Istanbul: The Turkish president said on Sunday that his country is ready to negotiate with Armenia, but added that Yerevan needs to take steps to open a disputed transportation route through its territory.
Armenia and Turkey have never established diplomatic relations, and their common border has been closed since the 1990s.
Their relationship became strained by the mass killings of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire during World War I. Armenia insisted that these atrocities amounted to genocide.
As Turkey supports its regional ally, Azerbaijan, relations between the two countries have deteriorated. Azerbaijan competed with Armenia for control of the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region last year.
But earlier this month, Armenian Prime Minister Nicole Pashinyan stated that Yerevan was ready to discuss the restoration of relations with Ankara.
“If he (Pashinyan) would like to meet with Tayyip Erdogan, then certain steps should be taken,” Recep Tayyip Erdogan told reporters at an Istanbul airport before leaving for New York where he will attend the annual UN General Assembly meetings.
He was referring to the creation of a transit corridor that would have to go through Armenia to connect Azerbaijan to its Nakchivan enclave that borders Turkey and Iran.
“We are not closed to talks (with Armenia), we will hold the talks,” Erdogan said.
“I hope that not a negative but a positive approach will prevail there,” he said. “God willing, the problem between Azerbaijan and Armenia will be overcome with the opening of the corridors.”