The recent warming in Turkish-Armenian relations began with the February 2008 presidential elections in Armenia.
19 February 2008
Serzh Sarkisian wins the presidential elections in Armenia with 53% of the vote, a first round majority, well ahead of second place candidate Levon Ter-Petrossian. For over a week after the election Ter-Petrossian's supporters, disputing the official results, hold large protests in Yerevan. These are violently broken up by police on 1 March: eight people are killed, and a state of emergency is imposed for 20 days, ending on 20 March. The opposition claims the election was rigged to ensure Serzh Sarkisian's victory, but international observers attest that the vote met democratic standards.
21 February 2008
President Abdullah Gül congratulates Serzh Sarkisian on winning the presidential election. "I hope your new position will offer an opportunity for the normalization of relations between the Turkish and Armenian peoples," Gül says in his message to Serzh Sarkisian.
26 February 2008
Erdogan refutes Armenian claims of genocide in 1915.
"Against the nonsense they fabricate and disseminate in the world public opinion, we tell them the following: Talk after looking right into the mirror. If there was genocide, it was you who perpetuated its most violent form. […] The character of this nation does not let it commit such crimes."
21 April 2008
Foreign Minister Ali Babacan sends a letter to Yerevan saying Turkey wants to normalize ties between the two countries. As he tells a news conference:
"Turkey wants to see peace, stability, security and prosperity in its region, but as you know our relations with Armenia do not fit into that formula. We have problems, and the only way to solve these problems is through dialogue."
27 April 2008
Turkish and Armenian PMs exchange letters. Prime Minister Erdogan expresses hope that with the election of Sarkisian Turkish-Armenian relations "will enter a new period, which would contribute to peace, stability and welfare in the region." Armenia is ready to start dialogue with Turkey on improving relations if Ankara does not set preconditions to talks, Sarkisian writes in his response. "I confirm the readiness of the government of Armenia to engage in constructive dialogue and establish relations without preconditions," he writes. In the same breath, however, Sarkisian gives a cold shoulder to Turkey's proposal to establish a committee of historians to study the events of 1915.
5 July 2008
Sarkisian invites the Turkish president to visit Armenia on 6 September to watch the World Cup qualifying match between Armenia and Turkey.
9 July 2008
In an article published in the Wall Street Journal, Sarkisian writes:
"The time has come for a fresh effort to break this deadlock, a situation that helps no one and hurts many. […] I take this opportunity to propose a fresh start