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Population of Armenia wants to normalize relations with Turkiye, says Armenian FM

People in Armenia support normalizing ties with Turkiye, the foreign minister of the South Caucasus nation told Anadolu Agency.

“Generally, the population of Armenia wants to normalize relations,” Ararat Mirzoyan said in a written interview after participating in the Antalya Diplomacy Forum, where he discussed the two countries’ normalization efforts with his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu in a landmark meeting.

Anadolu Agency served as the international communication partner of the three-day high-level forum that concluded on Sunday in the resort city of Antalya.

Mirzoyan said public opinion polls also reflected this popular support for rapprochement between the two countries long at odds over a range of issues.

Certain groups in both Armenian and Turkish societies are skeptical of normalization, he noted, underlining that officials on both sides should “take political leadership to address these issues.”

On Saturday, a meeting took place between Cavusoglu and Mirzoyan on the sidelines of the Antalya Diplomacy Forum. It was the first high-level visit from Armenia to Turkiye in a decade.

“During my meeting with Minister Cavusoglu, we have exchanged views on certain sensitivities and I hope that they will be taken into account,” Mirzoyan said.

backdrop to forum meeting

In the months running up to the Antalya Diplomacy Forum, both Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had exchanged public statements expressing readiness to launch talks between the two countries, later appointing special representatives for dialogue, the Armenian top diplomat noted.

The envoys from Turkiye and Armenia, Serdar Kilic and Ruben Rubinyan, held their first meeting on Jan. 14 in Moscow, and the second meeting in Vienna on Feb. 24, agreeing to continue negotiations without preconditions aimed at full normalization of the relations.

“I paid a visit to Antalya to participate in the Antalya Diplomatic Forum to reiterate once again the political will of the Government of the Republic of Armenia to achieve full normalization of relations,” said Mirzoyan, adding that this effort with Turkiye aimed to “open the era of peaceful and sustainable development in the region.”

Armenia ‘ready to establish diplomatic relations’

Asked about how the current normalization process was going, Mirzoyan said: “Overall, we consider it positive.”

“Armenia is ready to establish diplomatic relations and to the opening of the borders,” he stressed.

“I was glad to hear from my Turkish counterpart that there is a political will on their side to lead the process to that end as well,” he said.

“Amid the rapidly developing situation in the world, I do believe we should not hesitate to undertake concrete steps.”

On the benefits of the normalization process, the foreign minister said people were already benefiting from direct flights between Istanbul and the Armenian capital Yerevan.

“Opening of the borders will have its positive impact on the connectivity, trade and economic relations between the two countries, people to people contacts, and overall stability in the region,” he added.

On the possibility of reciprocal official visits between Turkiye and Armenia, he answered: “Needless to mention that if the process of normalization proceeds smoothly and we achieve positive results, mutual visits can take place.”