May 2 2011

YEREVAN. - Prime Minister of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan is trying
to gain votes of ethnic Azerbaijanis, residents of Kars, ahead of
parliamentary elections.

This is the reason the monument to Armenia-Turkey friendship was
demolished, expert in Turkish studies Ruben Melkonyan said at a press
conference on Monday.

"With approaching election nationalist rhetoric becomes stronger.

Demolition of the monument will definitely help gain votes of the
local Azerbaijanis," he said.

According to him, dismantlement of the monument reflects current state
of Armenia-Turkey relations: all "angles of contact" which could be
the basis for normalization are destroyed.

As Armenian News-NEWS.am reported earlier, during his visit to Kars,
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan called the monument to
Armenia-Turkey friendship "monstrous" and ordered to demolish it.

Former Mayor of Kars Naif Alibeyoglu always stood for the opening
of the Armenia-Turkey border without any preconditions and for this
purpose organized a collection of signature in Kars. On his initiative,
a large monument was put to represent the Armenian-Turkish friendship
and peace. However, Alibeyoglu was defeated in the mayoral elections
in 2009. The unfinished monument was put near the old Armenian district
of Kars.

From: A. Papazian