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Government House # 2, Republic Square
Yerevan 0010, Republic of Armenia
Telephone: +37410. 544041 ext 202
Fax: +37410. 562543
Email: [email protected]

Minister Oskanian Comments on
Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul's Recent Remarks

We remain amazed that a letter sent by President Kocharian to Prime
Minister Erdogan in April 2005 remains ignored, simply because the Turkish
authorities did not like the response contained therein, and do not wish
to broaden the scope of discussion beyond history.

President Kocharian clearly said to Prime Minister Erdogan that the
"suggestion to address the past cannot be effective if it deflects from
addressing the present and the future. In order to engage in a useful
dialog, we need to create the appropriate and conducive political
environment. It is the responsibility of governments to develop bilateral
relations and we do not have the right to delegate that responsibility to
historians. That is why we have proposed and propose again that, without
pre-conditions, we establish normal relations between our two countries."

In that context, President Kocharian said, "an intergovernmental
commission can meet to discuss any and all outstanding issues between our
two nations, with the aim of resolving them and coming to an

Foreign Minister Gul's recent comments to RadioLiberty, insisting that the
existence of flights between Armenia and Turkey, and of Armenian citizens
in Turkey, is evidence that 'the borders are essentially open' is
disingenuous. First, the number of Armenians from Armenia living and
working in Turkey do not approach the numbers he claims. Second, open
borders assumes direct contacts between peoples, unobstructed relations
across the border and a functioning transport infrastructure.

We stand by our response which we consider to be a positive one and we
wonder whether the Turkish insistence on a historical commission is
genuine. After all, we have in fact agreed to discussions on all issues,
in the context of open borders.
Further, so long as Article 301 which criminalizes mere discussion of the
genocide topic remains on the books in Turkey, an invitation to open
dialogue cannot be taken seriously. Finally, outside Turkey, scholars -
Armenians, Turks and others - have studied these issues and have reached
their own independent conclusions. The most notable among these is the May
2006 letter to Prime Minister Erdogan by the International Assn of
Genocide Scholars wherein they collectively and unanimously affirmed the
fact of the Genocide and called on the Turkish government to acknowledge
the responsibility of a previous government.

In light of these complex realities, we can only repeat our readiness to
enter into dialogue and normal relations with our neighbor.