970) Ankara Conducts Unofficial Diplomacy with Yerevan

. .
Talks between Ankara and Yerevan, which began last April when Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan sent a ‘historic letter’ to Armenian President Robert Kocharian, continue.

The Armenian side sent an unofficial document to Ankara last month reiterating its proposals. While Ankara is examining the document, diplomatic sources speaking to Zaman said that the Yerevan administration restated its position in its unofficial response.

The Armenian administration does not agree with Turkey regarding the establishment of an independent committee of historians to investigate the so-called genocide allegations. “We should first establish diplomatic relations,” they said.

Armenian and Turkish diplomats met in Vienna three times last year following the correspondence between Prime Minister Erdogan and Armenian President Robert Kocharian.

According to Ankara, no progress has yet been made in the talks. In order for the start of diplomatic relations, “a document should be signed by both parties concluding that some problems between the two countries, including the border dispute, have been resolved”.

However, the parties failed to reach such an agreement in any of the meetings in Vienna. In the letter that Erdogan sent to Kocharian before April 24 last year, he said “A group of historians and experts should investigate the incidents that happened in 1915.” Kocharian replied by saying, “We should first establish diplomatic relations. Then, an inter-governmental commission can discuss the events.”

Ankara did not send a response to this letter at that time.

By Suleyman Kurt, Ankara
August 31, 2006


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