In the early 20th century, the Caucasus region was an arena for a fierce competition between Russia and Great Britain that threatened to spill over into world war. Today, Armenia and Turkey are working together to normalize relations and rebuild trust. There has already been slow but steady progress in the normalization process between Turkey and Armenia, which both sides agreed to last year.
Their foreign ministers met in March; In July, the countries agreed to allow for air cargo flights between the two countries but did not set a start date, and recent reports say that Turkey is open to having its envoy travel to Armenia for meetings.
Armenia and Turkey have been locked in antagonistic relations for centuries largely due to their respective historical claims to the same territory – now known as the Republic of Armenia – but also because of the Armenian Genocide during World War I, which led many Armenians to view Turks with distrust. Until recently, these historical conflicts have made it difficult for Armenia and Turkey to pursue stronger bilateral relations. However, both countries are reportedly coming together in an effort to rebuild trust.
First and foremost, historical grievances toward Armenians have created mistrust between the two countries, which has made it difficult for them to pursue cooperation. However, both countries have an opportunity to normalize relations and improve ties by focusing on shared goals, including resolving the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict has been a key obstacle to stronger relations between Armenia and Turkey. The two countries have been trying to negotiate a solution to the dispute for years, but have yet to see any significant progress. If Turkey and Armenia can successfully negotiate a solution to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, it could be a major step toward normalizing relations between the two countries.
Turkey and Armenia have already taken their first steps toward normalization. In April 2018, Armenia and Turkey signed a joint declaration that laid the groundwork for a path toward normalization, including an agreement to open the border between the two countries. From there, the two countries established a bilateral committee to work on lifting the blockade on the border, building trust, and discussing other key issues. In September, the Armenian and Turkish foreign ministers met again to address issues related to the normalization of relations, including the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, their strategic partnership, and the opening of the border between the two countries.
In order to ensure the success of their joint declaration, the two countries will have to work to build trust between the two countries and overcome centuries of historical antagonism. If the two countries can make progress on these fronts, it could mark an important step toward normalization. In order to successfully build trust, the two countries should work to resolve the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and reopen the border between Armenia and Turkey. If the two countries can resolve the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, they’ll be well on their way to normalizing relations, and the border could be reopened by the end of the year.
The Caucasus region was the site of fierce competition between Russia and Great Britain in the early 20th century, but the area has since seen a decline in strategic competition. However, Russia’s growing influence in the region could threaten progress toward normalization between Armenia and Turkey. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russia has been a major player in the Caucasus region, and Moscow has retained economic and political influence over Georgia and Armenia. If relations between Turkey and Armenia remain antagonistic, Russia could exploit the situation to its advantage and bolster its influence in the Caucasus region. If Armenia and Turkey can normalize relations, it could help prevent Russia from gaining more influence in the region.
The Caucasus region has seen a lot of significant geopolitical developments in recent years, including the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and the rise of Russian influence in the region. If Turkey and Armenia can normalize relations, it could be a significant development toward peace in the area, but it will take significant effort to overcome centuries of historical antagonism.
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