ARF Faction Questions Deputy Culture Minister’s Remarks

YEREVAN. (YERKIR)–The ARF faction in Armenia’s National Assembly (NA) demanded an official explanation from the Minister of Culture on Tuesday for her deputy’s statement made during a recent conference of culture ministers in Turkey.

On Sept. 18–the Turkish Anadolu News Agency quoted Armenia’s Deputy Minister of Culture and Youth Affairs Karen Aristakesian as saying that nations should forget "bad incidents that occurred in the past."

Read during Tuesday’s session of the NA–the statement partially stated: "The ARF faction expresses concern–and raises objection about the Deputy Culture Minister’s statemen’s in Antalya. . . This is not the first time an Armenian official harms Armenia’s foreign policy by misrepresenting–at an international forum–this time in Turkey–the issue of the Armenian Genocide." The statement also urged the Cabinet "to undertake specific fact-finding and adequate steps."

Aristakesian accused the Turkish agency of distorting his words–saying that he spoke of establishing friendly relations generally with Armenia’s neighbors–without emphasizing Turkey. He noted that he would be making a public statement–and would have the text of his speech published.

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