Turkey and Armenia plan second round of talks in Vienna

Two countries are at odds over several issues but plan a second round of talks on February 24

An Armenian national flag near the border with Turkey. AFP
Beta V.1.0 - Powered by automated translation

Special envoys from Turkey and Armenia will hold a second round of talks on February 24 in Vienna to normalise ties after decades of animosity, the Turkish Foreign Ministry said on Thursday.

Last month in Moscow, Turkey and Armenia held what both hailed as "positive and constructive" talks, the first in more than a decade, raising hopes that diplomatic relations could be established and their land border reopened for the first time since 1993.

Turkey has had no diplomatic or commercial ties with its small eastern neighbour since the 1990s. The talks in Moscow were the first attempt to restore links since a 2009 peace accord that was never ratified.

Ankara has said it wants the normalisation talks to be held in Turkey or Armenia after the first round.

But its Foreign Ministry said on Thursday that the next meeting would be in Vienna, without elaborating.

The two countries are at odds over several issues, mainly the 1.5 million people Armenia says were killed in a genocide by Ottoman Turkish forces in 1915.

Turkey accepts that many Armenians living in the Ottoman Empire were killed in clashes with forces during the First World War, but contests the figures and denies the killings were systematic or constituted genocide.

Turkey also backed its ally Azerbaijan against ethnic Armenian forces in a 2020 conflict in which Baku regained large areas of land in the Nagorno-Karabakh territory.

But Ankara has since called for rapprochement between Baku and Yerevan.

As part of the normalisation process, Turkey and Armenia on Wednesday restarted commercial charter flights between Istanbul and Yerevan after two years.

Updated: February 03, 2022, 11:04 PM