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Armenia lifts embargo on goods from Turkey, advancing thaw in relations

TORONTO, CANADA - NOVEMBER 14: A group of Azerbaijani people wave Azerbaijani and Turkish flags as they stage a protest by laying 93 pillows and red carnations with the names of 93 Azerbaijani civilians who killed during Armenian attacks, in front of the Toronto City Hall, Toronto, Canada on November 14, 2020. ( Seyit AydoÄźan - Anadolu Agency )
A group of Azerbaijani people wave Azerbaijani and Turkish flags as they stage a protest by laying 93 pillows and red carnations with the names of 93 Azerbaijani civilians who killed during Armenian attacks, in front of the Toronto City Hall, Toronto, Canada on November 14, 2020 [Seyit AydoÄźan - Anadolu Agency]

The Armenian government has announced that it is lifting its embargo on Turkish goods from the beginning of 2022, marking a new step in the thawing of relations between the two countries.

Armenia's economy ministry made the announcement in a Facebook post on Thursday, stating that "as a result of interdepartmental discussions, a decision was made not to extend the embargo on Turkish goods."

The embargo was imposed by Armenia due to Turkey's support of Azerbaijan during the six-week-long conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh towards the end of 2020. Since Baku's victory and subsequent internal political instability within Yerevan, however, the latter is now attempting to reconcile with Ankara and relations are being restored.

According to the ministry's statement, it is not only the revival of ties which necessitate the lifting of the embargo, but also the fact that Armenia has struggled economically with the lack of Turkish goods into the country.

READ: Exports are Turkey's means to tackle the sharp currency decline

Although it has resulted in "newly-established or expanded [domestic Armenian] production…the main negative effect of the embargo is the significant impact on inflation, which has been reflected especially in a number of consumer goods. There are many requests from our businessmen to lift the ban on the import of Turkish goods."

It added that the government expects backlash from the new players in the Armenian industries due to the return of Turkish goods, but assured that the authorities will maintain "the viability and competitiveness of such companies in the new conditions, assisting them with additional tools if necessary."

In mid-December, Turkey and Armenia agreed to appoint special envoys to each other's countries, advancing the normalisation process.

The reset in Turkish-Armenian relations is set to enable more than just the lifting of the embargo, with the reopening of the border between the two countries and the start of chartered flights between Yerevan and Istanbul also being enabled.

Earlier this week, the Turkish foreign minister announced that the bilateral talks will be held in Russia.

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