Turkish Press: Çavuşoğlu: Special envoys of Turkey, Armenia to meet in Moscow

BIAnet, Turkey
Dec 27 2021

Çavuşoğlu: Special envoys of Turkey, Armenia to meet in Moscow

Seeking to normalize relations, the two countries appointed special envoys mid-December.

Turkish Press: Turkish, Armenian special envoys to hold normalisation talks in Russia

Dec 27 2021
Moscow is set to host the first meeting between Turkish and Armenian special envoys to discuss steps for normalising ties between the two countries.

Speaking at a year-end evaluation of Turkiye's foreign policy, Turkiye's Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Monday the special envoys of each country should first speak over the phone and decide on the date and place of a face-to-face meeting.

"Our impression is that the first meeting will take place in Moscow, as Armenia desires. Aside from the first meeting, we also want communication to be held directly … We have mutually appointed special envoys to speak directly," Cavusoglu said.

He said a roadmap towards normalising ties needed to be set, adding that this would be on the first meeting's agenda.

Noting that charter flights between Turkiye and Armenia would soon begin, he reiterated that Turkiye was pursuing its normalisation discussions in consultation and coordination with Azerbaijan.

READ MORE: Turkiye, Armenia resume flights as normalisation looms

Positive rhetoric

Armenia's rhetoric has so far been positive, said the Turkiye's top diplomat, adding that Turkiye wanted to action, as well.

Citing the attempts in 2009 by Turkiye and Armenia to normalise relations, Cavusoglu said that though this previous attempt had been conducted in "good faith," the new process was separate.

"Within the framework of this process, new steps must be taken to normalise relations. This will be important for the stability, peace, and prosperity of the Caucasus," he said.

On December 15, Turkiye appointed Serdar Kilic, a former ambassador to the US, as its special envoy to discuss steps for normalisation with Armenia. 

Three days later, Armenia also appointed its special representative for dialogue with Turkiye, Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly Ruben Rubinyan.

READ MORE: Turkiye, Armenia appoint special envoys for normalisation talks

Azerbaijan supports normalisation

Azerbaijan "fully supports" the normalisation of relations between neighboring Turkiye and Armenia, the Azerbaijani foreign minister said on Monday.

Speaking at a year-end evaluation of Azerbaijan's foreign policy, Jeyhun Bayramov said Azerbaijan and Turkiye favor relations with all countries on the basis of international law.

“The basis for the normalisation of interstate relations can only be international law,” he said. 

“Both Azerbaijan and Turkiye have always shown this attitude. We’re in favor of improving our relations with all countries and neighbors on the basis of international law, and we are doing this. The exception so far on this list has been Armenia. We offer the same proposal to Armenia.”

New Azerbaijani propaganda video aims to alienate Orthodox Christians from Armenians

Dec 27 2021

Azerbaijan has attempted to present Armenians as responsible for vandalizing a Russian Orthodox Cathedral in Artsakh.

The video, made by a Russian-Azeri woman who belongs to the party of dictator Ilham Aliyev and is a deputy head of the youth branch, attempts to to alienate the Russian Orthodox church from Armenians.

Now, it’s Greek translation and uploaded by the Azeri Ambassador to his YouTube channel, clearly demonstrates the nasty intentions of these falsifiers and deniers of history.

Artsakh has always been proud of the Monuments of Religious and Cultural Heritage that are in its territory and considers them as part of its Historical and Cultural heritage.

The Armenians of Artsakh also pay special attention to the work of protecting and preserving the monuments of Russian religious and cultural heritage.

Noteworthy, the Republic of Artsakh’s annual state budget provides for spending on the preservation and restoration of Historical and Cultural monuments.

The Russian church Surp Astvatzin / Saint Astvatzin is located in Gevorgavan in the Martuni area of Artsakh Republic.

The church was built more than 100 years ago by immigrants from Russia. The church was made of limestone and it is yellow in the appearance.

It has two entrances, that open from the west and north sides. The number of windows is more than two dozen. The parishioners were Russian settlers.

In 1989, restoration began of the church began, which were stopped due to the aggression that Azerbaijan unleashed against Artsakh and in which the church suffered major damage again.

Before the war started in 2020, the government of Artsakh worked on the church restoration plan and was looking for a sponsor to start work on the church restoration.

Thus, the propaganda material by the Azerbaijani Embassy in Greece, with its translation in Greek regarding the allegation against the Russian Orthodox religious sites, is another provocation that is baseless and riddled with fake information aimed at spreading hatred against Armenians.

More disturbingly, the Azerbaijani Embassy in Athens is once again trying to undermine and put a wedge in Armenia’s relationship with Greece and other friendly countries.

Azerbaijan, which deliberately destroys cultural monuments, is trying with baseless accusations to hide the numerous cases of vandalism that itself has committed.

