Pashinyan attends Erdoğan’s swearing-in ceremony

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu and Armenian PM Nikol Pashinyan (RA Prime Minister)

Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan attended the inauguration of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who extended his two-decade rule by another five years.

Pashinyan was quick to congratulate Erdoğan on his electoral victory. “Looking forward to continuing working together towards full normalization of relations between our countries,” Pashinyan tweeted on May 28, the day of the runoff elections in Turkey.

Erdoğan won with 52-percent of the vote, defeating Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, leader of an opposition coalition, who earned 48-percent of the vote. The newly reelected president did not secure a majority vote in the first round of election on May 14, triggering a runoff. Erdoğan’s faction, which includes the Justice and Development Party and the Nationalist Movement Party, won a majority of seats in parliament, securing 322 of 600 seats. 

Erdoğan’s swearing-in ceremony was held in Ankara on June 3. It was also attended by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev, Georgia’s Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili, Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro and Pakistan’s Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif. Pashinyan was joined by Ruben Rubinyan, special envoy for the ongoing negotiations on normalizing relations between Armenia and Turkey. 

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev (front row) and Armenian PM Nikol Pashinyan (second row) at Turkish President Erdogan’s inauguration (Twitter)

Pashinyan’s attendance was met with mixed appraisal. Former Armenian Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian criticized Pashinyan’s presence and said Armenia had “nothing to lose” by not attending the swearing-in ceremony. 

“Pashinyan does not understand that he cannot woo Turkey on the matter of the settlement of Armenia-Turkey relations by providing aid after the earthquake in Turkey and attending Erdogan’s swearing-in ceremony,” Oskanian wrote. 

“Pashinyan did not represent the Armenian people in Ankara, but rather himself,” he continued

Aslı Aydıntaşbaş, Turkish journalist and visiting fellow at the Brookings Institute, called Pashinyan’s attendance a “very bold and smart move by the Armenian leader, who is trying to preserve the fragile peace with Azerbaijan and keep the momentum on normalization with Turkey.” 

Armenia and Turkey have been engaged in talks to establish bilateral relations since December 2021. On July 1, 2022, special envoys appointed for the normalization process announced the first major breakthrough in negotiations. The envoys agreed to “enable the crossing of the land border between Armenia and Turkey by third-country citizens.” They also agreed to commence direct air cargo trade between the two countries. 

Pashinyan and Erdoğan had their first ever phone call that month and three months later held their first meeting in Prague on October 6 on the sidelines of a pan-European summit.

Negotiations seemed to gain new momentum after the Armenia-Turkey border reopened briefly in February this year for the first time in three decades. Armenia sent several trucks of humanitarian aid and rescue workers to Turkey following the devastating 7.8-magnitude earthquake on February 6. 

Former Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said at the time that the humanitarian assistance would bolster negotiations on restoring diplomatic ties and opening the shared border. Çavuşoğlu and his Armenian counterpart Ararat Mirzoyan announced an agreement to jointly repair the Ani bridge and restore other infrastructure along the Armenia-Turkey border. 

Yet progress stalled when Turkey closed its airspace to Armenian flights after a monument was unveiled in Yerevan commemorating Operation Nemesis.

Operation Nemesis was a mission organized in the 1910s and 1920s by the Armenian Revolutionary Federation to assassinate the Ottoman leaders who orchestrated the Armenian Genocide. Deputy mayor of Yerevan Tigran Avinyan called the monument “a clear record of the fact that the crimes of history do not go unpunished, regardless of how the international community reacts,” during its unveiling ceremony on April 24, the annual day of remembrance of the Armenian Genocide. 

The Turkish Foreign Ministry released a statement condemning the monument and warning that it would “negatively affect the normalization process.” 

“Such provocative steps, which are incompatible with the spirit of the normalization process between Türkiye and Armenia, will in no way contribute to the efforts for establishment of lasting and sustainable peace and stability in the region,” the statement reads.

Çavuşoğlu later announced that Turkey had closed its airspace to Armenia in response to the monument. Chair of FlyOne Armenia Aram Ananyan said that Turkish aviation authorities had prohibited the airline from operating flights to Europe through Turkish airspace. A FlyOne Armenia plane operating a flight from Paris to Yerevan was forced to land in Moldova. 

Pashinyan called the erection of the monument a “wrong decision.” 

“The government did not make that decision, and one of the biggest flaws of democracy is that the government or head of government doesn’t control everything and everyone, including our team,” Pashinyan said during an interview with RFE/RL’s Armenian Service. 

The Armenia-Turkey border has been closed since 1993, when Turkey closed its border with Armenia in solidarity with Azerbaijan during the first Artsakh War. In 2009, the countries signed two bilateral protocols brokered by France, Russia and the United States. The Zurich Protocols would have opened the border, established diplomatic relations and created a joint historical commission to study the Armenian Genocide. However, the protocols were never ratified or implemented under pressure from Azerbaijan, which opposed normalization of relations without a resolution of the Artsakh conflict.

