Turkey, Armenia agree on road map towards normalized ties
Following Swiss-mediated talks, Turkey and Armenia have agreed to start internal political consultations towards the establishment of diplomatic ties and development of bilateral relations, a joint statement from the three countries said yesterday. The statement said internal political consultations on two protocols, one on the establishment of diplomatic relations and another on the development of bilateral relations between the Republic of Turkey and the Republic of Armenia, both initialed after talks mediated by Switzerland, would be completed within six weeks, and would later be submitted to the parliaments of the two countries for ratification. "Both sides will make their best efforts for the timely progression of the ratification in line with their constitutional and legal procedures," the statement said. It also said Turkey and Armenia are committed to pursuing their joint efforts with the assistance of Switzerland. "The two protocols provide for a framework for the normalization of their bilateral relations within a reasonable timeframe," the statement added. "The political consultations will be completed within six weeks, following which the two protocols will be signed and submitted to the respective parliaments for the ratification on each side." With the protocols, Turkey and Armenia confirmed mutual recognition of the existing border between the two countries as defined by the relevant international treaties, stressing their determination to open their common border at the end of the ongoing reconciliation process. The two countries reconfirmed their commitment, in their bilateral and international relations, to respect and ensure respect for the principles of equality, sovereignty, non-intervention in the internal affairs of other states, territorial integrity and inviolability of frontiers. Turkey and Armenia also condemned all forms of terrorism, violence and extremism irrespective of their cause, pledging to refrain from encouraging and tolerating such acts and to cooperate in combating them. The parties agreed to implement a set of confidence-building measures in various areas to normalize their relations, which have been strained since the invasion of Nagorno-Karabakh by Armenia in the early 1990s, causing Turkey to close its border and sever its diplomatic ties with the country. Under the protocols, the two countries will establish working groups and commissions to enhance relations in political, economic, energy, transportation, scientific, technical, and cultural areas and other fields, based on mutual interests and promoting cooperation between the two countries in international and regional organizations.