ANKARA, October 11 (RIA Novosti) - Turkey wants to establish good neighborly relations with Armenia following the signing of an historic deal between Ankara and Yerevan to normalize bilateral relations, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Sunday.
The historic accord restoring diplomatic relations between the two countries was signed Saturday in Zurich by the Turkish and Armenian foreign ministers. The agreement is still to be ratified by the Turkish and Armenian parliaments amid continued fierce opposition from nationalist parties in both countries.
Erdogan, who said the deal was "an important step," added, however, that Turkey would not open its border with Yerevan until the ex-Soviet republics of Armenia and Azerbaijan settled their dispute over the Nagorny Karabakh region.
Turkey closed its border with Armenia in 1993 in a show of support for Muslim ally Azerbaijan, following a bloody conflict over Nagorny Karabakh between the two ex-Soviet republics.
Turkey has also demanded that Yerevan drop its campaign to have the mass killings of Armenians by Ottoman Turks in 1915 internationally recognized as genocide.
Armenia and Turkey agreed to a "roadmap" to normalize their relations under Swiss mediation this April. The draft pact between the countries had been backed by the United States and European Union.
Nagorny Karabakh, a region in Azerbaijan with a largely Armenian population, has been a source of conflict between the former Soviet republics since the late 1980s. The province has its own government and is de facto independent.