Armenia is ready to establish diplomatic relations with Turkey but without any preliminary conditions concerning Nagorno-Karabakh, Armenia’s acting Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said on Monday.
“We are ready to establish direct relations with Turkey without any preliminary conditions and hope that Turkey takes the same position,” he said.
“However, relations with Turkey are linked with the problem of Nagorno-Karabakh, and a third country. I mean Azerbaijan,” he noted.
While visiting Baku in September, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that relations with Armenia could not be improved until the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict was settled. In his words, Armenia should not count on opening the border with Turkey as long as “it is occupying 20% of Azerbaijan’s territory and is hampering the return of one million Azerbaijanis to their home land.”
The conflict between neighboring Armenia and Azerbaijan over the highland region of Nagorno-Karabakh, a disputed territory that had been part of Azerbaijan before the Soviet Union break-up but was mainly populated by Armenians, broke out in the late 1980s.
In 1991-1994, the confrontation spilled over into large-scale military action for control over the enclave and some adjacent territories after Azerbaijan lost control of them. Thousands left their homes on both sides in a conflict that killed 30,000. A truce was called between Armenia and the Nagorno-Karabakh republic on one side and Azerbaijan on the other in May 1994.
Talks on the Nagorno-Karabakh settlement have been held since 1992 in the format of the so-called OSCE Minsk Group, comprising along with its three co-chairs – Russia, France and the United States – Belarus, Germany, Italy, Sweden, Finland and Turkey.