It must be noted that on December 7, 2021 the International Court of Justice, in the context of the case – Armenia against Azerbaijan, judged that Azerbaijan must first of all “take all necessary measures to prevent discrimination and its incitement, including by its officials and public institutions.”

On the other hand, the Court requires Azerbaijan to “Take all necessary measures to prevent and punish acts of vandalism and desecration towards Armenian cultural heritage, including churches and other places of worship, monuments, landmarks, cemeteries and artifacts.”

Contrary to the decisions of the International Court of Justice, Azerbaijani officials continue the targeted spread of racial hatred and take no measures to prevent the destruction of the Armenian cultural heritage lawlessness.


Turkey’s overtures to Armenia can help heal US rift

ARAB NEWS, Saudi Arabia
Dec 26 2021


At a time when Turkey and Armenia have taken steps toward a rapprochement in their problematic relationship, there are also positive signs from Ankara regarding a normalization of relations with Israel. What impact can a potential improvement in Turkey’s ties with Armenia and Israel, two countries that have close relations with the US and influential lobbies in Washington, have on the Ankara-Washington connection?

In an apparent breakthrough in the long-standing deadlock between Ankara and Yerevan, the two neighbors pledged to appoint special envoys to pave the way for the normalization of relations after nearly three decades of enmity. Turkey appointed former Washington ambassador Serdar Kilic as a special representative, while Armenia appointed Deputy Parliamentary Speaker Ruben Rubinyan as its envoy.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken welcomed the steps, saying the US strongly supports statements made by both countries’ ministries of foreign affairs. Recently Bloomberg, citing a senior Turkish official, reported that Turkey’s surprise approach to Armenia was in line with a request by US President Joe Biden, who urged his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan during an October meeting in Rome to open the country’s border with its landlocked neighbor.

Since Biden took office, Ankara has been looking for ways to build a consensus with Washington. Relations between the two NATO members have suffered in the past decade over a number of issues. Biden, on several occasions, has put the Turkey-Armenia relationship on the agenda and expressed his interest in the subject. In April, he became the first US president to describe the events in Armenia in 1915 as “genocide,” a move that was immediately denounced by Ankara, which claims both sides suffered casualties in what it claims was a tragic conflict.

The Turkish leader said that Biden’s statement opened a “deep wound” in bilateral relations between the NATO allies. Biden’s comments, which broke away from decades of carefully calibrated language from the White House, came at a time when Ankara and Washington were experiencing deep policy differences in several areas.

It is important to recall that Israel is one of the US allies that has not recognized the 1915 events as “genocide” and also supported Azerbaijan in its war with Armenia last year over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region.

Sinem Cengiz

According to the Bloomberg report, Turkey’s overtures to Armenia will help Ankara improve its strained relations with Washington over its purchase of the Russian S-400 missile defense system. However, the issue is too complicated to be settled by Turkey’s shifting regional policies, and Armenia is unlikely to be a significant game-changer in this area. Nevertheless, the new impetus between Ankara and Yerevan is still highly significant considering Turkey’s weakened position within NATO and its tensions with the US. Overall, Ankara’s move toward a diplomatic engagement with Armenia is a plus for Turkey’s foreign policy and a positive development that should not be underestimated.

Ankara’s diplomatic overtures could be read as part of a new Turkish regional policy based on de-escalation with former rivals, including Egypt and the UAE. Ankara is also sending positive signs to Israel following the change in leadership in Tel Aviv. Erdogan highlighted improving ties between Turkey and Israel during a meeting with members of the Jewish community in Turkey and the Alliance of Rabbis in the Islamic States at the presidential complex in Ankara recently. In early December, the Turkish leader said Ankara could mend its relations with Israel if Tel Aviv respects Turkish concerns about Palestine, Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa Mosque.

An end to the split between Turkey and Israel, Washington’s closest partner in the Middle East, is of great importance to the US, especially at a time when it plans to gradually withdraw from the region. Ankara considers the strong pro-Israel lobby in Washington as a valuable asset whose support could be even more important in the future. In the past, it was not only Turkey’s alliance with the US that prevented American presidents from designating the 1915 events as a “genocide,” but also the pro-Israel lobby, which backed Turkey on this subject.

When it comes to lobbies in Washington, and diasporas in the world, it is safe to argue that the most important diaspora after the Jewish is the Armenian. The pro-Israel lobby had been a long-standing political partner of Turkey in Washington. However, with the deterioration of Turkish-Israeli relations, the support of the lobby also has declined. It is important to recall that Israel is one of the US allies that has not recognized the 1915 events as “genocide” and also supported Azerbaijan in its war with Armenia last year over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region.

