Nov 25 2010

Armenia will resume the normalization of ties with Turkey only after
the Zurich protocols have been ratified, the parliamentary speaker
has said.

National Assembly Chairman Hovik Abrahamyan made the comments in the
Syrian parliament on Wednesday, ArmInfo news agency reported.

He said that Armenia had initiated the normalization of ties with
Turkey in an effort to strengthen peace and stability in the region.

"The protocols under which Armenia and Turkey agreed to open their
border and establish diplomatic relations without prerequisites
were signed in Zurich [in 2009]. However, soon after the signing,
the Turkish authorities started to set prerequisites, which were
first masked and then open," Abrahamyan said.

Armenian leaders have criticized their Turkish counterparts for saying
that substantial progress is needed on the withdrawal of Armenian
troops from the occupied areas of Azerbaijan before the protocols
can be implemented and relations normalized.

Abrahamyan said that Ankara should demonstrate political will and
determination to continue the process and reject the language of

"However, neither the process, nor the establishment of relations with
Turkey mean that Armenia doubts the fact of the Armenian genocide. We
will never allow this issue to become a bargaining chip; in addition,
we will further strive to gain international recognition of the
genocide and the restoration of historical justice, since condemnation
of a crime can avert its repetition," the Armenian National Assembly
chairman said.

One of the protocols signed with Turkey envisages the creation of a
commission to investigate the killings of Armenians in the Ottoman
Empire in 1915, something that Ankara insists was not genocide.

From: A. Papazian