Erdogan blames Armenian diaspora for hindering normalization between Armenia and Turkey
The Armenian diaspora living in France and the US hamper the efforts to normalize Turkey’s ties with Armenia, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said on Thursday, on his way to Uzbekistan for a summit of Turkic countries in Uzbekistan.
"The diasporas are constantly working against it, both in France and in the US," he said, suggesting that Armenia could turn "the negative effects of these diasporas into a positive direction."
"If the Armenian administration achieves this, of course, the steps they will take with Azerbaijan over both Lachin and Zangezur (corridors), will positively affect the steps we will take," added the Turkish leader. "We strive to make friends, not enemies."
The Lachin corridor is a road that links Armenia and the Karabakh region under an agreement that ended a 44-day war between Armenia and Azerbaijan in fall 2020, currently patrolled by Russian peacekeeping forces.
Also agreed upon in the cease-fire, the Zangezur route is a planned link through Armenian territory to connect Azerbaijan and its exclave of Nakhchivan.
Last month, Erdogan and Armenia's Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan met for the first time in years on the sidelines of a European summit.
The meeting was considered an important step for the normalization process between Turkey and Armenia as well as for a permanent peace between Armenia and Azerbaijan.
During the meeting, the sides underscored the need for rapid implementation of agreements, in particular, the agreements regarding opening of the land border for citizens of third countries and direct air cargo shipments between Armenia and Turkey.
Armenia wants the borders opened as soon as possible. In return, Turkey takes cautious steps in coordination with Baku and intends to carry out the normalization process in parallel with the efforts to find a permanent peace agreement between Yerevan and Baku.