Turkey Considering Sarkisian Invitation

President Serzh Sarkisian

ANKARA (Combined Sources)–Turkey is considering the invitation by Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian to his Turkish counterpart Abdullah Gul to watch an upcoming soccer match between the national teams of the two countries, said Burak Ozugergin a Turkish foreign ministry spokesman on Thursday.

The Armenian and Turkish national soccer teams will play a 2010 World Cup qualifier match on Sept. 6 in Yerevan.

While responding to questions about Sarkisian’s invitation, Ozugergin said that Ankara had read Sarkisian’s Wall Street Journal article in which the Armenian leader said that Armenia was ready to dialogue with Turkey.

“There is no real alternative to the establishment of normal relations between the countries and mutual relations should have a new start,” Sarkisian said in the Wednesday WSJ opinion piece.

“We also agree with this idea. There was a letter exchange after the elections in Armenia and the same points were underlined. If it is true, we welcome Sarkisian’s statemen’s,” said Ozugergin.

In Ankara, other diplomatic sources welcomed the article, saying that Turkey would be pleased with initiatives for eventual normalization of ties with its neighboring country.

"Such messages are helpful. Yet our proposal to establish a joint commission of historians is still on the table, and we have not yet received any response to our letter sent to Yerevan," the same diplomatic sources, who requested anonymity.

The sources were referring to Prime Minister Erdogan’s 2005 letter to then-Armenian President Robert Kocharian, inviting him to establish a joint commission of historians and experts from both Turkey and Armenia to study the events of 1915.

At the time, President Robert Kocharian said that he favored unconditional establishment of relations and that the veracity of the Genocide was not to be called into question.

Gul held what he called a “courtesy meeting” with Sarkisian last weekend, while both leaders were in Astana, Kazakhstan to mark the capital’s 10th anniversary.

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