Turkey moves to normalize Armenia ties in bid to please US President Biden

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Turkey will work to normalize ties with Armenia and start charter flights to its capital city of Yerevan, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Monday, according to state-run TRT TV.

“We will mutually appoint envoys as part of normalization steps with Armenia, Cavusoglu said during a speech in parliament, adding that Ankara will coordinate its steps with Azerbaijan. “We will start charter flights to Yerevan, the capital of Armenia.

Turkey’s surprise overture is in line with a request by President Joe Biden, who urged Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan during an October meeting in Rome to open the country’s border with landlocked Armenia, a senior Turkish official previously told Bloomberg. Turkey closed its border with Armenia in 1993 to protest Armenia’s war with Azerbaijan at the time, which ended a year later.

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Turkey hopes that taking steps to normalize ties with Armenia will help Ankara improve its strained relations with Washington over its purchase of Russia air defenses. After the meeting between Biden and Erdogan, the two countries set up a mechanism to address issues that have poisoned relations between the two NATO allies that share broader security and economic interests.

Erdogan could reap major benefits from any foreign policy move that helps to stabilize the economy as skyrocketing inflation threatens his popularity ahead of the 2023 vote.

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