Secret Talks In Bern


AZG Armenian Daily


The Switzerland-Armenia Society (SAS) expresses its gladness about
Switzerland being chosen the place for Armenia-Turkey talks. The
rumors about the secret talks, which evidently started on July 8 in
Bern between Armenia and Turkey, were indirectly grounded by Foreign
Minister Ali Babacan. The Switzerland-Armenia Society (SAS) also
points out that with the positive atmosphere are shrouded the real
intentions of turkey, which is to argue the fact of the Armenian
Genocide and to hamper its worldwide recognition. It makes little
sense as Switzerland has adopted the fact of the Armenian Genocide
on the level of the Federal Court. The Switzerland-Armenia Society
(SAS) is sure that Armenia-Turkey dialogue will be effective only in
case the latter opens the border with Armenia, closed since 1993.

It has been already a month since the Armenian side is making some
signs of starting talks with Turkey. On June 26-27 Federal Councilor
Michelin Calmie-Rey during his visit to Armenia clearly hinted that
Switzerland is ready to become a mediator between Armenia and its
western neighbor.

Armenia and Turkish have not established regular diplomatic relations
since 1991. Because of Turkey’s strategic alliance with Azerbaijan
Turkey closed its border with Armenia in 1993. Up to the present
day Turkey has been linking the disclosure of the border with
the withdrawal of the Armenian forces from Karabakh and with the
resignation of the "claims" about the 1915 Genocide. During the recent
years the Turkish side suggests establishing a joint commission with
Armenia to study the events of 1914-1917.

The SAS does not oppose the idea of an international authoritative
commission of scientists who would study the less known facts about
the Genocide and would publish its researches. The SAS is categorically
against any attempt to diminish the importance of the Armenian Genocide
or moreover to deny it completely.

It is not the first time when Switzerland has offered its
mediation. Already on July 9, 2001 the unofficial delegations from
Armenian and Turkey met in Geneva and the first session of the
Armenia-Turkey reconciliation committee started.. That time the
negotiations were halted because of serious controversies regarding
the international recognition of the Genocide. In 2002 the Turkish
delegation left because of the discussion whether the UN definition
of genocide is to be applied to the 1914-1917 events in the Ottoman
Empire. Turkey could not accept the fact of the 1914-17 events being
qualified as Genocide by the International Centre of Transition
Justice in 2004, so it finally broke up with the Armenia-Turkey
reconciliation committee.

Although the SAS is rather pessimistic about starting a really serious
dialogue with Turkey, a country where politicians and historians
are being killed for their political ideas, the organization is
sure that the fact of the Armenian Genocide cannot be subject to any
speculation. Tangible improvement of Armenia-Turkey relations will be
possible only after the authorities of the latter definitely recognize
the Armenian Genocide.