BAKU: Erdogan Blames Yerevan for Worsening of Turkish-Armenian

Baku Today, Azerbaijan
June 28 2004

Erdogan Blames Yerevan for Worsening of Turkish-Armenian relations

Baku Today 28/06/2004 15:44

Armenia can hope for a betterment of its relationship with Turkey
only in the event the country normalizes its relations with
Azerbaijan and gives up genocide claims, Turkish Prime Minister Recep
Tayyip Erdogan said on Monday, ANS reported.

`The Armenian Diaspora is still sticking to its so-called genocide
claims. Turkey and Turks will never accept this. It is impossible to
forge relationship under these conditions,’ Erdogan said in a meeting
that was also attended by U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell and
British Prime Minister Tony Blair.

Erdogan also said Armenia is the occupier of Azerbaijan’s territories
and that Yerevan’s aggressive policy toward its neighbors is the only
reason leading to the current deterioration of the Turkish-Armenian

`Turkey and Azerbaijan are for peace and Armenia is against it,’ ANS
quoted Erdogan as saying. However, the Turkish premier noted that his
government is not against a betterment of the Turkish-Armenian
relationship, which Armenia needs more.

`We know quite well in what conditions the Armenian people live,’
Erdogan said.

He also voiced dissatisfaction to the Armenian President Robert
Kocharian’s absence in the NATO’s summit that opened in Istanbul on
Monday. `There is no justification for this [behavior],’ Erdogan

Turkish-Armenian borders are officially closed off and there is no
diplomatic relationship between the two countries. For establishing
of diplomatic relationship and opening of the borders, Turkey demands
that Armenia withdraw Azerbaijan’s occupied territories, give up
territorial claims against Ankara and stop propagating the so-called
genocide of Armenians by Turks in early 20th century.