Babacan Hails 2009 as Turning Point for Armenia Ties

DAVOS, Switzerland (Combined Sources)–In what has become an almost daily occurrence, Turkey’s Foreign Minister Ali Babacan exclaimed on Wednesday that 2009 may be a turning-point year for Armenian-Turkish relations.

"Actually, it would not surprise me if a solution was found this year. 2009 can be a milestone in Turkish-Armenian relations as long as both parties maintain their political will till the end," he said. “Both sides should retain their political will in this issue till the end. Currently, we have this political will. We see it in Armenia too, but the most important is to continue it till the end.”

His remarks came during an onsite interview with CNN-Turk in Davos, Switzerland where the world’s political, business and intellectual leader have gathered for the annual World Economic Forum.

Babacan told CNN-Turk that he would be using the Summit as an opportunity to meet with the presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan, as well as the three co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group for separate talks on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

Also on Wednesday, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan told a press briefing before departing for Davos that he might also meet with Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan in the near future.

"There are no obstacles that would hinder a meeting with Sarkisian, we may discuss issues that concern us both," said Erdogan, adding that Turkey had never favored steps that would cast a shadow on peace.
Turkey severed diplomatic ties with Armenia and closed its border with the landlocked country in 1993 as a sign of solidarity with Azerbaijan, a Turkic-speaking ally that had invaded the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic.

Ankara says the normalization of relations depends on a solution to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict favoring Azerbaijan and an end to Yerevan’s efforts to win international recognition of the Armenian genocide.

Last November, Armenian Foreign Minister Eduard Nalbandian said that Armenia was ready to launch diplomatic relations and open border with Turkey without any precondition, describing Turkish President Gul’s visit to Armenia in September as a good foundation for the normalization of relations between the two countries.

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