710) No breakthrough in secret Turkish-Armenian talks

Secret talks between Turkey and Armenia, launched after Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan wrote a letter to Armenian President Robert Kocharian, have failed to make any headway coming out of their third round, said media reports yesterday.

A part of the third session of secret talks was held on the sidelines of the Turkey-European Union Troika meeting in Vienna, Austria last March. Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul closely followed the meetings with Armenian officials that were kept secret from the media, CNN-Turk reported.

Sources say that the Armenian response reached Ankara early this month to Turkey's suggestion for the establishment of two committees to discuss mutual relations wasn't welcomed, and the answer "to the Turkish suggestions that they received was watered down."

The Turkish side had proposed the establishment of two committees to simultaneously hold talks on political issues and the Armenian genocide allegations. In response, Yerevan rejected the Turkish suggestions, stating that holding discussions about the "genocide" would make the controversial issue debatable. It underlined that scholars can debate the issue in conferences. Nevertheless Armenia did request the revival of political talks between the two countries.

Following Yerevan's objection to the establishment of the two committees, including one comprised of historians from both countries to study the Armenian genocide claims, Ankara is now preparing for the fourth round of secret talks.

Foreign Ministry officials underlined that continued debates over the genocide claims have "poisoned" Turkey's relations with other countries. Ankara will continue to exert effort to find a middle ground and to solve its problems with Yerevan, they added.


Armenian MFA Does Not Deny or Confirm Reports on Armenia-Turkey Secret Talks
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) of Armenia does not deny or confirm reports on secret meetings between diplomats of Armenia and Turkey, acting Spokesperson of the Armenian MFA Vladimir Karapetyan told a PanARMENIAN.Net reporter. «Armenian and Turkish diplomats contact at various levels,» he said.

According to Turkish sources, after the letter sent by Turkish PM Erdogan to Armenian President Kocharian «three secret meetings» were held between diplomats of those countries. «The latest round of talks, was held under the auspices of the European Troika in Vienna in closed regime,» the New Anatolian agency reports.



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