www.worldbulletin.net, Turkey
Aug 31 2008



Turkish PM hints President Gul to visit Armenia
Turkey's PM Erdogan signalled that President Gul might have actually decided to accept invitation of Armenian President Serzh Sargsian.
Sunday, 31 August 2008 15:32

Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who attended the August
30th victory reception hosted at the Gazi officer's club in Ankara,
signalled Saturday that President Abdullah Gul might travel to
Armenia.

Commenting on the possibility of President Abdullah Gul's travelling
to Armenia for a national soccer match after decades of no diplomatic
exchange with this country, Erdogan said he wished it would bring
positive results, hinting that the President might have actually
decided to accept invitation of Armenian President Serzh Sargsian.

Erdogan also said Turkey's Foreign Minister Ali Babacan would
accompany Gul during the trip to discuss relations with Armenia.

However, Gul, who also attended the reception, told reporters that
they did not reach a decision on the matter yet saying that they were
still contemplating.

Armenian President Sargsian, who publicly declared that he would
shortly take steps to revive relations with Turkey, has recently
invited his Turkish counterpart Gul to Armenia to watch together the
2010 World Cup qualifying round game between the two countries on
September 6th.

Yerivan based Mediamax news agency quoted Sargsian as having said this
game "would contribute to normalisation of relations between the two
countries," during a visit to Moscow in June.

On July 24th, Babacan expressed Turkey's willingness to normalize
relations with Armenia at a press conference in New York, saying that
Turkey also wanted to create an atmosphere of dialogue with Armenia.

Referring to letters Turkish president, prime minister and other high
level officials sent to their Armenian counterparts shortly after the
recent elections in this country, Babacan had announced that these
letters aimed at opening a new door of dialogue with the new
(Armenian) administration.

Babacan said it was natural for Turkey --whose aim was to have zero
problems with its neighbors-- to expect concrete steps from Armenia
and expressed his belief that Turkey's problems could be solved
through dialogue, and underlined importance of setting up a joint
committee of historians to deal with the incidents of 1915.

Later in July, Armenian Foreign Minister Eduard Nalbandian told
Mediamax that they wanted to normalise relations with
Turkey. Nalbandian said to this end they wished Gul would accept
Sargsian's invitation to watch the qualifier in Yerevan, adding that
it would create an opportunity to discuss bilateral relations.

Nalbandian said Armenia took a step by inviting Gul. "This initiative
received positive response in the international arena. Now it is
Turkey's turn."

Relations with Armenia

While Turkey recognized the independence of the new Armenian State in
1992 along with the international community after the collapse of the
Soviet Union, it suspended diplomatic relations with this country when
it (Armenia) invaded Azarbaijan's territory.

Despite this Ankara has taken some concrete steps aiming to establish
good neighbourly relations with this country, while Yerevan made
demands like "talks without preconditions" or "opening of the border
passes", which merely postponed the solution of existing problems.

Turkey sent food stuff to Armenia as humanitarian aid, started
schedules flights between Istanbul and Yerevan, allowed around 70
thousand Armenian citizens to work in Turkey, and restored some
Armenian artifacts in Anatolia depicting Armenian life.

However Armenia did not take any constructive steps about
controversial issues between the two countries like; its ongoing
invasion of Azarbaijan territory for 15 years, making Armenian
allegations regarding 1915 incidents as a priority in its foreign
policy, remarks of high level Armenian officials including Sargsian
suggesting that the current border line between Turkey and Armenia was
illegitimate and their claim to Eastern Turkey with the title "Western
Armenia", use of Mount Agri located in Eastern Turkey as a state
symbol.

AA

From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress