As has become the norm in the context of the newly-started process of normalization of relations between Yerevan and Ankara, Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Çavuşoğlu made statements regarding the future of the process in an attempt of set the agenda on the talks and, at times, force official Yerevan’s hand to discuss certain issues.
This time, following a meeting for the Central African Republic foreign minister, Çavuşoğlu said the the special envoys, appointed by the leaders of Armenia and Turkey, will discuss further steps, adding that Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan is poised to attend a diplomatic summit in Antalyan, Turkey in March.
“The normalization process we started with Armenia and supported by Azerbaijan, continues with confidence-building steps. The tete-a-tete meeting of our special envoys was held in Moscow. They met directly, without any mediator. It is true that the host country, Russia, hosted both of them during the dinner, for which we thank them. After the first familiarization meeting, the special envoys will discuss further steps together,” Çavuşoğlu said, noting that from February, one Turkish and one Armenian airline will start operating Istanbul-Yerevan-Istanbul flights.
He stated that at present 50 countries have confirmed their participation in the Antalya Diplomatic Forum, with 45 of them being represented by their foreign ministers, while another five being represented by deputy foreign ministers. Çavuşoğlu added that representatives of more than 30 international organizations (NATO, EU) will also participate.
“We want to bring diplomacy, dialogue to the forefront, to discuss existing issues, to bring forward visions for the future…,” said Çavuşoğlu.
“We have invited the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Armenia and the Special Representative Ruben Rubinyan. Recently Pashinyan said that they [Armenia] may participate in the forum. We will be happy, because Azerbaijan is also coming. Let Azerbaijan and Armenia present their opinions,” said the Turkish Foreign Minister, who did not rule out that Armenia’s prime minister might visit Antalya.
On Monday, during a virtual press conference, Pashinyan sounded upbeat about Armenia’s attendance of the conference, despite the fact that his foreign ministry had publicly acknowledged the invitation but had said that it was assessing its options.
Eduard Aghajanyan, the chair of the parliament’s foreign affairs committee, said Thursday that a final decision on whether Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan or Rubinyan, the special envoy, will participate in the Antalyan summit.
“As of this moment there is no final decision about the participation,” said Aghajanyan, a member of Pashinyan’s Civil Contract party.