Turkish Press
Aug 30 2008

Turkish president to attend football match in Armenia: report
Published: 8/30/2008

ANKARA - President Abdullah Gul will travel to Armenia next week to
attend World Cup qualifiers between Armenia and Turkey, in a landmark
visit expected to ease relations between the two foes, a press report
said Saturday.

Gul's office would not confirm the report by the daily newspaper Vatan
but if the visit takes place on September 6 it could help improve
relations between the neighbours.

Vatan said Gul would travel to Yerevan for the match and return to
Turkey the same evening. The president's office will announce the trip
within the next few days, it added.

Gul said on Tuesday that he had not taken a decision on whether to go
to Yerevan.

He sent a reconciliatory message to Armenia earlier this month, saying
Turkey was "no enemy" to any country in its region.

The conflict between Georgia and Russia shows the need for "early
measures to resolve frozen problems in the region and... prevent
instability in the future," said Gul in televised remarks.

In 1993 Turkey shut its border with its eastern neighbour in a show of
solidarity with its close ally Azerbaijan, then at war with Armenia,
dealing a heavy economic blow to the impoverished nation in the
strategic Caucasus region.

Diplomats from Armenia and Turkey met secretly in Switzerland in July
in a fresh effort to normalise ties following three rounds of talks in
2005 and 2006. No progress is so far publicly known.

Armenian and Turkish leaders have meanwhile met on the sidelines of
international gatherings, including a Black Sea regional summit in
Istanbul last year.