INTER-GOVERNMENTAL RELATIONS WITH ARMENIA ON TURKEY'S AGENDA

AZG Armenian Daily #099, 01/06/2005

Turkey

On April 10, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan sent a letter
to Armenian President Robert Kocharian. On April 26, Kocharian sent
a reply letter. The exchange of correspondence seemed to suggest a
meeting between two leaders in Warsaw summit of the Council of Europe,
May 16-17.

But Armenian President's speech at the summit and Turkish side's
morbid response stifled all hopes for a meeting. Turkish Prime Minister
preferred responding to Kocharian's speech in a press conference rather
than discuss issues face to face. But before the President's speech,
Turkish side had to officially respond to Kocharian's letter of April
26. On May 31, Turkish Zaman daily wrote on this occasion in an article
titled "If Yerevan Does Not Take A Step Forward, Kocharian Will Not
Get Second Letter", "The correspondence launched between Turkey and
Armenia after hot discussions over the so-called Armenian genocide
is falling short because of Yerevan's inappropriate approach. Given
this situation, Ankara will not reply to Armenian President Robert
Kocharian's letter. Though PM Erdogan's proposal of 'leaving the
study of the events of 1915 to historians and other specialists'
meet Kocharian's 'establishment of diplomatic relations first and
then discussing all issues' was far from fully satisfying Ankara,
but it still was taken 'positively'. But during the last month Yerevan
displayed no approach we hoped for. The failure of Kocharian-Erdogan
meeting in Warsaw as well as Armenian President's tough stance at
the CE summit made it impossible to reply to the letter".

Zaman notes that diplomatic circles complain that "Planes fly from
Istanbul to Yerevan and Turkish goods enter Armenia via Georgia,
meanwhile thousands of Armenians work in Turkey but the authorities
do not inform the people about this".

Zaman quoted those circles as saying, "The only good news that
reached Ankara from Yerevan recently was Armenian foreign minister
Vartan Oskanian's statement about Kars Treaty, 'As long as there
are no new treaties, ones signed by the USSR are in force'. Ankara
wants to receive this statement from the RA Foreign Ministry website
'via official ways".

This publication of Zaman should be considered kind of a signal. We
don't exclude that it was launched to check out moods in Armenia. Yet,
this signal shows that though Ankara avoids diplomatic relations
with Armenia, establishment of intergovernmental relations is high on
its agenda. Otherwise Turkey simply would not touch upon Kocharian's
reply to Erdogan's letter, the Turkish press would not occasionally
return to RA President's speech in CE summit nor would it write about
Kocharian-Erdogan might-have-been meeting.

By Hakob Chakrian

From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress