A segment of Armenian society is in favor of peace and normalization of ties with Turkey, according to the head of an Armenian think tank.
There is a three-way split in public opinion in Armenia about peace with Turkey, Benyamin Poghosyan, director of the Center for Political and Economic Strategic Studies, told Anadolu Agency.
“There is one faction that is entirely opposed to any sort of normalization with Turkey, largely due to their recent conflicts rather than the historical disputes,” he said.
A second group believes direct dialogue between Armenia and Turkey, not through mediators, is necessary to resolve outstanding issues, but they still harbor hostility toward Turkey for its support to Azerbaijan, Poghosyan added.
“The third group supports Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan’s views on relations with Turkey. They are in favor of overlooking Turkey’s role in last year’s Karabakh conflict and opening new channels for dialogue to achieve peace and normalization,” he explained.
Turkey’s support was critical for Azerbaijan in the 44-day conflict with Armenia over Karabakh that erupted last September.
By the time a Russian-brokered agreement brought the fighting to an end on Nov. 10, Baku had liberated several cities and 300 settlements and villages that were illegally occupied by Armenia for almost 30 years.
Over the past year, Ankara has repeatedly urged Yerevan to check its hostile approach and work for regional peace.
In August, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan advised Armenia to acknowledge reality and take advantage of new opportunities created by Azerbaijan’s liberation of Upper Karabakh.
“If Armenia moves in line with this, Turkey will also act accordingly,” he said.
Pashinyan acknowledged the “positive signals” coming from Ankara, hinting in October at “starting a conversation with the aim of normalizing our relations with Turkey.”
Most recently, Turkey’s Defense Minister Hulusi Akar urged Armenia to “take the hand of peace extended by Turkey and Azerbaijan.”
“There are conflicts and troubles in many parts of the world, but the places where people have come together for talks and to find political solutions are now much safer and more prosperous,” he said in a November visit to Baku.
“If Armenia understands this, makes the necessary contributions and responds positively, serious progress can be made in terms of both security and welfare.”
* Writing by Dilan Pamuk in Ankara