The changing geopolitical landscape — a new US administration, a new Israeli government, a new regional focus in Ankara, post-pandemic recovery challenges and the deteriorating economic situation in some countries — provides a window of opportunity for Turkey in its normalization of relations not only with regional countries and former foes, but also with the US.

• Sinem Cengiz is a Turkish political analyst who specializes in Turkey’s relations with the Middle East.

Bayramov reveals priorities in Azerbaijan-Armenia talks

Vestnik Kavkaza
Dec 27 2021
 27 Dec in 15:15

The Azerbaijani side stated its position and is ready to start the process of creating a working group on delimitation and demarcation of the border with Armenia, Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Jeyhun Bayramov said during a press conference following the results of 2021.

"The agenda includes issues of unblocking communications, delimitation and demarcation of borders, as well as issues of normalizing relations between Azerbaijan and Armenia. In addition, the priority task is to restore the liberated territories of Azerbaijan. In this process, we are faced with challenges and threats, in particular, because of the large number of mines," he said.

Bayramov noted that Azerbaijan will apply to international courts on a number of conventions in the near future. "These are conventions on the damage caused to the ecology and the environment in the territories liberated from occupation, as well as on the illegal use of energy resources and natural resources," the minister said.

Speaking about taking practical steps to fulfill the points of the trilateral statement, Bayramov noted that the Azerbaijani state, expressing its position, carried out work in this direction within the framework of existing platforms, as well as platforms created for this purpose in 2021.

“The main priority of foreign policy is the development of relations both in bilateral and multilateral formats and in the context of the new realities that have arisen after the 44-day second Karabakh war,” he said.

Public figures suggest sending doctors to Armenian PoWs in Baku

PanArmenian, Armenia
Dec 27 2021

PanARMENIAN.Net - Rector of the Yerevan State Medical University Armen Muradyan has revealed details from a recent meeting between Armenian and Azerbaijani public figures, in which he participated. According to him, the conversation only covered matters in the humanitarian field.

Armenian and Azerbaijani public figures recently met in Moscow, at a gathering organized with the mediation of Mikhail Shvydkoy, the special representative of the Russian President for international cultural cooperation. Muradyan, artistic director of Hovhannes Tumanyan State Puppet Theater Ruben Babayan, Director of the Stanislavsky Theater Marianna Mkhitaryan and filmmaker Harutyun Khachatryan participated in the meeting from the Armenian side.

Muradyan noted that the Armenian side has suggested sending a group of doctors to examine the prisoners of war still being held in Azerbaijan after the 44-day war.

Muradyan added that the Armenian delegation spoke about all the inhumane acts that the Armenian people have witnessed during the wars and after ceasefires, as well as raised the endangered Armenian historical and cultural heritage.

"The purpose of the meeting was to separate humanitarian issues from political and military ones. The meeting was tense, but within the limits of correctness," Muradyan said in a social media post on Sunday, December 26.

He also reminded that such meetings had last been organized in 2004, 2006 and 2008.

Turkey says wants direct contacts with Armenia "without intermediaries"

PanArmenian, Armenia
Dec 27 2021

PanARMENIAN.Net - Ankara is in favor of direct contacts with Yerevan without intermediaries, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told journalists on Monday, December 27, commenting on the upcoming meeting of Armenian and Turkish special representatives on normalizing relations.

"The Armenian side proposes holding a meeting of special representatives in Moscow. We are in favor of direct contacts with Armenia without intermediaries," Cavusoglu said.

"I hope that the special representatives of the two countries will develop a roadmap for dialogue that will be useful for establishing further contacts. I also hope that the positive signals voiced by the representatives of Armenia will serve as a basis for concrete steps."

He reminded that Turkey is closely coordinating its actions with Azerbaijan.

Armenia has named lawmaker from the ruling Civil Contract party Ruben Rubinyan as special envoy to work on the normalization of ties with Turkey. Ankara, meanwhile, has appointed former ambassador to the United States Serdar Kilic for the same role.

Kocharyan: Armenia has lost control over more territories than admitted

PanArmenian, Armenia
Dec 27 2021

PanARMENIAN.Net - Leader of the opposition Armenia alliance, ex-President Robert Kocharyan has described the year 2021 as a "complete failure", maintaining that nothing has improved in the past 12 months.

Addressing an end-of-the-year press conference on Monday, December 27, Kocharyan said that the authorities are talking about 40 square kilometers being under Azerbaijani control, but in reality the Armenian side has lost control over much larger areas.

Lawmaker from the ruling Civil Contract party Eduard Aghajanyan said in mid-November that the Azerbaijani military has occupied about 41 square kilometers of the territory of Armenia since violating the country's border in May.

