EU'S POLAND SUGGESTS MEDIATION BETWEEN TURKEY AND ARMENIA

ABHaber, Belgium
May 2 2006

Warsaw conveys to Ankara list of proposals aiming to assist
normalization of relations between Turkey and Armenia. Turkish govt
welcomes Polish offer, which includes mediation between Turkish and
Armenian govts, conference on genocide claims with participation of
Turkish, Armenian and Polish scholars

AYHAN SIMSEK

Poland recently offered Ankara its services to act as a mediator
between Turkey and Armenia to overcome their differences over genocide
claims and to normalize relations, The New Anatolian learned yesterday.

Diplomats said that Warsaw's proposals include the Polish government
acting as a mediator between the Turkish and Armenian governments,
organizing meetings and conferences between Polish, Turkish and
Armenian scholars and further sharing Polish experience in conflict
resolution and reconciliation with neighbors.

European Union member Poland is also an important ally to Turkey in
NATO. The Polish Parliament's decision in April last year to adopt a
resolution backing the Armenian claims of genocide triggered a sharp
response from Ankara at the time. Later statements by Polish government
officials disassociating themselves from the resolution and further
steps by the two countries prioritizing their common foreign policy
goals brought relations back to an even keel. Poland has become one of
the main supporters of Turkey's EU accession process, and Turkey has
offered humanitarian assistance as well as transportation to Polish
troops in Iraq.

According to diplomats, Polish Foreign Minister Stefan Meller, during
his visit to Ankara two weeks ago, conveyed to his Turkish counterpart
Abdullah Gul a list of proposals including mediation by Poland aimed
at a normalization of relations between Turkey and Armenia. Foreign
Minister Gul reportedly responded positively to Meller's ideas and
stressed that Turkey is willing to overcome differences over genocide
claims and normalize its relations with Armenia. Gul further said
that Ankara's suggestions so far have not received positive response
from Yerevan but also added that he is willing to go forward with
the Polish proposals if they will facilitate proper grounds for the
normalization of relations with Armenia.

Diplomatic sources told TNA yesterday that due to talks of a new
coalition government in Poland and the foreign minister handing in
his resignation, Ankara now waits for the new government before having
more detailed talks on the issue.