Turkey and Armenia to launch mutual charter flights as part of normalization efforts
The Xinhua reported that Turkish transport and infrastructure ministry announced on Wednesday that Turkey and Armenia will launch mutual charter flights between Istanbul and Yerevan on Feb. 2, as part of the normalization efforts between the two neighbors.
Turkish General Directorate of Civil Aviation has authorized Turkey's private carrier Pegasus to launch flights to Yerevan three times a week, while FlyOne Armenia airline will run reciprocal flights to Istanbul, the ministry said in a statement.
The ministry added that meanwhile, the mutual flights between Turkey's southeastern city of Gaziantep and Iraq's Erbil, to be executed by Turkey's AnadoluJet two times per week, will resume on Jan. 24.
Shortly after the COVID-19 pandemic began, Gaziantep-Erbil flights were stopped because of precautions.
Last week, the Turkish and Armenian envoys met in Moscow, aiming to end decades-old hostilities.
The Turkish foreign ministry said in a statement on Jan. 14: "During their first meeting, conducted in a positive and constructive atmosphere, the special representatives exchanged their preliminary views regarding the normalization process through dialogue between Turkey and Armenia."
The two parties agreed to continue negotiations "without preconditions aiming at full normalization," it said, adding the date and venue of their second meeting will be decided in due time through diplomatic channels.
Turkey appointed Serdar Kilic, a former ambassador to the United States, as the special representative, while Armenia dispatched Vice President of the National Assembly Ruben Rubinyan for talks.
The relations between Turkey and Armenia were severed in 1993 during the first war between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh, when Turkey closed the border with Armenia in support of Azerbaijan.
Turkey and Armenia made serious attempts to restore ties in 2008-2009, with American and Swiss intermediation, but the effort broke down amid mounting pressure from Azerbaijan.
In last year's war, Armenia lost control of the territories around Nagorno-Karabakh, providing a new impetus to restore ties between Ankara and Yerevan.