18 September 2006

1019) Turkey Not To Open Border With Armenia

[Presenter] The local executive authorities of Turkish towns bordering on Armenia do not have the power to decide weather the border with Armenia should open or not. The border can open only if the Turkish government decides to do so. And Ankara is adamant to keep the border closed, Kars mayor Mehmet Ufuk Erden has said in response to Kars municipality head Naif Alibeyoglu's calls for the opening of the border. Susambar Agamaliyeva, a special ANS correspondent in Kars, has more. . .

[Agamaliyeva, by phone] A municipality head does not have the power to reopen Turkey's doors to Armenia. He cannot speak on behalf of the Turkish government, Kars mayor Mehmet Ufuk Erden has told ANS.

Erden said the eastern gate between Turkey and Armenia was opened in 1992. But the Turkish government decided to close it a year later.

Under the current circumstances, the Turkish state is keen to keep the gate closed, Erden said.

The Kars mayor also said that the International Caucasus Festival was organized by the Kars municipality, not by the Turkish government.

The festival opened on 15 September and closed today. Azerbaijan boycotted the festival two days ago.

A delegation from Armenia presented the Azerbaijani dances "Tarakama" and "Cutcu" and Qara zurna [musical instrument] as Armenian.

The International Caucasus Festival was funded by the non-governmental Soros Foundation and some other international organizations. The event was organized by the Anadolu Culture Society and the Kars municipality.

The main goal of the Armenian lobby was to have a resolution adopted on the reopening of the border at the end of a conference that was held in parallel. But the conference did not adopt such a resolution.

Turkish society and ordinary Turks are opposed to the Armenian delegation's visit and to the opening of the border with Armenia.

They condemn the idea of opening the border.

Susambar Agamaliyeva, reporting from Kars, Turkey.

ANS TV, Baku, in Azeri
17 Sep 06


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