Turkey Reiterates Determination To Normalize Ties With Armenia



July 30 2009

ANKARA, July 29 (Xinhua) — Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu
said Wednesday the Turkish government is still resolute to normalize
relations with neighboring Armenia, the semi-official Anatolia news
agency reported.

The top Turkish diplomat told a press conference after his meeting
with visiting Bosnian Foreign Minister Sven Alkalaj that the Turkish
government is hopeful about the normalization of ties with Armenia.

"We believe that the most extensive normalization would be seen in
our region in the coming period," Davutoglu said.

"But at the same time, it is important for us to see the same
determination from the international community and especially from
Armenia on the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan," he added.

On July 24 last year, the then Turkish Foreign Minister Ali Babacan
expressed Ankara’s willingness to normalize relations with Yerevan.

Turkish President Abdullah Gul travelled to Armenia in September
2008 to watch 2010 FIFA World Cup qualifier match between the two
countries upon an invitation by Armenian President Serzh Sarkisyan.

Turkey and Armenia are to play another qualifier in the largest Turkish
city of Istanbul in September 2009, but Sarkisyan said Tuesday he
would only accept an invitation to the return match if Turkey takes
"real steps" to open their border.

Turkey and Armenia have no diplomatic or economic ties since Armenia
declared its independence in 1991 and Turkey closed its border with
Armenia in 1993 to support Azerbaijan during its conflict with Armenia
over the Upper Karabakh region.

Armenia claims that more than 1.5 million Armenians were killed in
a systematic genocide in the hands of the Ottomans during World War
I before modern Turkey was born in 1923.

But Turkey insists that the Armenians were victims of widespread
chaos and governmental breakdown as the 600-year-old empire collapsed
before 1923.