Turkey, Armenia could normalize relations in second half of 2009

Turkey, Armenia could normalize relations in second half of 2009

Turkey and Armenia could attain the required conditions to normalize relations in the second half of 2009 if the ongoing dialogue process between the two countries continues at its current pace, a report Monday quoted the neighboring country's president as saying.

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"I can say that there could be no problem for diplomatic relations to begin between Armenia and Turkey if the atmosphere gained in the recent contacts continues in the future," Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan told MediaMax news agency after talks between the countries at Davos and the Munich Security Conference.

The two countries' relations would be much different and of higher quality, Hurriyet daily quoted him as telling the Armenian news agency.

Turkish Foreign Minister Ali Babacan met his Armenian counterpart Eduard Nalbandian both on the sidelines of the annual meeting of last month's World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos and at this month's Munich conference.

Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan also met Sargsyan at Davos in a bid to contribute to the normalization efforts.

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Turkey and Armenia have no diplomatic relations and their border has been closed for more than a decade, as Armenia presses the international community with the backing of the diaspora to admit the so-called "genocide" claims, instead of accepting Turkey's call to investigate the allegations, and over Armenia's invasion of 20 percent territory of Azerbaijan.


A warmer period began in relations when Turkish President Abdullah Gul paid a landmark visit to Yerevan in September to watch a World Cup qualifying football match between the two countries on the invitation of Sargsyan. The two countries have been holding contacts at the ministerial level since.



Turkish Foreign Minister Ali Babacan said Monday any intervention by a third party into Turkey's ongoing talks with Armenia would prove counterproductive, when asked about a controversial U.S. resolution awaiting voting in the Senate recognizing Armenian claims as "genocide".

"The dialogue between our two countries aims at normalizing all bilateral relations and we make progress to that end in each contact. And I do not believe that the intervention of other countries would be constructive," Babacan was quoted by the Anatolian Agency as telling a joint press meeting with visiting Ethiopian Foreign Minister Seyoum Mesfin in Ankara.

Babacan said talks with Armenia included the events of 1915, asking for support to the dialogue between Turkey and Armenia.

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"As we conduct such important talks, everyone should avoid moves that would damage this process," he said.


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