Leading Scholar Says Genocide Very Much Part of Foreign Policy

YEREVAN (ArmRadio)–The Armenian Genocide issue remains on the agenda of Armenia’s foreign policy, and President Serzh Sarkisian’s latest statemen’s on Turkey should not be viewed as divergence from this issue, Director of the Oriental studies Institute of Armenia’s National Academy of Sciences, Ruben Safrastyan told a press conference Tuesday.

He evaluated Sarkisian’s intention to invite the Turkish President to Armenia for the Armenia-Turkey soccer match as a “daring step.”

“The suggestion made by the President is an attempt to overcome the crisis and there is a great probability that Turkey’s President will accept the invitation,” opined Safrastyan.

As for the creation of a commission of historians to investigate the Genocide, Safrastyan noted that Turkey’s Prime minister had already spoken about the establishment of the commission, stressing that the Turkish proposal to establish a body that would determine the veracity of the Genocide.

Safrastyan explained that President Sarkisian’s recommendation was to establish a commission to discuss the Genocide, but not question its historic validity.

The scholar claimed that the creation of the Sarkisian-proposed commission would benefit Turkish society, “since they will thus get an opportunity to familiarize themselves with the historic fact, which has not been accessible to them up until now.”

Safrastyan said he envisioned the commission to include Turkish scholars who recognize the Genocide and other specialists in Turkey who have urged that the events of 1915 should be termed Genocide.

However, Safrastyan said he did not believe the commission would be formed since Sarkisian’s pre-condition to Turkey to unconditionally establish diplomatic relations with Armenia and open its borders would not be acceptable to Turkey.

“Turkey will not agree to open the border without concessions on the Genocide issue,” said Safrastyan.

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