The animosity between Turkey and Armenia is rooted in events of the past, particularly the genocide committed against Armenian people in the early decades of the twentieth century.
Turkey has relied on the process of historical denial to confront a terrible event in its past, but President Abdullah Gul has decided it is time to reach out to the Armenians. Neither nation has diplomatic relations with the other, but Gul will go to Yerevan in hopes of beginning the process of normalization of relations. Armenian President Serge Sarkisian’s invitation to Gul to watch a football game on Saturday was a gesture of good will that is being reciprocated.
Recent Russian moves in the Caucasus may be a factor that has made even more important the need for Armenia and Turkey to come closer together. Both leaders undoubtedly will discuss maters other than football players and hopefully, the visit is a first step in resolving ancient angers and disputes. The presence of a powerful Russia in the Caucasus region increases the need for other nations to work in a collaborative manner.