Armenia Must Help Turkey be ‘More Objective’ About its History

NEW YORK–During a meeting Wednesday with the Armenian-American community, Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian said his recent overtures to normalize relations with Turkey aimed at helping that society come to grips with its own history.

The reception was organized by the Armenian Embassy in the US, Armenia’s Permanent Representation of Armenia at the UN and by leading Armenian organizations, the presidential press-service reported.

“During our meeting with the President of Turkey, Abdullah Gul, we decided not to leave the problems of our countries to next generations,” said Sarkisian who was in New York to address the United Nations General Assembly.

In speaking to the more than 300 Armenian-Americans gathered at the reception, Sarkisian described Turkey’s current leadership as “courageous” and said many Turks are now ready to face up to their troubled Ottoman past.

“We must now think about how we can help Turkish society be more objective towards its own history,” said Sarkisian. “A society of which hundreds of thousands of representatives took to the streets [of Istanbul] with banners saying ‘We are all Hrant Dink’ and ‘We are all Armenia’s.’

“One thing is clear to me: we must talk about all topics. Only those people who have nothing to say and suffer from complexes avoid contacts, conversations. We have no complexes and our message is clear.”

Sarkisian also assured Armenian-American activists that Gul is genuinely committed to Turkish-Armenian reconciliation. “I am convinced that now is really the time to solve the problems in Turkish-Armenian relations, and I saw a readiness to do so in my Turkish counterpart,” he said. “I felt that he has sufficient courage to make difficult decisions.”

The president mentioned that after the negotiations in Yerevan, Turkish foreign minister Ali Babacan, declared that Turkey is ready to look back to the past, and face the resolutions by the supposed commission.

He also highlighted the readiness of the Turkish president to contribute to settling the Karabakh conflict.

“We have always welcomed any assistance that had a favorable impact on the OSCE Minsk Group process and the initiative by the Turkish president may prove as such. Our key task in the resolution of the conflict is to persuade the Azeri side through negotiations that recognition of Nagorno Karabakh people’s right to self-determination is inevitable,” added Sarkisian.

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