of discussions for about 1.5 hours in the Russian capital on Friday.

Armenian Envoy Ruben Rubinyan and his Turkish counterpart, Serdar Kilic, met “in a positive and constructive atmosphere,” their foreign ministries said in identical statements. The special envoys had “exchanged their preliminary views regarding the normalization process,” according to the statement. The “parties agreed to continue negotiations without preconditions aiming at full normalization (of relations),” the ministries stated. The date and location of the next meeting would be decided in “due time through diplomatic channels,” according to the statement.

Armenia and Turkey are at odds over several issues, including the mass killings of Armenians under the Ottoman Empire during World War I.

The already tense relations between the two neighbors deteriorated further in 2020, when Ankara backed Azerbaijan in a war between Armenia and the Republic of Azerbaijan over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region, which is internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan but has been populated by ethnic Armenians.

Azerbaijan and Armenia fought a six-week war in November 2020, which claimed more than 6,500 lives on both sides. Russia and Turkey deployed peacekeeping troops to the region to monitor the truce deal.

Ever since, Ankara and Yerevan stepped up efforts to improve relations, including the reciprocal appointment of special envoys.

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