Armenian authorities have insisted that the current normalization process must remain separate from ongoing talks with Azerbaijan on the Artsakh conflict. However, Turkish authorities have said that Turkey is coordinating its decisions with its close ally Azerbaijan.

According to Turkologist Ruben Safrastyan, Erdoğan will likely strengthen Turkey’s support for Azerbaijan and “seek to resolve the Karabakh conflict in accordance with the interests of Azerbaijan” during his new presidential term. He will also set further preconditions on normalizing relations, including “demand that Armenia renounce seeking international recognition of the Armenian Genocide” and “open communication through the Syunik region of Armenia, which is called the ‘Zangezur corridor’ in Azerbaijan and Turkey,” Safrastyan told Eurasianet.

Lillian Avedian

Lillian Avedian

Lillian Avedian is the assistant editor of the Armenian Weekly. She reports on international women's rights, South Caucasus politics, and diasporic identity. Her writing has also been published in the Los Angeles Review of Books, Democracy in Exile, and Girls on Key Press. She holds master's degrees in journalism and Near Eastern studies from New York University.


  1. Pasha is a Turkish name so perhaps he is showing his dhiminitude well what can Armenia do? Russia it’s patron for what worth who gets on well enough with Armenia’s foes Turkey and Azerbaijan failed Armenia in 2020 and has gone on to falter somewhat in Ukraine. Accepting defeat over Arktash is one thing allowing the Syunik to be traversed and to abandon the quest for recognition by the genocide is another. Nevertheless the paradigm that had existed 1994 -2020 cannot continue events local and further afield ensure this.

  2. We failed to build strong country for 30 years if armenian diaspora in west were enough smart and financially strong they could help armenians whose lives in arabs state facing persecuation and discrimination always help the massive repatriate to hayastan. nobody didnt do that we have a pm who is attend erdogans swearing ceremony and we have kim kardashian most famous armenian who has skim factory in turkey, with this delusional chasing dreamer diaspora we cant get a long.

  3. The turkification of Armenia has begun. Armenians chose turkish degeneracy over Russian security.

    Most of the idiots that will bash Russia are disgusting, mentally challenged individuals, who are highly materialistic, and have been given over o a reprobate mind

    • Security from Russia towards Armenia is a myth & a delusion. Russia has used Arnenia as a bargaining chip for the past 100 years and is continuing to do so. We need wise and knowledgeable leaders to navigate between the existential threats posed by the Russian/Azeri/Turkish tandem and the interests of the West. Instead we’ve had leaders who have been disastrous for Armenia for the past 30 years.

  4. This is a historic victory for all those who proudly supported the velvet revolution in 2018. God bless democracy. God bless westernization. The country’s future looks great now that we finally got rid of Moscow’s puppets known as the criminal Karabakh clan. Thank you everybody.

  5. Stupid traitor. That is all you are. You are a disgrace to your race. Have you forgotten these Asian invading parasites have raped, robbed and murdered our race and will gladly do it again.

    Where is the accounting of your failed miserable war that you presided over? A purposeful loss resulting in the death of thousands of Armenian youth just to achieve your glorious capitulation unhindered? Giving away ancient Armenian lands as if its yours to give. There wont be any accounting of any war will there? Its obvious your utter incompetence and lack of self respect for anything Armenian. Also spying on your fellow Armenians to boot. Your day is coming.

  6. Norway had its Vidkun Quisling, France its Pierre Laval and Armenia has its Nikol Pashinyan, ready to betray the nation and collaborate with the archenemy. Disgusting.

  7. “Pashinyan called the erection of the monument a “wrong decision.” ”

    This is treason. It’s like spitting on the grave of Thelirian. This man has to be immediately relieved from his function.
    I am absolutely for the normalization of relations between Armenia and any other government, however not at the expense of our national identity, culture or our national heroes.
    What’s next ? Erdogan will demand a mosque on Republic Square ?

  8. What a disgraceful clown. Anyone with half a brain saw this coming from 2018. Turkey will swallow the whole of Armenia and the US will do nothing if not facilitate it. Don’t expect the Russians or Iranians to do anything to help you other than maybe point and laugh. Good luck with your new lives in Glendale.

  9. Just look at that evil smirk on Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu’s face. Aliyev has the same stupid grimace in every picture too. Çavuşoğlu is the dirt bag that flashed the GREY WOLVES hand sign at protesting Armenians in Uruguay in April 2022.

    I don’t mind Pashinyan going through these diplomatic motions AS LONG AS he is doing it WITH THE FULL KNOWLEDGE AND CONSTANT REMINDER that a Turk will always be a Turk. Otherwise, if he believes that bowing down to Turkey and Azerbaijan is going to someone “improve relations”, he truly is naive.

    Smile and shake hands with one hand while always holding your sword with the other. That must be Armenia’s foreign policy with all its neighbors.

