Turkey, Armenia to hold second round of normalization talks in Vienna

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Special envoys from Turkey and Armenia, who met for the first time in Moscow last month in a bid to repair historically strained ties, will have their second meeting in the Austrian capital of Vienna in late February, according to the Turkish and Armenian foreign ministries.

Both ministries announced in statements on Thursday that the special envoys, Armenian envoy Ruben Rubinyan and his Turkish counterpart, Serdar Kılıç, will have their second meeting in Vienna on Feb. 24.

Armenia and Turkey have no diplomatic relations, a closed border and a long history of hostility rooted in mass killings of Armenians under the Ottoman Turks during World War I.

Following their first meeting in Moscow on Jan. 14, the “parties agreed to continue negotiations without preconditions aiming at full normalization [of relations],” the ministries said in identical statements.

Historically tense ties between the two countries deteriorated further in 2020, when Turkey backed Azerbaijan in its war with Armenia for control of the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region.

The 2020 conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh, an ethnic Armenian enclave in Azerbaijan, claimed more than 6,500 lives. It ended with a Russian-brokered ceasefire under which Armenia ceded to Azerbaijan territories it had controlled for decades.

Armenia and Turkey have since stepped up efforts to improve relations, including the reciprocal appointment of special envoys.

Yerevan announced in December that it was lifting an embargo on Turkish goods that it had imposed in retaliation for Ankara supporting Azerbaijan in the Karabakh conflict.

In addition, two budget airlines from the countries started flights between Yerevan and İstanbul on Feb. 2 as part of efforts aimed at normalization.

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