KOCHARIAN URGES ESTABLISHMENT OF DIPLOMATIC TIES WITH TURKEY

source: The New Anatolian.
ABHaber, Belgium
EU-Turkey news network
Nov 19 2006

Armenian President Robert Kocharian stated late Thursday that Turkey,
as a candidate for for European Union membership, should follow a
"different approach" on the issue of establishing diplomatic relations
with Yerevan.

Stressing that diplomatic relations should be established without
preconditions and prejudices, Kocharian claimed that although his
country had suggested to Turkey the establishment of diplomatic
relations, Ankara refused. "Our suggestion is still valid," he said
in a speech at a meeting organized by the Bertelsmann Association
in Berlin, where he also met on Thursday with German Chancellor
Angela Merkel.

Touching on Armenian's relations with its neighbors, Kocharian also
said, "Turkey, which is an important state in its region, closed its
borders to Armenia. An important country like Turkey should follow
a different approach."

'Proposal for historians' commission is a ploy'

The Armenian president dismissed the Turkish proposal to establish a
joint commission of historians to study the Armenian genocide claims
as a "Turkish ploy" by which he claimed Ankara will try to distance
itself from the core of the alleged issue.

Kocharian made the remarks in response to former German Ambassador
Dietrich Kyaw, who asked him why he had rejected Turkish Premier Recep
Tayyip Erdogan's proposal of a historians' commission to examine the
genocide allegations.

Kocharian also stated that Yerevan wants the establishment of a
commission of politicians instead of a commission of historians
and said, "Politicians, not historians, have responsibility for the
'genocide'."

'Nagorno-Karabakh is independent'

Kocharian also claimed that the disputed enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh
declared its independence following the collapse of the Soviet Union
and the enclave has never been a part of Azerbaijan.

Stating that Nagorno-Karabakh young people have grown up with the
will to live in an independent state and won't retreat from the ways
things are, Kocharian underlined the need for the concerned sides in
the region to be ready for a solution in Nagorno-Karabakh before the
EU makes new initiatives.

Kocharian stressed that no country that had gained its independence
will give up this right and added, "The people of Nagorno-Karabakh
also fought for for their independence and won it. Therefore they
don't want to lose it."

Nagorno-Karabakh is a mountainous region in Azerbaijan that has been
under the control of Armenian and ethnic-Armenian Karabakh forces
since a 1994 cease-fire ended a six-year separatist war that killed
about 30,000 people and drove about 1 million from their homes. The
region's final status remains unresolved, and years of talks under the
auspices of international mediators have brought few visible results.

Ankara: Armenia distorts the facts

Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesperson Namik Tan on Friday lambasted
the claim of the Armenian Foreign Ministry, saying, "The claim that
Kocharian's letter to Erdogan in 2005 did not get a response is
another example of the Armenian aim to distort the facts."

Bringing up Erdogan's proposal to setup a commission composed
of Armenian and Turkish historians to study the genocide claims,
Tan said, "While the situation is like that, the Armenian Foreign
Ministry claimed on Nov. 4 that Kocharian's letter to Erdogan did not
get a response. However, the concerned Turkish and Armenian officials
have gathered three times since April 2005, and our latest proposal
was conveyed to Yerevan this September. Therefore, the latest claim
of the Armenian Foreign Ministry is another example of the Armenian
aim to distort the facts."

From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress