MFA: Italian TV program on Armenian-Turkish Relations

MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS OF THE REPUBLIC OF ARMENIA
—————————————— —-
PRESS AND INFORMATION DEPARTMENT
375010 Telephone: +37410. 544041 ext 202
Fax: +37410. 562543
Email: [email protected]

PRESS RELEASE

21-03-2006

Italian TV program on the Past, Present and Future of Armenian-Turkish
Relations

The Italian television channel RAI UNO broadcast a live program, on
Armenian-Turkish relations on the morning of March 20. Guests on the program
were Rouben Shugarian, Armenia’s Ambassador to the Italian Republic, and
Ugur Ziyal, Turkey’s Ambassador to the Italian Republic.

The program began with an interview with Charles Aznavour conducted by a
journalist who had been in the camps of Auschwitz.

Regarding current relations, Armenia’s Ambassador repeated Armenia’s
readiness to establish diplomatic relations with Turkey without setting any
preconditions. He mentioned that keeping the borders closed contradicts the
spirit of the European Union.

In this respect, the Armenian Ambassador referred to President Kocharian’s
letter to the Turkish PM Recep Erdogan sent last year where he stressed that
governments are responsible for the development of bilateral relations, and
they have no right to shift the responsibility to historians. It is
necessary to set an intergovernmental commission to discuss and find
solutions to all bilateral problems, the President had said.

The program also included visual and documentary materials and photographs.
This broadcast was the second time in two months that RaiUNO had referred to
the Armenian Genocide. The first one, on January 20, focused on 20th century
genocides, and began with the Armenian Genocide. At that time, the Turkish
Ambassador had objected.

Further, the Turkish diplomat accused the Italian press of one-sidedness,
noting that Turkey does not adhere to a policy of denial but tries to search
for the truth, and thus proposed to set a joint commission of Armenian and
Turkish historians. Turkish historian Omer Turan had joined the Turkish
ambassador on the RaiUNO program.

Ambassador Shugarian stated that the Turkish interpretation of the issue
does not only contradict the Armenian viewpoint but that of the
international community, the vast majority of which including the Italian
parliament has acknowledged the Armenian Genocide. The Armenian diplomat
stressed that it is impossible to rewrite history or make amendments to it
by means of censorship. The Armenian Genocide is a historical fact and is
out of the question; the Armenian Diaspora are a vivid illustration of it.
“Can you imagine a commission of Jewish and German historians trying to
determine whether or not Auschwitz was real,” said Ambassador Shugarian

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