The border between Armenia and Turkey opened after decades to allow aid to pass through

The border between Armenia and Turkey opened after decades to allow aid to pass through

Armenia-Turkey border opens for aid after decades

Illustrative photo – Volunteers distribute aid to people after an earthquake in the Turkish city of Antakya on February 8, 2023.

Ankara/Yerevan – A border crossing between Turkey has opened after three decades and Armenia, so that a convoy with Armenian humanitarian aid to the victims of the devastating earthquake that struck the south of Turkey at the end of this week could pass through it. It was written by Anadolu Agency today. Ankara has not had diplomatic or trade relations with Yerevan since the 1990s, Reuters pointed out.

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Five aid trucks from Armenia crossed the border through the Alican crossing today, according to the Turkish state agency. “Humanitarian aid from Armenia has crossed the Margara bridge to the Armenian-Turkish border and is heading to the area affected by the earthquake,” wrote Armenian Deputy Foreign Minister Vahan Kostanjan on Twitter, who also shared a video of the convoy crossing the bridge.

Turkey's special envoy to Armenia, Serdar Kiliç, posted pictures of the trucks crossing the border on Twitter and thanked Armenian officials. “I will always remember the generous aid sent by the Armenian people to help alleviate the suffering of our people in the earthquake-stricken region of Turkey,” he wrote.

According to Anadolu Agency, humanitarian aid also traveled through the Alican border crossing in 1988 when a large-scale earthquake hit Armenia instead. At that time, the Turkish Red Crescent sent aid through this checkpoint to the neighboring country.

Armenia and Turkey are divided by a view of the events from 1915 to 1918, when 1.5 million Armenians perished under the rule of the Ottoman Empire. Yerevan considers it genocide, which Ankara denies. Turkey also supports Azerbaijan, which is in dispute with Armenia over Nagorno-Karabakh. It was precisely because of the territorial conflict over Karabakh that the Turkish-Armenian border was closed at the initiative of Armenia in 1993.

Last October, on the sidelines of the European Political Community (EPC) summit in Prague, the leading representatives of all three countries met informally – the Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Armenian Prime Minister Nikola Pashinyan and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev. According to Reuters, they did so in an attempt to ease long-standing animosity. However, the meeting ultimately had no concrete results.

In July, Turkey and Armenia agreed on a direct commercial air connection between the two countries and on the opening of the common border, even if only for citizens of third countries. After two years, commercial flights between Yerevan and Istanbul were also resumed in February last year, Armenia had previously lifted the ban on the import of Turkish goods.