Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has announced that Armenia’s Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan has requested a meeting, via a message transmitted by the Georgian prime minister.
En route to the United Nations General Assembly in New York, Erdogan responded to a series of questions by journalists.
According to Anadolu, the state news agency, Erdogan responded to a question by a journalist about an earlier statement by the Armenian prime minister that he will not allow a transit corridor between Azerbaijan and Nakhichevan, its exclave to the west of Armenia.
“Opening or not opening such a transit corridor is a political issue. One wonders – on the one hand he [Armenia’s prime minister] makes such a statement. On the other hand he wants to meet with me. If he wants to meet with Erdogan, then he must take certain steps. We’re not opposed to diplomacy. In fact, he has communicated through the Georgian prime minister his desire to meet me,” said Erdogan, adding that for that to happen, Armenia must demonstrate a positive approach.
“If the Georgian prime minister conveys such a request and undertakes steps towards a new process, I will demonstrate my sincerity and begin negotiations. When there is diplomacy, of course, one must give and take. I hope that in this matter, the positive approaches outweigh the negative. Thus, I am hopeful that the problem of transit corridors between Armenia and Azerbaijan will be overcome,” Erdogan reportedly said.
Commenting on this latest development, a former Armenian foreign ministry official observed: “Turkey is up to its games again. It is always Armenia that must take ‘some positive steps’. Erdogan says this even as Turkey continues to keep closed an international border between countries at peace. One wonders about the ‘sincerity’ of his readiness to negotiate. At the same time, it is unclear why Armenia would make such an overture through Georgia, and not a country with whom Turkey has a different, more conditional, level of relationship. Why not France or the US? The messenger country’s role in something like this is extremely important. Erdogan clearly did not think Georgia’s request and role in this mattered sufficiently to maintain confidentiality. All this means Armenia is heading towards a difficult negotiation.”