Foreign Ministry Denies Charges of Arms Sales to Kurds

YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–The Foreign Ministry of Armenia has denied a statement made by representatives of the Turkish armed forces saying that Armenia is allegedly supplying arms to rebels of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party.

Foreign Ministry Spokesman Arsen Gasparian called the statement by Secretary General of the Turkish armed forces Erol Ozkasnak "quite irresponsible."

At his news conference Friday Ozkasnak made a statement that Syria–Greece–Serbia–Cyprus and Armenia played a "certain part in supplying arms to PKK and training its fighters. In particular–Ozkasnak said Armenia had supplied anti-aircraft missiles to Kurds via Turkish territory with which two Turkish military helicopters were recently shot down in Iraq’s airspace.

"Armenia has repeatedly voiced its resentment over the accusations of rendering military aid to PKK–from time to time heard from the Turkish side. We hold that such rather irresponsible statemen’s are triggered by some forces in Turkey which want the situation in the region to become more tense and which do not support the settlement of relations between Armenia and Turkey," Gasparian said.

"Armenia’s Foreign Ministry strongly denies such groundless statemen’s. Armenia has no relation to any military support to Kurds and training PKK fighters.

"Armenia’s Foreign Ministry holds that such statemen’s escalate tensions in the region and by no means promote the establishment of stability," the spokesman’said.

Iran also denied Turkish charges it has given military assistance to Kurds fighting for self-rule in southeastern Turkey.

The official Iranian news agency IRNA said a statement on Saturday by Foreign Ministry spokesman Mahmoud Mohammadi refuted commen’s by Turkish General Erol Ozkasnak on Friday.

"The allegations of this Turkish military official is in contradiction with the announced policies of Turkey on the good bilateral relations and their expansion," Mohammadi said.

He said Iran "has concentrated much efforts in the direction of promoting security cooperation and the result of such cooperation has been thoroughly constructive."

He said the claims against Iran were "prime indications of attempts by circles and sources opposed to Iran-Turkey friendship in order to create an atmosphere of suspicion between the two nations."

"Since 1992 the PKK has wanted to get hold of SA-7 missiles…We have informed the foreign ministry five times that primarily the governmen’s of Iran–Syria–Armenia–Greece and Cyprus have been providing the organization with these weapons," Ozkasnak said.

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