Dialogue With Turkey Could Hurt Armenia, Says Manoyan

DIALOGUE WITH TURKEY COULD HURT ARMENIA, SAYS MANOYAN

427_4/13/2009_1
Monday, April 13, 2009

YEREVAN (Combined Sources)–The dialogue with Turkey could hurt
Armenia, said Armenian Revolutionary Federation Political Director
Giro Manoyan Monday during a press conference.

Manoyan emphasized that any agreement on the border opening must
accompany relevant documents on the establishing of diplomatic
relations between the two countries, saying that opening of the
borders would be meaningless with such an agreement.

Speaking at a news conference on Friday, President Serzh Sarkisian said
Armenia would "emerge from this process stronger" in any case because
the international community will have no doubts about its commitment
to an unconditional normalization of Turkish-Armenian relations.

"In a sense, we share the president’s opinion," said Manoyan, "But it
all depends on how long those negotiations will continue and whether
or not we will lose something else in the process."

Manoyan said that Armenia, up to now, has successfully avoided the
inclusion of the Nagorno-Karabakh peace process in its discussions
with Turkey. However, he said, the recent vocal opposition to any
agreement between Armenia and Turkey by Azerbaijan could compel Turkey
to take a second look.

In the event that Turkey yields to Azeri demands, Manoyan said,
the talks will crumble.

Manoyan explained that Turkey has entered this process because of
its regional interests and the talks of an impending agreement were
strategically positioned to ward off any possible recognition of the
Genocide by President Barack Obama, who made a campaign pledge to
properly characterize the events of 1915 as genocide.

"One of the reasons why Turkey began the negotiations is to
prevent Obama from uttering the word genocide on April 24," he told
journalists. "And if the Turks succeed in doing that, I think we will
not quite emerge stronger whatever the outcome of the negotiations."

Obama avoided using the term during his visit to Turkey last week,
citing the need not to undermine the Turkish-Armenian talks. He said
those talks "could bear fruit very quickly, very soon."

However, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has since twice
stated that his country will not establish diplomatic relations with
Armenia and open the Turkish-Armenian border before a resolution of
the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. "We will not sign a final deal with
Armenia unless there is agreement between Azerbaijan and Armenia on
Nagorno-Karabakh," Erdogan said on Friday, according to the Anatolia
news agency.

Manoyan reiterated that any agreement between Armenian and Turkey
should not call into question the veracity of the Armenian Genocide. He
also said that the ARF would publish its assessment of the political
and economic implications on Armenia of an Armenian-Turkey agreement
in the near future.

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