ANKARA: Opposition Leader Baykal Is Against President’s Possible Vis

Emine Ozcan

Sept 2 2008

Opposition leader Baykal says President Gul should not accept the
invitation of the Armenian President to watch the Armenia-Turkey
soccer game together in Armenia. There are those who think it will
be a step in the right direction.

The possibility that President Abdullah Gul may go to Erivan to watch
the Armenia-Turkey soccer game has received harsh response from Deniz
Baykal, president of the Republican People’s Party (CHP). He said he
would have rather gone to Baku, Azerbaijan’s capitol city.

Prof. Dr. Baskın Oran and journalist/writer AyÅ~_e Hur have reacted
to Baykal’s response to the President’s possible plan to visit Armenia.

Oran said, "the visit means the desire to normalize the relationships"
and Hur emphasized that solving the problems between the two countries
started by forming relations.

Baykal is for restricted relationship Armenian President Serj Sargisyan
had said that he could have taken a step that would help advance the
relations between the two countries and had invited Gul to the soccer
game in Armenia.

Minister of Foreign Affairs Ali Babacan confirmed that a delegation
from Turkey would go to Armenia. According to an authority from the
ministry, if Gul goes to Armenia his agenda will be the ‘Mountainous
Karabag’, the disputed enclave between Armenia and Azerbaijan, which
is under the Armenian occupation at the moment.

Baykal rests his objection on three reasons:

– Turkey’s territorial integrity has not been accepted by Armenia yet.

– Armenia supports the genocide allegation against Turkey with all
the means possible.

– Armenia occupied the Azerbaijan territory, the Upper Karabag,
and this occupation is still continuing.

According to Baykal the relationship between Armenia and Turkey should
stay restricted

"Armenia does not have a problem with its Turkish border" Oran made
the following comments about Baykal’s explanations:

– "I personally heard Vartan Oskanyan, Foreign Minister of Armenia,
saying that they did not have any problem with their Turkish
border. When the foreign ministers make declarations like this one,
they are binding."

– "As long as Turkey denies the 1915 massacres, we cannot use the
term genocide. As long as we defend the things the Ottomans did,
nobody will accept our objection to the term genocide."

– "Is it Turkey’s business to defend Azerbaijan’s interests? Azerbaijan
committee left the hall during a European Council meeting when the
subject was the Cyprus problem. For they would have been in an awkward
position if they had defended Northern Cyprus’s right to be a state,
when they were against the same right in the case of the Mountainous

"We could ease the problem by starting mutual relationships" According
to Hur, the solution to this particular problem could only start by
forming relations, not by satisfying Baykal’s conditions.

Emphasizing the complexity of the Karabag problem, Hur says the
relations can be improved and this way it may be possible for Turkey
to be part of the problems. Turkey can state its own opinions about
the Karabag problem. It can be a mediator. This way a new genocide
terminology can be developed as well. Putting the need to have a
relationship before anything else may be helpful to solving the

–Boundary_(ID_hOLpox8onCSTIZdMZHKlX Q)–

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