Turkish Culture Minister Says Ready to ‘Cooperate’ to ‘Restore’ Ani

ANKARA (ArmRadio)–Turkey’s Culture Minister, Ertugrul Gunay has said his ministry is ready for “cultural cooperation” with its Armenian counterpart to restore the ruins of the medieval Armenian capital city of Ani.

But cooperation in the cultural realm would require the normalization of political relations, he stipulated, adding that the ball was in Armenia’s court, as President Abdullah Gul’s visit to Yerevan was a significant first step.

“President Abdullah Gul’s visit to Yerevan was a significant development in terms of Turkey-Armenia bilateral relations,” said G?nay. “At this point, steps Armenia will take are highly significant. These steps will shape the cultural and political cooperation between the two countries.”

“Hostility benefits no one. Our door is open to everyone. We definitely wish to have cooperation with Armenia’s Culture Ministry in restoration of the ruins of Ani and work on the monastery on Akhtamar Island,” said Gunay.

Gunay’s remarks came shortly after Armenian Culture Minister Hasmik Poghosyan called for more cultural cooperation between the two countries in an exclusive interview with the Turkish Daily News last week. “Let’s start working collaboratively in the cultural realm to help new generations overcome the trauma,” she said.

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