ANKARA: Turkish Preconditions in Ankara-Yerevan Talks Rejected

Journal of Turkish Weekly
Aug 1 2009

Turkish Preconditions in Ankara-Yerevan Talks Rejected

Saturday, 1 August 2009

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, has recently restated that
Turkey wants a solution to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict before
continuing with its normalization of relations with
Armenia. Azerbaijan, a close friend to Turkey, has been in a
territorial dispute with Armenia over the region which lays within the
formers borders.

The Armenian President, Serge Sarkisian, has criticized Turkey for
pushing for the precondition which stipulates that unless a resolution
can be made in the conflict with Azerbaijan, relations will be

Hurriyet Daily News reports that Sarkisian was quoted by Russia’s
ITAR-Tass news agency as telling young representatives of the Armenian
diaspora, "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 also said that Armenia has, "extended a hand" to Turkey
in spite of problems the two have had in the past, including the 1915

Turkey and Armenia have been in the midst of a normalization process
since President Abdullah Gul’s visit last year, as the first Turkish
leader to visit Armenia. He attended the first leg of the
Turkey-Armenia World Cup qualifying match and this October, Sarkisian
is scheduled to return the visit and attend the match where they will
face off once again. However, the Armenian President had mentioned
earlier this week that he would not agree to attend until notable
diplomatic progress had been made. He is insisting that Turkey take,
"real steps" and open the border between the two countries.

The Pro-Armenian members of the United States House of Representatives
have also expressed disapproval over Turkey’s insistence on
preconditions. They have stated that it is in conflict with the US
policy that normalization occur without preconditions. The United
States has backed talks between the two countries for months in order
to aid in progress but progress has been limited.

In a letter sent by 81 members of Congress to President Barack Obama,
complaints that Turkey was not keeping its promise to progress
Turkey-Armenia relations were highlighted.

Hurriyet Daily News included this excerpt from the letter, "While the
government of Armenia remains committed to this road map and has long
offered to establish ties with Turkey without preconditions, Turkey’s
public statements and actions since April 24 stand in sharp contrast
to this agreement and undermine U.S. policy that normalization take
place without preconditions."

By Stacy Maruskin (JTW)
Saturday, 1 August 2009
Journal of Turkish Weekly

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