ANKARA: US Lawmakers Voice Concerns Over Armenia-Turkey Protocol


Hurriyet Daily News
Sept 8 2009

Tuesday, September 8, 2009
WASHINGTON – Daily News with wires

Co-chairmen of the U.S. Congressional Caucus on Armenian Issues have
expressed reservations regarding Turkey’s willingness to cooperate
with implementation of its agreements under a set of recently signed
protocols, the Armenian Weekly reported Tuesday.

A six-week deadline has been set for both the Turkish and Armenian
governments to conclude consultations, and for their respective
parliaments to ratify the protocols on the normalization of relations
between the two countries. Once ratified, a two-month timetable has
been set for the opening of the common border.

Democrat Rep. Frank Pallone and Republican Rep. Mark Kirk questioned
several points related to the protocols, including what they called
Turkey’s pattern of using its ongoing dialogue with Armenia as a "stall
tactic" to delay the opening of borders. The co-chairmen also noted
their concern about Turkey’s efforts to impose preconditions, adding:
"Normalization of relations should take place without preconditions."

"Any attempt to include a review of historical facts, such as the
Armenian genocide, or to include the ongoing Nagorno-Karabakh peace
process into these negotiations stands in direct opposition to the
intent of these talks," the congressmen said in a rebuke to the
historians’ commission.

"We remain hopeful that Turkey, by lifting its illegal blockade, will
open the door to normalized relations between Yerevan and Ankara,
and a new era of Armenia-Turkey relations based on truth, justice,
peace, and cooperation," the caucus co-chairmen said. "By coming to
terms with the past and reconciling any current conflicts, Turkey and
Armenia will help bring more stability to a volatile and strategic
region of the world."

Earlier this week, Democrat Rep. Adam Schiff, the lead author of
the "genocide" resolution, expressed "serious concerns about some
provisions of the protocols," suggesting: "True reconciliation between
the Armenian and Turkish peoples will occur when Turkey acknowledges
the genocide that was committed by the Ottoman Empire against Armenians
from 1915 to 1923."

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