gerald

Member
Turkey and Armenia to forge diplomatic ties
From the Telegraph 1st Sept 2009


Turkey and Armenia to forge diplomatic ties

Turkey and Armenia are to end almost a century of hostility by opening diplomatic relations, a move that will help smooth the way for Ankara's membership of the European Union.


By Bruno Waterfield in Brussels
Published: 8:24PM BST 01 Sep 2009

The neighbouring countries announced the historic thaw with a joint statement setting a six-week deadline to put diplomatic protocols into place for the first time in the history of both countries.

It came despite the continued bitterness between the two countries. Turkey rejects Armenian claims that the Ottoman Empire's massacre of up to 1.5 million people in 1915, a defining moment in Armenia's national identity, amounts to genocide.

The government in Ankara has always contested the numbers of Armenians killed in a conflict that Turkey defines as a civil war.

In a major concession by Turkey, the agreement states that both countries will "implement dialogue on the historical dimension with the aim to restore mutual confidence".

"It is important that historical justice be restored. It's important that our nations are able to establish normal relations," said President Serzh Sarkisian of Armenia.

Turkish prosecutions of people, including Orthan Pamuk, the Nobel Prize winning author, for supporting the Armenian genocide claims have been a major stumbling block to Turkey's EU entry ambitions.

European officials and diplomats yesterday hailed the deal, brokered by Switzerland, as an important breakthrough, both for Turkey's troubled EU membership bid and as a sign of hope for stability in the turbulent South Caucasus region.

"I commend the courage and vision of both sides to move forward with this historic process," said Javier Solana, the EU's foreign policy chief.

"This is a crucial step towards normalisation of bilateral relations, which would greatly contribute to peace, security and stability throughout an important region of Europe."

Olli Rehn, the European enlargement commissioner, who oversees Turkey's EU membership application, welcomed the deal as a step forward,.

"The European Commission attaches high importance to a rapid and steady implementation of the protocols on the establishment of diplomatic relations," he said.

"This agreement should contribute to peace and stability in the South Caucasus."

Turkey closed its Armenia frontier in 1993 in solidarity with Muslim ally Azerbaijan, which was fighting Armenian-backed separatists in the breakaway mountain region of Nagorno-Karabakh.

EU officials and diplomats have emphasised the importance of Turkish and Armenian diplomatic relations for thawing frozen conflicts across the Caucasus region an area which also borders Iran, Russia and Georgia.

"Turkey is showing that it is reliable international partner and a force for stability in one of the most dangerous conflict regions on Europe," said an EU diplomat.

Last week, Turkey also pleased the EU by signalling the opening of new talks with its Kurdish minority, a conflict that has killed over 40,000 people.

The Turkish government has been discussing easing restrictions, with plans for an end to draconian laws that prohibit free expression of political beliefs and suppress Kurdish culture.
 

gerald

Member
Turkey and Armenia to forge diplomatic ties
Lets hope that diplomacy leads to some resolution, or at least an understanding that it is better to move forward than be held back by the past.
 
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Turkey and Armenia to forge diplomatic ties
İ agree Gerald..but İ can still see this wont be easy as factions on both sides are against this move.
The CHP among others are against this as long as Armenia is still holding on to Karabakh.
İt would be great if all countries could get on with their neighbours.
 

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