Turkey, Armenia normalisation could occur ‘faster than expected’, says opposition deputy

Garo Paylan, member of parliament from the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), told reporters on Wednesday that good faith and political will could allow for rapid normalisation in relations between Armenia and Turkey.

Paylan, who was born to an Armenian family in Istanbul, called on politicians from Turkey, Armenia and Azerbaijan to take responsibility “to have this window of opportunity result in peace”.

“I declare that I will take any and all responsibility in this regard, as a deputy in Turkey,” he said.

Azerbaijan, a historic ally to Turkey, has started peace talks with Armenia recently, following last year’s “tragic war”, Paylan said. “Especially in recent months, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev have been sending positive messages.”

The deputy had called a press conference following Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu’s comments on Monday that Turkey was appointing special representatives to kick-start a normalisation process with Armenia.

“It was a very important statement. I commend Mr Çavuşoğlu on this,” Paylan continued.

“We must decide on a road map for the normalisation, and it must start with measures to increase trust,” he said.

Çavuşoğlu also announced the start of charter flights between Yerevan and Istanbul.

“Flights starting is an important step. I believe economic relations must follow this step. And for that, the border gates must open,” Paylan said, also calling for the appointment of ambassadors from both countries.

Former ambassador to the United States Serdar Kılıç was appointed as special envoy later on Wednesday. Kılıç is known for his staunch opposition to the term ‘genocide’ being used for the events of 1915, when some 1.5 million Ottoman Armenians lost their lives.

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