In her recent Global Opinions column for The Washington Post, prominent Turkish analyst Asli Aydintasbas cited a senior adviser to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan as having told her that Turkey “is ready to normalize relations with Armenia” after helping its regional ally Azerbaijan defeat the country in a short and bloody war last November to wrest back control of the Nagorno-Karabakh region. “The official now says they could engage with their historic foe and even open the border crossing,” she noted. The unnamed official told her, “The problem for us has always been Armenian occupation of Azeri territory. That’s now resolved. If Armenia is willing to take a step, we are ready.”
The assertion chimes with Turkey’s long-held policy that it would not establish diplomatic relations with its eastern neighbor nor reopen borders with it until it withdrew from Nagorno-Karabakh. The borders were sealed in 1993 to show solidarity with Azerbaijan over Armenia’s occupation of Nagorno-Karabakh, an Armenian-majority enclave that was bestowed by Joseph Stalin to Baku to keep the satellites divided and firmly under Soviet grip.