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Armenia Drops Normalization Deal with Turkey

The President of Armenia on Thursday ditched agreements that would have normalised relations with Turkey, in the latest blow to efforts to end decades-long enmity between the neighbours.

President Serzh Sarkisian issued a decree to stop the process begun in Zurich in 2009 that would have paved the way for the establishment of diplomatic ties, according to the presidency’s website.

Two key agreements were brokered then by the United States, France and Russia, but have never been ratified by the two countries’ parliaments.

At loggerheads over the how to define the World War I-era massacre of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire, Turkey and Armenia have failed to establish diplomatic ties.

The border between the two countries has remained closed since Armenia gained independence following the Soviet Union’s collapse in 1991.

Armenians have long sought international recognition for the 1915-1917 killings as genocide, in which they say some 1.5 million of their people died.

But Turkey — the Ottoman Empire’s successor state — argues it was a collective tragedy in which equal numbers of Turks and Armenians perished.

So far, parliaments in more than 20 countries, including Germany, have voted in laws or resolutions explicitly recognising the Armenian “genocide.”

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