Special envoys from Turkey and Armenia will meet in Moscow today to discuss establishing diplomatic relations between the two countries.
Armenia and Turkey have never had diplomatic relations due to historical enmity. Armenia asserts that Ottoman Turkey was responsible for the 1915 Armenian Genocide, which resulted in the deaths of an estimated 1.5 million Armenians. More recently, Turkey fully supported Azerbaijan in its six-week war with Armenia over Nagorno-Karabakh in 2020.
While historic, today’s talks are unlikely to conclude with a ratifiable diplomatic relations agreement. The most realistic path to establishing relations remains Turkey acknowledging its role in the 1915 genocide—highly unlikely given the importance the modern Turkish state places on Ottoman Turkey as its historical legacy.
Nevertheless, there are steps Armenia and Turkey may take to improve relations in the medium-term. Most notably, as mediator of the talks Russia could use its own influence to remind the parties of the economic and security incentives to establishing ties—such as easier cross-border trade and channels to resolve security crises before they lead to armed conflict. Effective Russian diplomatic guidance could lead to progress toward an economic agreement that may later help lay the foundation for a diplomatic agreement.
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Nick is the Director of the Daily Brief and a contributing Senior Analyst to it. An attorney, his areas of expertise include international law, international and domestic criminal law, security affairs in Europe and the Middle East, and human rights.