Sarkisyan Rejects Turkish Preconditions In Ankara-Yerevan Talks


sh-news/12611-sarkisyan-rejects-turkish-preconditi ons-in-ankara-yerevan-talks.html
July 31 2009
Friday, 31 July 2009 07:37

Armenian President Serge Sarkisian criticized Turkey for committing
to a precondition that links normalizing bilateral relations with
the settlement of Nagorno-Karabakh conflict with Azerbaijan.

Turkey and Armenia held talks aimed at normalizing relations for a
year and agreed on two documents, Sarkisian was quoted by Russia’s
ITAR-Tass news agency as telling young representatives of Armenian
diaspora on Thursday.

"But after that certain political forces in Turkey attempted to advance
preconditions and link the establishment of diplomatic relations
with Armenia to the Nagorno-Karabakh problem and Armenian-Azerbaijani
relations," he added.

Sarkisian said Armenia "extended a hand" to Turkey despite historic
problems such as the 1915 incidents.

"Despite the difficult path, we proposed to the Turkish leadership
to establish diplomatic relations without any preconditions, to open
roads and then discuss the issues we consider necessary," he said.

"We realize that Turkey is a big country, we realize its role in
the region and in the world. However, we are an independent state,
and they cannot speak to us in the language of ultimatums. Any such
step causes a back reaction," he added.

His remarks a day after Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu
reiterated Ankara’s stance conditioning the normalization of relations
with Yerevan to the resolution of Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. He said
Turkey was still resolute about normalizing relations with Armenia,
but reiterated that it wanted to see the same determination from
the international community and especially from Yerevan on the
Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

Ankara cut diplomatic links with Yerevan and closed the border,
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 frozen
conflict legacy of the Soviet Union known as Nagorno-Karabakh.

Ankara and Yerevan, however, have been engaged in a normalization
process, including the reopening of the border, since President
Abdullah Gul’s landmark visit to Armenia last year as the first
Turkish leader to visit the neighboring country.

The two countries agreed in April on a "road map" deal for normalizing
ties after months of U.S.-backed talks, but there have been few signs
of progress since the announcement.

The Armenian president said earlier this week he wanted significant
diplomatic progress before he agrees to attend a World Cup qualifying
match in Turkey. He said he would not accept the invitation unless
Ankara takes "real steps" to open its border with the neighboring
country. Sarkisian was invited to the return leg of the World Cup
qualifying tie between Turkey and Armenia on Oct. 14 when Gul was in
Yerevan last year to attend the first leg.

Armenian media, however, reported Thursday he would definitely accept
the invitation and visit Turkey. Ayk daily said he would cite that
"the countries were on the brink of removing blockades" to justify
his visit.