Sharmanazov: RPA Does Not Share But Respects The Position Of ARF


September 23, 2009

YEREVAN, September 23. / ARKA /. The governing Republican Party of
Armenia (RPA) does not share the position of the Armenian Revolutionary
Federation (ARF) on the Armenian-Turkish relations, but treats it with
respect, the secretary of the parliamentary faction of the Republican
Party of Armenia Eduard Sharmazanov said.

On August 31, Armenia and Turkey reached an agreement in Swiss-mediated
talks to start internal political consultations over two protocols –
the protocol about establishing diplomatic relations between the two
countries and the protocol about developing bilateral relations.

The consultations are expected to be completed within six weeks; then
the protocols are to be signed and submitted for parliaments’ approval.

"The concern of the political forces, meaning ARF, that are
constantly talking about the recognition of the Armenian Genocide is
reasonable. Both Armenia and Turkey have not only supporters of the
ratification of the Armenian-Turkish protocols, but the opponents of
it as well. That is why this issue will be nominated for a discussion
by the parliaments of both countries," Sharmazanov said on Tuesday
at the Novosti International Press Center.

ARF Dashnaktsutyun is holding a sit-in and hunger strike near the
government in Yerevan, protesting against signing the protocols on
the normalization of Armenian-Turkish relations since they see a thr
eat to national interests of Armenia in them.

"I am familiar with the proposal of our colleagues from the ARF
on the inclusion of items regarding the Armenian Genocide and the
Nagorno-Karabakh problem, which can not be regarded as preconditions
for establishing bilateral relations, but I think that we should not
look for hidden meanings between the lines," Sharmazanov said.

He noted that he agrees with those political scientists who believe
that the Armenian side got the most out of what could have been
obtained at this stage.

"We have always talked about the necessity of diplomatic relations
without preconditions, and the Armenian diplomacy has recorded some
progress in this sense," Sharmazanov said, recalling the no less
important fact that the United States, European Union and Russia
are positively in favor of the principles proposed by the President
of Armenia.

Turkey and Armenia have had no diplomatic ties since Armenia became
independent from the Soviet Union in 1991. Turkey closed its border
with Armenia in 1993 in a show of support for its ally, Azerbaijan,
which had a dispute with Armenia over Nagorno-Karabakh, the ethnic
Armenian enclave of Azerbaijan.

There are several sensitive issues complicating the establishment of
normal relations between the two countries, particularly, Ankara’s
blatant support of Azerbaijan in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict
resolution process and Turkey’s refusal to acknowled ge the mass
killings of Armenians in the last years of the Ottoman Empire as

The thaw in the strained relations began in 2008 September after
Turkish president Abdullah Gul arrived in Armenia, at his counterpart’s
invitation, to watch together with Serzh Sargsyan the 2010 World Cup
qualifying football game between the two countries’ national teams.

During that visit the two presidents discussed prospects for engaging
in dialogue and normalization of relations.

After the match, the Turkish leader invited his Armenian counterpart
to attend the second match between the football teams of the two
countries in Turkey on October 14, 2009.

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