Black Sea Headquarters to Host First Armenian Mission in Turkey

YEREVAN (RFE/RL)–The recent ratification by the Turkish parliament of an agreement with ten other member states of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation paves the way for the opening of a first-ever Armenian representation in Turkey–a senior official in Yerevan said on Monday. But he cautioned that it should not be viewed as the beginning of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries.

The agreement between Turkey and the BSEC whereby every member state–including Armenia–may open a permanent representation in the organization’s headquarters in Istanbul was signed last April in Moldova. Deputy Foreign Minister Armen Martirosian told RFE/RL that the Armenian government will have a mission in the Turkish city after sorting out all financial matters. But he added that even though Istanbul-based Armenian diplomats will "not avoid dealing with bilateral [Armenian-Turkish] issues," their main task will be to promote economic cooperation within the framework of the BSEC.

He said Ankara’s agreement to have an Armenian mission on its territory does not signify a change in its position on the normalization of relations with Yerevan. Successive Turkish governmen’s have made the normalization conditional on Armenia’s acceptance of Azeri sovereignty over Nagorno-Karabakh.

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