Hürriyet , Turkey
March 10 2009
Turkish FM Babacan to pay relations boosting visit to Armenia
Turkish Foreign Minister Ali Babacan decided to accept an invitation
to attend a Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC) meeting in Yerevan
next month, Hurriyet daily reported on Tuesday.
The Turkish foreign minister accepted an invitation from his Armenian
counterpart Eduard Nalbandian to attend the meeting to be held at
foreign ministerial level on April 16-17 as part of efforts targeting
the normalization of relations between the neighboring countries.
Babacan’s decision is also seen as a gesture that aims at reducing the
"risk" that U.S. President Barack Obama would define the 1915
incidents as "genocide" in a speech due to be delivered on April 24.
Babacan said last Sunday there was still a "risk" that Obama would
recognize the incidents as "genocide", adding that such a move would
only impede efforts to reconcile Turkey and Armenia.
Armenian lobby organizations have increased their efforts to have
Obama define the 1915 incidents as "genocide" in a speech due to be
delivered on April 24 and to have U.S. Congress approve legislation
formally recognizing the Armenian claims. During the election
campaign, Obama had pledged to recognize the Armenian claims.
Turkey and Armenia have no diplomatic relations and their border has
been closed for more than a decade as Armenia presses the
international community with the backing of the diaspora to admit the
so-called "genocide" claims, instead of accepting Turkey’s call to
investigate the allegations, and over Armenia’s invasion of 20 percent
territory of Azerbaijan.
A warmer period began in relations when Turkish President Abdullah Gul
paid a landmark visit to Yerevan in September to watch a World Cup
qualifying football match between the two countries. Both have been
holding contacts at the ministerial level since.
From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress