Turkish PM hints President Gul to visit Armenia

Turkey's PM Erdogan signalled that President Gul might have actually decided to accept invitation of Armenian President Serzh Sargsian.

Turkish PM hints President Gul to visit Armenia

Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who attended the August 30th victory reception hosted at the Gazi officer's club in Ankara, signalled Saturday that President Abdullah Gul might travel to Armenia.

Commenting on the possibility of President Abdullah Gul's travelling to Armenia for a national soccer match after decades of no diplomatic exchange with this country, Erdogan said he wished it would bring positive results, hinting that the President might have actually decided to accept invitation of Armenian President Serzh Sargsian.

Erdogan also said Turkey's Foreign Minister Ali Babacan would accompany Gul during the trip to discuss relations with Armenia.

However, Gul, who also attended the reception, told reporters that they did not reach a decision on the matter yet saying that they were still contemplating.

Armenian President Sargsian, who publicly declared that he would shortly take steps to revive relations with Turkey, has recently invited his Turkish counterpart Gul to Armenia to watch together the 2010 World Cup qualifying round game between the two countries on September 6th.

Yerivan based Mediamax news agency quoted Sargsian as having said this game "would contribute to normalisation of relations between the two countries," during a visit to Moscow in June.

On July 24th, Babacan expressed Turkey's willingness to normalize relations with Armenia at a press conference in New York, saying that Turkey also wanted to create an atmosphere of dialogue with Armenia.

Referring to letters Turkish president, prime minister and other high level officials sent to their Armenian counterparts shortly after the recent elections in this country, Babacan had announced that these letters aimed at opening a new door of dialogue with the new (Armenian) administration.

Babacan said it was natural for Turkey --whose aim was to have zero problems with its neighbors-- to expect concrete steps from Armenia and expressed his belief that Turkey's problems could be solved through dialogue, and underlined importance of setting up a joint committee of historians to deal with the incidents of 1915.

Later in July, Armenian Foreign Minister Eduard Nalbandian told Mediamax that they wanted to normalise relations with Turkey. Nalbandian said to this end they wished Gul would accept Sargsian's invitation to watch the qualifier in Yerevan, adding that it would create an opportunity to discuss bilateral relations.

Nalbandian said Armenia took a step by inviting Gul. "This initiative received positive response in the international arena. Now it is Turkey's turn."

Relations with Armenia

While Turkey recognized the independence of the new Armenian State in 1992 along with the international community after the collapse of the Soviet Union, it suspended diplomatic relations with this country when it (Armenia) invaded Azarbaijan's territory.

Despite this Ankara has taken some concrete steps aiming to establish good neighbourly relations with this country, while Yerevan made demands like "talks without preconditions" or "opening of the border passes", which merely postponed the solution of existing problems.

Turkey sent food stuff to Armenia as humanitarian aid, started schedules flights between Istanbul and Yerevan, allowed around 70 thousand Armenian citizens to work in Turkey, and restored some Armenian artifacts in Anatolia depicting Armenian life.

However Armenia did not take any constructive steps about controversial issues between the two countries like; its ongoing invasion of Azarbaijan territory for 15 years, making Armenian allegations regarding 1915 incidents as a priority in its foreign policy, remarks of high level Armenian officials including Sargsian suggesting that the current border line between Turkey and Armenia was illegitimate and their claim to Eastern Turkey with the title "Western Armenia", use of Mount Agri located in Eastern Turkey as a state symbol.

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Güncelleme Tarihi: 31 Ağustos 2008, 15:40
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