The Armenian diasporas in both France and the United States are negatively impacting the normalization process between Türkiye and Armenia, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Thursday, reports TurkicWorld with the reference Daily Sabah.
“Diasporas are working against the normalization process both in France and in the U.S. of course, negatively affect the process. It is the Armenian administration that will turn the negative works of these diasporas into positive ones,” Erdogan stressed.
Erdogan held a press conference in Ankara before his departure to Samarkand, Uzbekistan to attend the ninth summit of the Organization of Turkic States (OTS). He answered questions from members of the press about the relations between Türkiye and Armenia, which has been on the agenda lately.
Stating that he last met with Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian in Prague, Erdogan said that he told Pashinian, "If you manage relations with Azerbaijan in a positive direction, as Türkiye our relations with Armenia will proceed in a positive direction."
Stressing that he could not make a definite statement about the point reached in bilateral relations with Armenia, the president emphasized that Türkiye intends to make friends, not enemies.
“We are trying to make friends, not to make enemies. I hope that if the Armenian administration succeeds in this, the steps they will take with Azerbaijan regarding both Lachin and Zangezur will positively affect the steps we will take,” Erdogan added.
In January, Türkiye and Armenia held the first round of talks in more than 10 years, describing them as "positive and constructive" and raising the prospect of restoring ties and reopening borders.
Ankara has not had diplomatic or commercial ties with Armenia since the 1990s. The latest initiative is the first attempt to restore links since a 2009 peace accord that was never ratified.
Tensions flared during a 2020 war over the Karabakh territory. Türkiye accused Armenian forces of occupying land belonging to Azerbaijan, but it subsequently called for a rapprochement as it seeks regional stability and cooperation.
Despite Türkiye being one of the first countries to recognize Armenia's independence in 1991, the two countries have been divided on a range of issues, including Yerevan's occupation of Azerbaijani territories, the events of 1915 during the reign of the Ottoman Empire and the border closure between the two neighboring countries since 1993.
In 2021, Ankara and Yerevan mutually appointed special representatives to normalize ties.
Ankara has made frequent calls for a six-nation platform comprising of Türkiye, Russia, Iran, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Armenia for permanent peace, stability and cooperation in the region, describing it as a win-win initiative for all regional actors in the Caucasus. Türkiye believes that permanent peace is possible through mutual security-based cooperation between the states and people of the South Caucasus region.
Amid the normalization efforts, a commercial flight from Yerevan landed in Istanbul in February in the first such direct flight in two years.
Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavushoglu met his Armenian counterpart Ararat Mirzoyan at a diplomatic forum in southern Türkiye in March and said they had a very "productive and constructive" meeting.
That was the first sit-down meeting between the two countries' foreign ministers since 2009. They spoke briefly on the sidelines of an Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) meeting last November.
Erdogan has previously said Armenia needed to form good ties with Azerbaijan for the normalization effort to yield results.