TURKISH FOREIGN MINISTER CONFIRMS DIRECT TALKS WITH ARMENIAN OFFICIALS
July 18 2008
Turkish and Armenian officials have been holding direct talks to boost
dialogue between two neighboring countries, the foreign minister
said on Friday. Hurriyet daily reported on Friday that Turkish and
Armenian officials had met in Switzerland on July 8. (UPDATED)
"Turkey is a country which recognizes Armenia. We hold meetings and
consultations with our Armenian interlocutors from time to time," Ali
Babacan told in a joint news conference with his Iranian counterpart,
when asked about Hurriyet’s report.
Turkey and Armenia held a series of secret meetings in the capital
of Switzerland on July 8. A high-level official from the Foreign
Ministry headed the Turkish delegation during the talks which led
to a positive atmosphere between the two countries, according to a
report in Hurriyet daily.
This meeting came after Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan’s proposal
for "a fresh start" with the goal of normalizing relations with Turkey
and opening the border. Sargsyan also invited Turkish President
Abdullah Gul to watch a football match between the two country’s
national teams on Sept 6 to mark "a new symbolic start in the two
Turkish officials told Hurriyet the invitation has been evaluated
and did not rule out accepting it since it would not be an official
visit. Ertugrul Ozkok, editor-in-chief of Hurriyet daily, wrote in his
column that a high-level official from the foreign ministry confirmed
the report, but asked not to publish the story.
"No doubt, this (diplomatic) traffic is important for the relations
between Turkey and Armenia. What is important is how to normalize
relations," Babacan said.
Turkey is among the first countries that recognized Armenia when it
declared its independency. However there is no diplomatic relations
between two countries, as Armenia presses the international community
to admit the so-called "genocide" claims instead of accepting Turkey’s
call to investigate the allegations, and its invasion of 20 percent
of Azerbaijani territory despite U.N. Security Council resolutions
on the issue.
From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress