Turkey Says Support Armenia Dialogue by Not Meddling

ANKARA (Hurriyet)–A Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Tuesday called on third party countries to support the normalization of ties between Turkey and Armenia by not intervening in the reconciliation process.

"We have been carrying out a series of talks with Armenia in order to normalize our relations. We think that it is not proper to send messages to each other through the press during this process," Burak Ozugergin was quoted by the Anatolian Agency as telling at a weekly press briefing.

Ozugergin called on third countries to support the bilateral process between Turkey and Armenia, asserting that any intervention could have a negative impact on talks.

His remarks come amid heightened concern in Turkey that the new US administration will recognize the Armenian Genocide. Turkey has been heavily lobbying the United States government in recent months, arguing that any recognition would torpedo diplomatic attempts at reconciling relations between Yerevan and Ankara.

"We have always objected to attempts aimed at distorting a certain period in our history. We cannot accept use of such distortions as a tool of bargaining. We will continue telling the truth," Ozugergin said.

"We wish to maintain our cooperation and consultation mechanisms with the new administration of the United States in all areas concerning our joint foreign policy,” he added. “We got the impression that the U.S. administration also intends to cooperate with us.”
US President Barack Obama called Turkish President Abdullah Gul and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on February 16 and had, what the White House described as two "warm and productive" conversations about relations between the two countries.

Although the White House statement made no mention of talks regarding Armenia, the Turkish Hurriety Daily reported that the U.S. president welcomed Turkey’s push to establish dialogue between Turkey and Armenia and signaled he would refrain from taking any step that would harm these efforts.

Turkish Foreign Minister Ali Babacan earlier this month warned against any ‘intervention’ by a third party into Turkey’s ongoing talks with Armenia would prove counterproductive.

“As we conduct such important talks all should avoid moves that would damage this process," Babacan said, referring to President Obama’s election pledge to recognize the Armenian Genocide.

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