ANKARA: Kocharian ‘Neighborly ties should precondition EU entry’

Turkish Daily News
25 June 2004

‘Good neighborly ties should be precondition for Turkey’s EU entry’

Armenian President Kocharian says Turkey and his country should start
building relations in practical areas

ANKARA – Turkish Daily News
Armenian President Robert Kocharian has said good relations with its
neighbors should be a precondition set by the European Union in order to
accept Turkey as a member, the Anatolia news agency reported.

Speaking at a session of the Council of Europe’s parliamentary assembly in
Strasbourg earlier this week, Kocharian called on Turkey to build bilateral
ties with his country by beginning to cooperate in practical areas.

Kocharian said Armenia had no preconditions for establishing relations with
Turkey but, in a veiled reference to Azerbaijan, added that third countries
should not intervene in this type of process.

Turkey and Armenia do not enjoy diplomatic relations due to both a
territorial dispute between Azerbaijan and Armenia over the Nagorno-Karabakh
region, originally a part of Azerbaijani territory but now under Armenian
occupation, and Armenian claims of a genocide allegedly committed by the

The Armenians claim that during the final days of the Ottoman Empire their
ancestors were executed for allegedly helping the invading Russian army
during World War I. Turkey, the heir of the Ottoman Empire, rejects the
genocide claim, insisting that the Armenians were killed in civil unrest
during the collapse of the empire.

Referring to the alleged genocide, Kocharian said relations between Turkey
and Armenia should emerge from the shadow of the past.

In a reference to the dispute over Nagorno-Karabakh, Kocharian claimed that
after the collapse of the Soviet Union, Azerbaijan and Nagorno-Karabakh were
constituted as two separate independent states, legimitimizing the Armenian
invasion of the area.