Turkey's state-run Anadolu Agency said the meeting between the envoys lasted for about 90 minutes. Serdar Kilic, a former Turkish ambassador to the United States, is representing Ankara in the talks, while Armenia appointed its deputy parliamentary speaker, Ruben Rubinyan.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Moscow was assisting Yerevan and Ankara establish a direct dialogue and expressed hope that the effort would be successful.
“Armenia and Turkey have appointed their special representatives. Russia helped to reach such an agreement, we are very pleased that their first meeting is taking place in Moscow today,” Lavrov said during a news conference. “Our role is to help establish a direct dialogue."
It’s the regional foes’ second attempt at reconciliation.
Turkey and Armenia reached an agreement in 2009 to establish formal relations and to open their joint border, but the agreement was never ratified because of strong opposition from Azerbaijan.
This time around, however, the reconciliation efforts have Azerbaijan’s blessing. Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has said Ankara would “coordinate” the normalization process with Azerbaijan.
Turkey, a close ally of Azerbaijan, shut down its border with Armenia in 1993, in a show of solidarity with Baku, which was locked in a conflict with Armenia over the Nagorno-Karabakh region.
In 2020, Turkey strongly backed Azerbaijan in the six-week conflict with Armenia over Nagorno-Karabakh, which ended with a Russia-brokered peace deal that saw Azerbaijan gain control of a significant part of Nagorno-Karabakh.
Turkey and Armenia also have a more than century-old hostility over the deaths of an estimated 1.5 million Armenians in massacres, deportations and forced marches that began in 1915 in Ottoman Turkey.
Historians widely view the event as genocide. Turkey vehemently rejects the label, conceding that many died in that era, but insisting that the death toll is inflated and the deaths resulted from civil unrest.
Last year, U.S. President Joe Biden formally recognized the killings as genocide, joining several other countries that have already done so.
Suzan Fraser reported from Ankara, Turkey.