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    No steps should harm Turkey-Armenia relations: Turkish official

    HotNewsTurkey with wires
    29.10.2008 - 12:33 | Son Güncelleme:

    Steps that would harm Turkey should be avoided if the aim is the development of Turkish-Armenian relations, the country's chief foreign policy advisor to the prime minister said Tuesday following his contacts in Washington. (UPDATED)

    "We are in an era in which mutual confidence based relations between Turkey and Armenia have started. A wrong step not only harms cooperation between Turkey and the United States, but also risks such expansions from Turkey," Ahmet Davutoglu, chief foreign policy advisor to the Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan, told reporters in Washington.

    Davutoglu's remarks came after he met U.S. officials, including the advisors of both U.S. presidential candidates Democrat Barack Obama, who has repeatedly made remarks in favor of the so-called Armenian "genocide" claims, and Republican John McCain.

    There is no diplomatic relations between Armenia and Turkey, as Armenia presses the international community to admit the so-called "genocide" claims instead of accepting Turkey's call to investigate the allegations, and Armenia's aggression against Azerbaijan.

    A warmer period began between Turkey and Armenia after Turkish President Abdullah Gul paid a landmark visit to Armenia early September.

    "Such remarks are made in the presidential election campaign. But when you take over the administration, you need to be interested in all problems in the world.

    The U.S. is expected to refrain from jeopardizing cooperation with a strong strategic ally like Turkey," added Davutoglu, who also met top White House officials in Washington.

    Armenia, with the backing of the Diaspora, claims up to 1.5 million of their kin were slaughtered in orchestrated killings in 1915. Turkey rejects the claims, saying that 300,000 Armenians along with at least as many Turks died in civil strife that emerged when Armenians took up arms, backed by Russia, for independence in eastern Anatolia.

    In 2005, Erdogan took a first step towards resolving the issue by proposing a joint commission of historians launch an investigation and publish their conclusions, but the proposal was rejected by Yerevan.

    Davutoglu also said he did not meet the leader of the Kurdish regional administration, Massoud Barzani, who is also in Washington.

    Davutoglu earlier on Tuesday attended a meeting on "Turkey, the region and U.S.-Turkey relations: Assessing the challenges and prospects" at the Brookings Institution in Washington.

    He told at the meeting that the new era with the United States would be a success story whoever was elected the new president of that country.

    "The new president of the United States will be Turkey's best friend," Davutoglu said.

    He also said Turkey was ready to discuss negative problems with Armenia, adding two countries should seize recent opportunities in their relations.

    Davutoglu said he expected that the Armenian Diaspora should support the process between Turkey and Armenia, and said this new process had not caused concerns in Azerbaijan and relations among Turkey, Armenia and Azerbaijan would go on synchronously.

    He said there was need for courage and creativity to solve the Nagorno-Karabakh dispute, and no one could wait for 20-30 years more to resolve the issue.

    Davutoglu said all frozen clashes were occurring in the geography where Turkey was situated, and said the real problem was how a new world order could be established.

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