FM: Turkey Keeps In Contact With Armenia


July 18 2008

Turkey’s Foreign Minister Ali Babacan said Friday that Turkey has
contact with Armenia from time to time.

Regarding some news reports indicating direct talks between Turkey and
Armenia, Babacan said at a joint news conference with visiting Iranian
Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki here that "Turkey recognizes
Armenia. Within this framework, we keep in contact with Armenia."

"Turkish diplomats meet their counterparts from Armenia from time
to time. No doubt this (diplomatic) traffic is important for the
relations between Turkey and Armenia. What is important is how to
normalize relations," Babacan said.

"There are problems. There are current problems and differences of
opinion on the incidents of 1915. We must handle all issues through
dialogue," Babacan said.

While Turkey recognized the state of Armenia soon after its
independence, there are currently no formal diplomatic relations
between Armenia and Turkey, with Yerevan claims that up to 1.5 million
Armenians died as a result of mass killing during the Turkish Ottoman
period between 1915 and 1923 being a bitter point of contention.

Turkey categorically rejects the mass killing accusation, and argues
that 300,000 Armenians and at least as many Muslim Turks died in
civil strife and efforts to relocate populations away from the World
War One war zone in eastern Turkey.