The governments of Turkey and Armenia have agreed to allow nationals from other countries — but not yet their own — to cross the border between the two nations, the Turkish Foreign Ministry announced on Friday.
Their mutual border has been closed since 1993, when Armenia and Azerbaijan clashed following the fall of the Soviet Union. The Turkish and Azerbaijani majorities share a Turkic ethnic identity.
The plan to allow third-country nationals to cross the border "at the earliest date possible" is seen as the next step towards an eventual "full normalization" of the two neighbors, the countries said.
Path to restoring relations
Friday's announcement also included the news that the two states will allow for direct air cargo trade between them as soon as possible.
The move follows the restoration of diplomatic relations between Ankara and Yerevan in December last year, followed by talks between special envoys from the two countries in January that aimed at fully restoring ties "without precedence."
Their foreign ministers met in March for the first time in years. A fourth round of talks was held in Vienna on Friday.
Turkey and Armenia share a fraught common history largely due to the genocide of Turkey's once large Armenian minority in 1915.
Armenia has also historically fallen more into Russia's sphere of influence in the Caucasus, with Azerbaijan maintaining closer ties with Turkey.
A short war between Armenia and Azerbaijan in 2020 over the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh left hundreds dead.
Turkey's attempt to rebuild its relations with Armenia has, however, been made in coordination with Azerbaijan.
ab/sms (dpa, Reuters)