ANKARA: US, Switzerland Cool To Turkish Quest For Assurance On Armen

US, SWITZERLAND COOL TO TURKISH QUEST FOR ASSURANCE ON ARMENIA TIES

Hurriyet
Feb 8 2010
Turkey

In order to move ahead with normalization efforts with Armenia, Turkey
is seeking assurances from Washington and Bern that no limitations
will be placed on the mission and methodology of the history commission
planned to be established to look into the 1915 killings of Armenians,
as set out in the Turkish-Armenian protocols The United States and
Switzerland remain cool to a Turkish quest for assurance in the wake
of a top Armenian court’s decision on the constitutionality of the
Turkish-Armenian protocols.

Turkey has sought guarantees regarding the mission and methodology
of the history commission to be established as part of the protocols
to look into the 1915 killings of Armenians at the hands of the
Ottoman Empire.

While Western capitals find Turkey’s reaction to be "exaggerated"
in response to the court ruling that refers to the alleged Armenian
genocide, both Washington and Bern say the Armenian court’s decision
presents no legal obstacle to the implementation of the protocols
signed by the foreign ministers of Turkey and Armenia in October
in Zurich.

The Armenian court’s Jan. 12 decision established that the protocols
with Turkey conformed to the country’s constitution, but the reasoned
decision refers to the Armenian Declaration of Independence, which
uses the word "genocide." Ankara says the reference in the court
decision to a declaration rejecting even the questioning of the 1915
killings of Armenians is against the spirit of the normalization
process with Yerevan.

The future of the process is at stake as Turkey and Armenia blame
each other for possible failure.

"We began the normalization process with Armenia within the framework
of our vision toward the region, not because we were under any type
of pressure," Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Burak Ozugergin told
the Hurriyet Daily News & Economic Review.

Boosting diplomacy

The court ruling has given a boost to diplomatic traffic. Foreign
Minister Ahmet Davutoglu has relayed Turkey’s concerns firsthand
to European, American and Armenian officials during telephone
conversations and on the sidelines of international conferences. But
the general mood in Washington and other Western capitals is that
Turkey will be responsible for the possible failure of normalization
efforts.

Foreign diplomatic sources told the Hurriyet Daily News & Economic
Review that the Armenian court ruling was not standing in the way of
the protocols. On the contrary, they said the court ruled the protocols
were compatible with the Armenian constitution while characterizing
Turkey’s reaction as "exaggerated."

Ankara admits that the court decision is not an obstacle to the
implementation of the protocols but defends its position that no
limitation should placed on the mission and methodology of the history
commission to be established following the opening of the countries’
sealed border under the agreed-upon accords.

Turkey seeks assurances from Washington, Bern

In order to go ahead with normalization efforts with Armenia, the
Turkish Foreign Ministry is seeking assurances from both Bern and
Washington, the Daily News has learned from well-informed sources.

Turkey says the history commission will be established not to prove
how the alleged genocide was committed, but to impartially examine
the historical accords and archives and define existing problems in
Turkish-Armenian relations according to the agreed-upon protocols.

"We don’t say the commission will be set up to prove no genocide was
committed; we want the commission to be set up in order to prove what
the history between us is," a diplomatic source told the Daily News.

"But what the Armenians do is the opposite."

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