Turkey and Armenia bury the hatchet over a game of football

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After almost a century of hostility, Turkey and Armenia celebrate their new era of co-operation – over a football match.

Armenian president Serzh Sarkisian is scheduled to attend a World Cup qualifying game between the two countries in the Turkish city of Bursa, days after they signed an agreement establishing diplomatic relations for the first time.

The trip, which has been described as an act of “football diplomacy”, follows a visit by Abdullah Gul, the Turkish president, to Armenia last year.

The pact was signed on Saturday after six weeks of fraught talks and is seen as a significant step towards reconciliation between the two neighbours, who have never had formal diplomatic relations.

It will open the border between the two countries for the first time since 1993, when it was closed by Turkey in protest at Armenia’s backing for ethnic Armenian rebels fighting for control of Nagorno-Karabakh, an enclave of neighbouring Azerbaijan.

However, it fails to resolve Armenia and Turkey’s most long-standing bone of contention – the massacre of up to 1.5 million Armenians during World War One.

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