ARMENIAN PRESIDENT DETECTS THAW WITH TURKEY
Agence France Presse — English
July 21, 2008 Monday 12:32 PM GMT
Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian said Monday he detected a thaw
in relations with Turkey, confirming that diplomats from the two
neighbours had held meetings in Switzerland.
Sarkisian earlier this month invited Gul to watch a football World
Cup qualifying match between Turkey and Armenia in Yerevan in
September. Gul, who has also said he wants greater cooperation,
has yet to reply.
"A readiness to begin healthy discussions on existing problems in
Armenia-Turkey relations has appeared," Sarkisian told journalists
"A visit by Gul to Armenia could transform these tendencies into a
stable and positive movement," he said.
Ankara has refused to establish diplomatic ties with Armenia since
its independence in 1991 because of Armenian efforts to secure
international recognition of Armenian massacres under the Ottoman
Empire as genocide.
Sarkisian’s latest comments came after diplomats from the two
countries, which have no formal diplomatic relations, met in
Switzerland this month to discuss normalising ties.
Turkish media reported that the talks were held in secret and marked
an important step in reconciling the two sides.
But, like Turkish officials, Sarkisian downplayed the significance
of the talks.
"There was no secret or reason to be surprised. Such contacts between
Armenian and Turkish diplomats never stopped. They have always taken
place," he said.
In 1993, Turkey shut its border with Armenia in a show of solidarity
with its close ally Azerbaijan, then at war with Armenia, dealing a
heavy economic blow to the impoverished ex-Soviet nation.
From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress