Relations between hostile neighbours Turkey and Armenia have taken a turn for the better with the two countries’ agreeing to hold talks on establishing diplomatic ties.
It was last year’s unprecedented meeting between their leaders in the Armenian capital which began the slow improvement after almost a century of bitter mistrust. Now a communique has provided details of how relations can be normalised, scheduling six weeks of talks to produce protocols to be ratified by both parliaments. At the moment the neighbours have no diplomatic ties and a closed border. Armenia has been pressing for this to change. President Serzh Sarksyan had vowed not to repay the complement to Turkey’s President Abdullah Gul and travel to Ankara for the return leg of last year’s world cup qualifying football match unless concrete progress was made. The two countries’ dispute centres on the fate of Armenians under Turkish Ottoman rule nearly a century ago. Turkey refuses to recognise the mass killing of Armenians during the First World War as an act of genocide.