    • As Armenia in foreign policy we shouldnt trust our neighbours nor persians or georgians they are soo sneaky too lran is anti democratic state which is totally opposite to western US policy and interest as armenian american l support we should kick russian bases out of armenia and replace with us troops keep in control turkey russia and lran whole caucassia from armenia first christian state armenia deserve best by support USA

    • Sir, a potential peace with Turkey would carry Armenia to another level. Cheap imports, quality products, imagine a true peace maintained by two country and Armenia accesses the quality defense systems instead shitty Russian ones. Plus Turkey is a NATO country, which would protect Armenia even better under a defense plan of NATO involved with Turkey.

      Wasn’t it enough for you to being decieved by Russians like for many centuries? Where does it get good Armenian people?

      As a Turk I’m fully support Armenian indenpendency, and would like to visit one day.

      And as an independent person, I am ready to make a new start with Armenian people if they feel same too.

    • Never! Criminal artificial Azerbaijan has been ruled by the same KGB Aliyev MAFIA clan since the 1960s unopposed with the exception of a single year in-between from 1991 to 1992 and that as a result of a coup by a pro-Turkish anti-Russian pan-Turkic fascist Abulfez Elchibey who was soon overthrown by the Aliyev clan. In one BBC interview, Ilham Aliyev was asked about elections and oppositions. Aliyev replied by saying they don’t have any opposition when in fact they do and have many. It is just that they are either behind bars or dead. Much like terrorist Turkey where the opposition is labeled ‘terrorist sympathizer’ and put behind bars indefinitely and way ahead of elections when they fear his popularity. It is a well-known Turkish tactic to avoid or nullify opposing votes!

  10. An excellent article by Lillian Avedian. Unfortunately, all three Presidents & PM have been a disaster for Armenia. They have made Armenia a kleptocracy and the previous presidents would have done exactly the same as Pashinyan, only faster. However,
    apparently “it would not have been as bad” according to the russamol brainwashed Kremlin serving individuals who are in denial about the criminal oligarchs in the Kremlin and Russia’s role in using Armenia as a bargaining chip over the past 100 years! Let’s not forget what we struggled for during the past 100 years. “Azad angakh Hayasdan,” the return of our lands stolen from us, i.e. Pres. Woodrow Wilson’s Arbitral Award to Armenia, an apology from fascist Turkey & reparations.

    • Bravo! Yes, this is the kind of diasporan delusions that got us to where we are today. The same mentality, political illiteracy, arrogance and cognitive dissonance, led to the genocide. Amazingly, one hundred years ago, Armenians were united against their two most powerful neighbors, Turks and Russians. Armenians were rebelling against not only Turks but also Russians. Why? Because they thought they were going to get help from Europe and the US. Armenians did similar mistakes on many occasions going back 2000 years. How often can a people made the same mistake over and over again for hubdreds of years? After a while you stop feeling sorry for that people.

      Long story, short: in the early 1800s Armenia was resurrected by Russia as a bulwark against Islamic expansion in the south Caucasus. Later, Soviet Armenia became one of Armenia’s golden periods. Post Soviet Armenia, the so-called “azad angakh hayasdan”, has been turned into an impoverished, backward, agrarian and third world cesspool who’s vety existence is threatened today.

      So, a big thank you to all our diasporans, nationalists and globalists alike. You outdid yourselves.

      PS: Russophobia is a mental disorder.

  11. There are multiple problems here. Erdogan claims Soros was getting in his way by using proxy-financed democratic opposition. Something Pashinyan probably agrees with. Pashinyan is wary of the West and its changing culture and demographic transformation, and thinks Erdogan’s conservative (even though highly dictatorial) leadership will serve as a possible shield against this ongoing cultural transformation. However, Erdogan wins here much more than Pashinyan. Because Russia’s existential and growing weakness will not shield Armenia from Erdogan’s strategic plans to smoothly taper off Armenia’s sovereignty and create a Muslim bridge to Azerbaijan. Erdogan knows there will be a melting point when Armenia’s interest in the West will dwindle, and Turkey will see itself as a proxy to Europe for Armenia. All while doing whatever whenever he wants to do. First, it will be Turkish products and services. Then, there will be Turkish monuments. Then, there will simply be more Hamshin Armenians. Wrdogan got it all planned out. He wins this on both fronts. He will simply wait as the West devours itself with its own cultiral norms. China and India will be much too far to intervene. Armenia is a small country, with nothing to offer. There is no oil. These Asian countries won’t blink an eye.

  12. The hard truth is that the little sliver of land left over from millennia of on and off war is in danger of disappearing. The goal is not a corridor through Siunik. The goal is the complete occupation of that little piece of land left over from the ancestral lands once populated by Armenians……..That is the reason Pashinyan is doing what he is doing……. The nation has no credible option to fall back on. The policy of the Russians is to look after their own interests, and the Turks have always had the same policy as stated by Erdogan when he said that they were going to finish the task started by their grandfathers……Pashinyan is doing what a desperate leader does to preserve what is left for as long as possible…….No one would like to be in his shoes at this time.

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