US Hopes Gul Will Accept Armenian President’s Invitation


July 19 2008

The U.S. administration hopes Turkish President Abdullah Gul
to accept the invitation of his Armenian counterpart to watch a
qualifying football game in Yerevan in September, Hurriyet daily
reports. Officials said if Gul accepts the invitation and visits
Yerevan to watch the football game between the Turkish and Armenian
national teams, then this would a "great opening." "We want those
two neighboring countries to speak to each other, to get closer,
and to normalize relations between Ankara and Yerevan. We hope
President Abdullah Gul accepts the invitation and visits Yerevan
to watch the game," an official was quoted as saying. Armenian
President Serzh Sargsyan invited in early July Turkish President
Abdullah Gul to watch the football match in Yerevan between the two
countries on Sept. 6 for the 2010 World Cup qualifiers to mark "a
new start in relations". Gul is yet to declare his official decision
on the invitation as the evaluation of the Turkish foreign ministry
continues. 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 genocide claims," the newspaper says. However,
a warm exchange of letters between Sargsyan and Gul in late April
raised optimism for a fresh initiative to normalize relations, while
Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan then expressed his hope that
Sargsyan’s election victory will "lead to a new period in relations."