Pashinyan Again Consults with Erdogan

Pashinyan Again Consults with Erdogan

Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan discussed Turkish-Armenian relations and regional security with Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in a phone call reported by the Armenian government late on Tuesday.

Erdogan’s office did not release a statement or comment on the conversation. The official Armenian readout provided no specific details on the “recent developments of the regional and international agenda” discussed by the two leaders.

The readout stated that both Erdogan and Pashinyan “emphasized their political will to fully normalize relations between Armenia and Turkey without any preconditions.” They underscored the importance of continued contacts between their special envoys and “reaffirmed” their commitment to the agreements reached in 2022.

One of these agreements involves opening the Turkish-Armenian border for holders of diplomatic passports and citizens of third countries. However, Ruben Rubinian, the Armenian official who negotiated the agreement with senior Turkish diplomat Serdar Kilic, noted as recently as June 11 that unlike Yerevan, Ankara has not taken steps to implement it.

Erdogan and other Turkish leaders have consistently linked further progress in the normalization process to the signing of an Armenian-Azerbaijani peace accord sought by Azerbaijan. They have also demanded that Armenia open an extraterritorial corridor to Azerbaijan’s Nakhichevan exclave.

While Yerevan continues to reject these demands, Pashinyan’s political opponents argue that he is willing to not only accept them but also compromise on the issue of the 1915 Armenian genocide in the Ottoman Empire, which Ankara denies. Pashinyan faced criticism for his statement on April 24 during the official commemorations of the 109th anniversary of the genocide.

In that statement, Pashinyan did not call for wider international recognition of the genocide, instead suggesting that Armenians should “overcome the trauma” caused by the World War One-era extermination of approximately 1.5 million of their ethnic kin.

Earlier in April, Andranik Kocharian, a senior pro-government lawmaker, called for “verifying” the number of genocide victims and clarifying the circumstances of their deaths. He claimed that Pashinyan wants to “make the entire list of compatriots subjected to genocide more objective.” Facing an uproar from Armenian opposition leaders, civil society figures, and genocide scholars, Kocharian later claimed he was expressing his personal opinion.