Cargo flights between Turkey, Armenia to start soon - report
Turkey and Armenia passed into the second phase in the normalization process as officials discuss the start of cargo flights the opening of the Alican Border Crossing between the countries before the new year, Turkish newspaper Hurriyet reported.
In February after months of talks between delegations, passenger flights between Istanbul and Yerevan started.
The officials said that after the agreement, Armenia will stop obtaining Turkish goods via Georgia but import directly from Turkey.
Sources said that one other point currently debated is the opening of the Alican Border Crossing, which connects the neighboring countries with a 128-meter-long bridge. However, due to being closed nearly for three decades, the bridge became unserviceable.
“The bridge has to be repaired,” the officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity. “Talks to repair the bridge started some weeks ago,” they added.
However, the officials do not expect to have a result in the near future as the snowy weather is an obstacle for construction work.
The third phase of the normalization process will be the talks on starting direct trade between the two countries.
“Technical works have already started on that, too,” the officials added.
When Armenia gained its independence in 1991, Turkey was one of the first to recognize the country. However, Turkey closed its land borders with Armenia in 1993 due to the Armenian occupation of Nagorno-Karabakh, where the majority of the population is Armenian. The borders have remained closed and the countries stopped diplomatic ties ever since.
The normalization process aims to allow the establishment of diplomatic ties, the opening of sealed borders, and starting of economic, trade and transportation projects between the two nations.