Foreign Minister Mevlut Çavusoglu

Turkey Allows Air Cargo Traffic with Armenia

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By Nane Sahakian

YEREVAN (Azatutyun) — Turkey has officially allowed cargo shipments by air to and from Armenia in line with an interim agreement reached by the two neighboring states last year.

The agreement, announced in July, followed four rounds of normalization talks held by Turkish and Armenian envoys. The two sides also agreed to open the Turkish-Armenian border to citizens of third countries.

The Armenian Foreign Ministry confirmed on Friday, January 6, reports that Ankara has lifted its long-standing ban on air freight traffic with Armenia.

“The Turkish side informed us today that the ban on direct air cargo shipments has been lifted,” the ministry spokesman, Vahan Hunanyan, said.

“We expect that the other agreement, enabling citizens of third countries to cross the land border, will also be implemented as soon as possible,” added Hunanyan.

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It is not yet clear whether the development means that Armenian goods can now be airlifted to Turkey not only en route to third countries but also be sold there. Successive Turkish governments have banned any imports from Armenia since the early 1990s.

Armenia imposed a similar ban on Turkish imports during the 2020 war with Azerbaijan, citing Ankara’s “inflammatory calls,” arms supplies to Azerbaijan and “deployment of terrorist mercenaries to the conflict zone.” Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan’s government lifted the ban a year later.

“If Turkey really opens its customs border … all kinds of [Armenian] goods could be brought here,” Gagik Musheghyan, an Armenian businessman based in Turkey, told RFE/RL’s Armenian Service on Monday. “Everything, including food, alcohol, cigarettes.”

Turkey has for decades made the full opening of its border and the establishment of diplomatic relations with Armenia conditional on an Armenian-Azerbaijani peace deal acceptable to Azerbaijan. Turkish leaders have repeatedly reaffirmed this precondition since the start of the normalization talks with Yerevan in January 2022.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Çavusoglu said in October that Armenia must also agree to open an extraterritorial land corridor connecting Azerbaijan to its Nakhichevan exclave. Yerevan rejected the demand.

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