Back Door Talks Between Turkey, Armenia Continue

ANKARA–Behind the scenes diplomacy between Ankara and Yerevan, which set the stage for President Abdullah Gul’s visit to Armenia, continued this week in Switzerland with its third round between the two countries’ top diplomats, the Turkish Daily News reported on Wednesday.

Diplomats will try to finalize a draft for a mutual declaration of good will in the wake of a tripartite summit between Turkey, Armenia and Azerbaijan to take place in New York at the end of September, the report said.

Undersecretary of the Turkish foreign ministry, Ertugrul Apakan, and his deputy, Unal Cevikoz, headed for Switzerland Sunday to meet their counterparts in Bern, which already hosted two rounds of talks in May and July, it added.

Diplomats will try to reach a compromise on the language of the declaration, which would best reflect both parties’ will.

The declaration is to be announced at the meeting of Foreign Minister Ali Babacan and his Armenian counterpart, Edward Nalbandian, which is expected to the take place during the U.N General Assembly in New York being held Sept.23 to Oct.1.

According to the Turkish Daily News, diplomatic sources have told the newspaper that Armenia “now moves closer to giving a green light for a joint committee of historians to study the events of 1915, a long-standing Turkish proposal categorically rejected by the former Armenian President Robert Kocharian.”

“Official announcement for the establishment of a committee would ease Turkey’s position, culminating in alleged genocide resolutions in many countries,” a senior Turkish official told the TDN, referring to initiatives in countries including the U.S., Canada, France and Argentina.

Last week, the Armenian Revolutionary Federation reiterated its long-standing position that the Armenian Genocide issue was not up for discussion nor should its veracity be challenged by any commission.

The government of Armenia has not responded to these diplomatic claims reported by the Turkish Daily News.

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