Armenia has been invited to attend the inauguration of Recip Tayip Erdogan as the new President of Turkey, that will take place in Ankara on Thursday, 28 August, and is likely to be represented by the Foreign Minister, Edward Nalbandian. This was announced by Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan on Monday.
Erdogan, who has been Prime Minister of Turkey for more than a decade will be sworn in in the presence of the members of the Turkish Parliament and delegations from many countries, including many headed by Presidents and Prime Ministers.
Armenia and Turkey do not presently have diplomatic relations between them, and efforts to normalise relations have been complicated by the ongoing conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabakh, and Armenian demands that Turkey recognise the atrocities committed in Anatolia at the begining of the 20th century as genocide. Armenia will mark the Anatolia massacres in April of next year.
The news of the invitation to an Armenian delegation for the inauguration, and of its acceptance by the Armenian side has been welcomed in the international community. Although there are no formal negotiations between the two sides at the moment it is known that diplomatic channels of communications, some facilitated by third parties, exist. The Presidential inauguration will offer another opportunity for the sides to exchange views.
No major changes are expected in Turkish foreign policy in the immediate future. However Erdogan is known to be much more outspoken in his statements about many issues, including support for the Palestinian people, and for the position of Azerbaijan over the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
image: Armenia Foreign Minister Nalbandian.
Street protests continued in Yerevan on Thursday (19 April), and over one hundred persons were detained by police. Protestors are angry at the appointment of Serzh Sargsyan as Prime Minister at the end of his ten year stint as the country's president