02.08.2008 15:47 GMT+04:00

/PanARMENIAN.Net/ Ankara said Friday it is already in direct contact
with Yerevan to normalize bilateral ties, implying that the involvement
of any third countries is not necessary.

"We would only be pleased with the efforts of third parties for
the improvement of Turkey's ties with Armenia, but we are already
meeting with Armenia directly toward the normalization of relations,"
Foreign Ministry spokesman Burak Ozugergin told reporters at a weekly
press conference.

Asked if the Turkish president would go to Yerevan to watch the
Turkish-Armenian football match in September, he said the Foreign
Ministry is awaiting instruction from Abdullah Gul. In response to
another question, Ozugergin said Armenia's invitation has been extended
to Turkey through official channels, Turkish Daily News reports.

Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki offered his country's
mediation for Armenia-Turkey reconciliation during a phone conversation
with RA FM Edward Nalbandian.

Turkey severed its ties and closed its border with Armenia in 1993
as a token of solidarity with Azerbaijan in the Nagorno Karabakh issue.

Ankara also says the normalization of ties depends on Armenia's formal
recognition of the current borders with Turkey and changing its policy
of calling for worldwide recognition of the Armenian Genocide at the
hands of the Ottoman Empire.

In a sign of readiness to normalize ties, Armenian President
Serzh Sargsyan proposed "a fresh start" in relations with Turkey
in an article published in The Wall Street Journal earlier this
month. Sargsyan also invited Gul to a World Cup qualifying match
between Armenian and Turkish teams on September 6.