ENVOY TO SWEDEN RETURNS, US CALLS FOR RETURN OF TURKEY'S AMBASSADOR

Today's Zaman
March 31 2010
Turkey

As the Swedish government has clearly shown it will not accept
the resolution by Sweden's parliament recognizing the World War I
killings of Armenians as genocide, it is time to return to Sweden,
Turkey's ambassador to Sweden said in Ankara on Tuesday prior to
returning to Stockholm.

Zergun Koruturk returned to Sweden after the government decided
that the Swedish government had taken the necessary steps to assure
Turkey that it will not accept the non-binding resolution and that
the resolution was only "advisory" in character. Koruturk was recalled
to Turkey on March 11, minutes after Sweden's parliament approved the
resolution branding the killings of Armenians in eastern Anatolia in
1915 as genocide. Turkey condemned the vote, recalling its ambassador
and cancelling a visit to Sweden by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip
Erdogan scheduled for March 17. Turkey said it signed reconciliation
protocols with Armenia, which also included the establishment of a
joint historical commission to investigate the events of 1915.

Turkey also emphasized that foreign parliaments should leave
assessments of Turkish history to historians and not judge it
themselves.

Speaking to reporters before leaving Ankara, Koruturk said recalling
ambassadors is a serious reaction, even a protest, in diplomacy.

Noting that the every step taken by the Swedish government following
the vote proved that it will by no means uphold the resolution and
will not accept the decision, Koruturk said the Swedish Constitution
leaves foreign policy decisions to governments and the resolution is
only "advisory."

"The Swedish government clearly conveyed that it will not implement
the decision," Koruturk said. The ambassador said many things have
changed since she returned to Turkey and summarized the steps the
Swedish government has taken to repair the damage caused by the
resolution. "The foreign ministers of Turkey and Sweden met in
Finland. Sweden said the decision was wrong, and the Swedish prime
minister called the Turkish prime minister to apologize. The Swedish
government has decreed since then that the decision was very wrong.

This has shaped the political will to send the ambassador back to
Sweden," Koruturk said.

Saying she has had the necessary consultations with Foreign Minister
Ahmet Davutoglu, Koruturk said her return is a political decision,
as was her recall. "There is the political will that I return. The
Swedish government's attitude is important from now on. We will
see how they will make amends for this mistake. I hope the Swedish
government will do its best in this regard," Koruturk noted.

Asked why she visited the Kulu district of Konya during her time back
in Turkey, Koruturk said she went there to listen to the problems of
the people in the district. Many of the Turks living in Sweden have
relatives in the Kulu district.

Meanwhile, two senior US officials also expressed hopes that Turkish
Ambassador to the US Namık Tan, who was recalled to Turkey following
the passage of a non-binding resolution by the US House Committee on
Foreign Affairs on March 4 recognizing World War I-era killings of
Ottoman Armenians as genocide, would return to the US.

During a phone call on Sunday, Turkish Foreign Minister Davutoglu urged
his American counterpart, Hillary Clinton, to take the steps necessary
to block the advancement of the resolution to a full House vote.

"We understand the reasons why Turkey recalled its ambassador, and we
hope that the ambassador will be returned as quickly as Turkey feels
comfortable," State Department spokesman Philip Crowley told reporters.

In addition, Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg said the
Turkish side has made its concerns about the House committee vote
known while speaking at a press conference on Monday. "We've also made
clear our position on that resolution," he added. "So we hope that
this is the basis to move forward because we have a lot of business
to do together," Steinberg said.

On March 4, the US House of Representatives Committee on Foreign
Affairs voted 23-22 to approve the non-binding resolution, clearing it
for consideration by the full House. Sweden's parliament recognized
the Armenian "genocide" with a vote of 131 to 130 only a week after
the US committee's vote.

From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress