ARMENIANS NOT HOPEFUL FOR RESTORATION OF TIES WITH TURKEY

Today's Zaman
03 October 2008, Friday
Turkey

A poll released yesterday in Yerevan revealed that more than one-third
of the Armenian people believe that normalization of bilateral
relations between Armenia and Turkey is impossible.

Syuzanna Barsegyan of the Armenia Center for National and Strategic
Research announced at a press conference the results of the survey
concerning Armenia-Turkey relations.

According to the survey, 33 percent of Armenians believe it impossible
to have good relations with Turkey, while 43 percent said that they
doubted that there could be a good relationship between Armenia
and Turkey.

Barsegyan said that only 24 percent of Armenians believe that
normalization of relations between Armenia and Turkey is possible.

"According to the results, 64 percent of people state that they
consider Turkey an enemy country, saying that there is a need to be
careful in any contact with this country," Barsegyan said.

While 11 percent of Armenians said they were against any kind of
cooperation with Turkey, 76 percent said relations with Turkey could
be normalized only after Armenia's preconditions are accepted by
Turkey. Last month, a poll conducted in Turkey found that a brief
visit by President Abdullah Gul to Yerevan to attend a soccer match
between the Turkish and Armenian national teams, considered a landmark
step to thaw relations between the two countries, was welcomed by an
overwhelming majority of Turkish society.

According to the survey by the Ankara-based MetroPOLL Strategic &
Social Research Center, 69.6 percent of those polled found Gul's
visit to Armenia successful, a figure suggesting that Turks are
hopeful the visit may be a turning point in the relations between
Turkey and Armenia. Armenian President Serzh Sarksyan invited Gul to
watch a World Cup qualifying match between the Turkish and Armenian
national teams in Yerevan. Gul's acceptance of the invitation raised
hopes for dialogue that could eventually restore relations between
the two estranged neighbors and help bury an almost century-old
hostility.