The second phase of normalization of ties between Turkiye and Armenia has started, with the Turkish and Armenian officials discussing the start of cargo flights before New Year’s and the opening of the Alican Border Crossing.
According to local news reports,the normalization process between Ankara and Yerevan is “ongoing cautiously.”
On Feb. 2, the first passenger flights between Istanbul and Yerevan started after months of talks. Now the officials are coming to an end of talks to start the cargo flights between the two countries.
The officials familiar with the talks said the cargo flights “might start” before Dec. 31, the end of this year.
Armenia was obtaining Turkish goods via Georgia. With the start of the cargo flights, the Turkish goods will be “flown” to Armenia directly, the officials highlighted.
One other aspect that the officials are discussing is the opening of the Alican Border Crossing, which has been closed since April 1993.
The Alican Border Crossing in the eastern province of Iğdır connects the two countries with a 128-meter-long bridge. However, due to being closed nearly for three decades, the bridge became unserviceable.
“The bridge has to be repaired,” the officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity. “Talks to repair the bridge started some weeks ago,” they added.
However, the officials do not expect to have a result in the near future as the snowy weather is an obstacle for construction work.
The third phase of the normalization process will be the talks on starting direct trade between the two countries.
“Technical works have already started on that, too,” the officials added.
Turkiye and Armenia have not established diplomatic ties since the early 1990s after the latter gained independence. Armenia’s occupation of Azerbaijani territories in Nagorno-Karabakh was the primary reason for Turkiye sealing the borders with Armenia and not establishing normal ties with it.
The normalization process aims to allow the establishment of diplomatic ties, the opening of sealed borders, and starting of economic, trade and transportation projects between the two nations.
Armenian Foreign Minister Ararat Mizroyan came to Turkiye in March to attend the Antalya Diplomacy Forum, where he held a bilateral meeting with Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu.
Turkiye appointed Ambassador Serdar Kılıç for the talks, and according to sources, Kılıç met Armenian Parliament Deputy Speaker Ruben Rubinyan three times in Vienna and once in Moscow during the process.
Local reports indicated in August that the “two have talked on the phone more than 500 times to date.”