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Armenian, Turkish leaders hold rare phone talks

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Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan on Wednesday held a rare phone call with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, his office said, as the arch foes sought to repair ties, Agence France-Presse reported.

Armenia and Turkey have never established formal diplomatic relations, and their shared border has been closed since the 1990s.

The two countries’ ties are strained by World War I-era mass killings of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire, atrocities Yerevan says amount to genocide.

Pashinyan’s office said the two leaders have exchanged congratulations on Muslim and Christian holidays and “discussed the process of normalization of bilateral relations.”

In early June, Pashinyan travelled to Ankara to attend Erdoğan’s inauguration. He was among the first world leaders to congratulate Erdoğan on his re-election.

In December 2021, the two countries appointed special envoys to help normalize relations — a year after Armenia lost to Turkey’s ally Azerbaijan in a war for control of the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region.

Azerbaijan used Turkey’s military aid including combat drones to recapture most of the contested territory that had been under ethnic Armenian control since the 1990s.

Last year, Turkey and Armenia resumed their first commercial flights in two years.

In 2009, Ankara and Yerevan signed an agreement to normalize relations that would have led to the opening up of their shared border.

But Armenia never ratified the deal and in 2018 ditched the process.

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