The Turkish–Armenian border has been closed since 1993, when politicians in Ankara chose to side with their Turkic brethren in Azerbaijan over the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh, a majority-Armenian area that lies in Azeri territory, and now forms a de facto independent state. Complicating matters were decades of ill feeling surrounding the fate of the Ottoman Empire’s ethnic Armenians in the years following World War I: a hugely contentious issue on both sides of the border. The events are viewed by Armenia – and most international historians – as the world’s first orchestrated genocide, a term that the Turkish government has repeatedly refused to accept.
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Erdoğan’s 2009 visit to Baku came during a political thaw, and at one stage the border seemed likely to reopen, but relations have since frosted over once again. The Kars–Yerevan rail line may one day reopen, but for now the fastest overland route from Turkey to Armenia is through Georgia, via the border crossing near Posof.