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Turkish, Armenian foreign ministers meet amid efforts to mend ties

Randy Mancini 4 Mar 12
Turkish FM Cavusoglu attends a news conference in Antalya
FILE PHOTO: Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu speaks during a news conference after meeting with his counterparts Russian Sergei Lavrov and Ukrainian Dmytro Kuleba, amid Russia's invasion of Ukraine, in Antalya, Turkey March 10, 2022. REUTERS/Murad Sezer

March 12, 2022

ANTALYA, Turkey (Reuters) – Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu and Armenian Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan met for talks in southern Turkey on Saturday as part of the neighbours’ efforts to mend ties after decades of animosity.

The two met at a diplomatic forum in Antalya. Turkey has had no diplomatic or commercial ties with Armenia since the 1990s but they held talks in January in a first attempt to restore links since a 2009 peace accord, which was never ratified.

The two countries are at odds over several issues, primarily the 1.5 million people Armenia says were killed in 1915 by the Ottoman Empire, the precursor to modern Turkey.

Armenia says the 1915 killings constitute a genocide. Turkey accepts that many Armenians living in the Ottoman Empire were killed in clashes with Ottoman forces during World War One, but contests the figures and denies killings were systematic or constitute genocide.

The two countries have said the January talks were “positive and constructive,” raising the prospect that ties could be restored and borders reopened.

Tensions flared during a 2020 war over the Nagorno-Karabakh territory. Turkey accused ethnic Armenian forces of occupying land belonging to Azerbaijan. Turkey has since called for a rapprochement, as it seeks greater regional influence.

(Reporting by Tuvan Gumrukcu; Writing by Daren Butler; Editing by Mark Potter)