"The demarcation with the use of GPS systems has led to the fact that the Azerbaijani troops have been positioned on the edge of their supposed border. We had to retreat at least from 500 meters to 1-1․5 km, in some places a little more. The same happened in the sections of Vardenis and Nakhijevan," Kocharyan said, according to Pastinfo.

"The whole area, from their positions to ours, is not controlled by us. We have lost control not only over that 40 square kilometers, but also over dozens of times larger areas."

The former President added that Armenia has lost the opportunity to use key roads and noted that nothing has been done during the year to increase the capacity of the army.

Azerbaijan "fully supports" Turkey-Armenia rapprochement

PanArmenian, Armenia
Dec 27 2021

PanARMENIAN.Net - Baku fully supports the normalization of relations between Ankara and Yerevan, Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Jeyhun Bayramov told a press conference on Monday, December 27.

"Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu noted that the country coordinates all actions with Azerbaijan," Bayramov said, according to Haqqin.az.

The Azerbaijani Foreign Minister also said that President Ilham Aliyev is a supporter of the normalization of relations and the signing of a peace treaty between Azerbaijan and Armenia.

Also Monday, Cavusoglu said Ankara is in favor of direct contacts with Yerevan without intermediarie. He also reminded that Turkey is closely coordinating its actions with Azerbaijan.

Armenia has named lawmaker from the ruling Civil Contract party Ruben Rubinyan as special envoy to work on the normalization of ties with Turkey. Ankara, meanwhile, has appointed former ambassador to the United States Serdar Kilic for the same role.

Karabakh parliament adopts declaration on Artsakh’s Armenian future

PanArmenian, Armenia
Dec 27 2021

PanARMENIAN.Net - The parliament of Nagorno-Karabakh (Artsakh) on Monday, December 27 adopted a declaration, slamming statements that "diminish the subjectivity of Artsakh and its Armenian future".

The declaration was adopted amid a spat between Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and Karabakh President Arayik Harutyunyan. Pashinyan said in a virtual press conference that the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Republic has never been viewed as an Armenian entity, but as an Armenian and Azerbaijani entity, at least in terms of population. Harutyunyan said in response that only the authorities of Artsakh are authorized to speak on behalf of the population of Artsakh.

The Karabakh lawmakers said throughout the chronicle of the Karabakh conflict, statements distorting and falsifying the essence of the problem have regularly been circulated, which complicate and entangle the process of comprehensive and final settlement of the conflict.

"It is confusing that the last such statement was made by the Prime Minister of the Republic of Armenia. The fate of Artsakh has never been and it will not be the monopoly of any political force. We express our disagreement and frustration on a number of harmful, distorted formulations and ideas voiced during the interview," the declaration said.

"The fact that against the background of Karabakh movement, the results of the 1988 national liberation struggle, formulations are heard, which question the existence of the Nagorno-Karabakh (Artsakh) Republic, proclaimed on September 2, 1991, which is fully acting in line with the norms of international law and its ongoing struggle for international recognition, is a matter of concern.

"The negotiation process of previous years, the legal and political framework of the Armenian parties, in the context of protecting our national interests, did not contradict the positions presented by international structures and mediators.

"The fact that the status of Nagorno-Karabakh has never been ignored in the proposals previously submitted by the mediators, is confirmed in the clarifications given by the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs.

"The working options discussed in the negotiation process of different years, speculations about a possible change in the negotiating framework are imaginary and false tricks to obscure the public consciousness, to distort the realities.

"We consider inadmissible the statements questioning the Armenian origin of Artsakh and emphasizing the importance of the presence of possible foreign elements. Such statements are reprehensible and worthy condemnation in the memory of the thousands of Armenians who sacrificed their lives for the freedom and independence of Artsakh.

"Bowing down to the memory of all those perished in the Artsakh struggle for survival, at the same time, we express our gratitude to all Armenians, particularly to our compatriots in Armenia, for standing by Artsakh, sharing its sufferings and deprivations.

"For many years, the fraternal relations between the two Armenian republics have been based on the decision adopted by the Supreme Council of the Republic of Armenia on July 8, 1992, which clearly defined the attitude of the Republic of Armenia, a full member of the international community, towards the Artsakh Republic, which is striving for international recognition. With this decision, the Republic of Armenia undertakes to "consistently support the Nagorno Karabakh Republic and the protection of the rights of its population". It is also defined to «consider any international or domestic document, where the Nagorno Karabakh Republic is mentioned as part of Azerbaijan, unacceptable for the Republic of Armenia». This resolution is still relevant today.

"The Republic of Artsakh National Assembly, reaffirming the determination of the people and authorities of Artsakh on the sovereignty and independence of the Artsakh Republic, declares unacceptable expressing a position without taking into account the point of view of the Artsakh authorities, as only the legitimate authorities formed by the citizens of the Artsakh Republic through elections have the right to make decisions on the future of Artsakh.