Turkish President congratulates Sargsyan on his re-election. Managing relations with Turkey will be Sargsyan's biggest foreign policy challenge in the next years.
21 February 2013

The Turkish President Abdullah Gül has congratulated Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan after the latter's re-election as President for the second five year term.

"According to the information received from the presidency, Gül sent a message of congratulation to Sargsyan," Anatolia news agency reported yesterday, without giving any further detail.

The two leaders were key figures in the now-stalled rapprochement process between the two countries. The process began with Sargsyan's invitation to Gül to an Armenia-Turkey World Cup qualifying football match in Yerevan in 2008. The two countries have never had diplomatic relations, and Ankara closed its border with Yerevan in 1993 because of its war with Azerbaijan. In October 2009, Armenian and Turkish officials initiated the protocols to normalize the relations between the two countries. However, the protocols have not been ratified since then and have faced immense criticism in both countries.

In an interview with the Azerbaijani news portal this morning, Dennis Sammut, Director of the British organisation LINKS and a long time observer of the region said that managing relations with Turkey will be Sargsyan's biggest foreign policy challenge for the next years. He said:

"We can expect continuity in the main thrust of Armenian foreign policy but with some nuanced changes. Armenia will remain a close ally of Russia and will push for an increase in the role of the Collective Security Treaty Organisations (CSTO). In the economic sphere however Armenia will develop its relations with the European Union. It is likely that Armenia will sign an Association Agreement with the EU in November of this year. The big question is Armenia's relations with Turkey. How to manage this is Sargsyan's biggest challenge."

You can read the interview in full here.