KOCHARIAN'S SPEECH TO AIM AT 'DRIVING TURKEY INTO A CORNER

AZG Armenian Daily #090, 19/05/2005

Armenia-Turkey

In their CE Warsaw Summit coverage Turkish newspapers labeled
Armenian President Robert Kocharian's speech "brief". The speech was
apparently carrying some weight if it drew Turkey's attention. Turkish
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who expressed readiness to meet
Kocharian, was the first to respond to it. The second response followed
the first one.

Turkish papers emphasize in May 17 articles that Erdogan's
answer stemming out from his disappointment was rather
"tough". Representatives of the Azerbaijani delegation, according to
Milliyet, said, "Kocharian is an old Dashnak member, that's why his
speech should not be surprising. You cannot expect anything but old
approaches from him".

Apparently feeling the weigh of Kocharian's words and his own
vulnerability, PM Erdogan prepared his second speech on May 17
(having already expressed his position on the Genocide in a previously
called press conference) to oppose Kocharian with his links between
"international recognition of Armenian Genocide in Ottoman Turkey
and faithfulness to European values".

Daily Zaman cites some sentences from Erdogan's speech in May 18
article titled "Crossfire of Words on Genocide in Warsaw". Erdogan
reminded that Turkey has opened both civilian and military archives
and repeated its calls for Armenia and the third impartial countries
to open their archives as well.

Semih Idiz of Milliyet draws readers' attention to the fact that
French journalists considered Erdogan's speech to be inappropriately
"tough" and "irreconcilable". But Idiz does not agree with them,
"Instead of creating favorable grounds for Turkish-Armenian relations,
Kocharian is trying to strengthen the old concepts in Europe and by
doing this to 'get Ankara in line' and 'drive Turkey into a corner".

In other words, Milliyet sees the reason of Kocharian-Erdogan
meeting failure in aforesaid "calculations" of Kocharian. Referring
to political observers Zaman, on the contrary, sees the reason in
failure of Kocharian-Aliyev meeting. The same observers indicate
that Erdogan viewed a meeting with Kocharian possible if the
Kocharian-Aliyev meeting had been successful; however, "upon the
failure of the bilateral summit, he did not attempt to meet with the
Armenian President".

By Hakob Chakrian