Gul Congratulates Armenia On Independence Day

YEREVAN (RFE/RL)–In a rare letter to his Armenian counterpart, Turkey’s President Abdullah Gul joined world leaders on Tuesday in congratulating Armenia on the 19th anniversary of its declaration of independence from the Soviet Union.

President Serzh Sarkisian’s press office did not publicize the text of the letter or report any of its details. There was no word on it on Gul’s website.

A source in the Armenian presidential administration told RFE/RL’s Armenian service that the “extensive” message expressed hope that the Turkish-Armenian normalization protocols signed a year ago will “serve as the basis” for future relations between the two neighboring states. The protocols commit them to establish diplomatic relations and open their border, which Turkey had closed in 1993 in solidarity with Azerbaijan.

The source also quoted Gul as saying that the resolution of regional conflicts would allow the two historical foes to establish “good-neighborly” ties. That was yet another indication that the Turkish government continues to link parliamentary ratification of the protocols with a settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict acceptable to Azerbaijan.

A Turkish Foreign Ministry official told RFE/RL’s Armenian service on Friday that, “We hope that there could be gestures and some movements on the Armenian side so that our parliament can go ahead and approve this important document,” he said.

Yerevan has repeatedly rejected such “preconditions.” Armenian leaders argue that neither protocol makes any reference to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

The signing of the protocols in Zurich in October 2009 was the culmination of a dramatic Turkish-Armenian rapprochement that began with Gul’s historic September 2008 visit to Yerevan. The Turkish president was invited by Sarkisian to attend a first-ever game between the two countries’ national soccer teams.

The two leaders watched the return leg of the match in the Turkish city of Bursa a year later. “We are not writing history, we are making history,” Gul declared during their talks held there.

The normalization process fizzled out in the following months as Ankara reverted to its Karabakh linkage and protested against the Armenian Constitutional Court’s interpretation of the Western-backed agreements. Sarkisian responded by accusing the Turks of reneging on the deal and freezing its ratification process in the Armenian parliament.

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11 Comments

    • asima said:

      I absolutely agree with you! Unlike many other former Soviet republics such as Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Georgia, and Azerbaijan, Armenia is still under the control of Russian Empire.

    • HARUT said:

      Z when u say independent i dont know what u mean by it , but when a country has more friends and more
      countries to work with and chooses who to do business with that country is independent, hayeren asum en te vorevise erkir vor na kaxum chuni voch mekis ayt erkire erkir chi so erp vor asum en ankax enk nayas vortex enk ankax, i have one question for you do u actually think that you your self are independent
      think before you answer my question .

      • Z said:

        Well Armenia, just can’t stand on it’s own feet, unlike many other countries. If Russia isn’t behind it won’t last a week. That’s why I think they gotta think about an all or nothing operation.

        • HArut said:

          Z you making it sound so easy its like you can stand on your own feet by yourself
          you need a good back and a healthy spine to support you so you can stand on your feet .

          • Z said:

            When there’s a will there’s a way. I’m about to conclude that Armenia has failed, as a country, as a nation..

  1. Hove said:

    Well it depends how you explain independance and/or how some nations doing better than others instead.

  2. Dzo said:

    Dghak, hantardetsek

    every small nation is semi-independent in some way or the other….don’t compare armenia’s independence with France’s, Spain’s, or any other big EU country (who themselves are economicly dependent)..look at Greece, Portugal. Yes, Russia does have a big influence, thats because Russia is a superpower, so its completely natural for Armenia to listen to their advice (not necessarily obey it), but we do obey because Russia does rule the Caucasus. Learn from the mistake of Georgia, who was dependent on the US (and probably still is…reluctantly though). If you all have a dream that Armenia is going to become a superpower, then think again. this is our destiny…but its not an upsetting one. we should be content that Armenia will have Big Brother Russia. we can be an influence in the Caucasus, but not the beyond that. Armenia is independent and free. no worries, we can continue the drinking and party hard.

  3. ArdeVast Atheian said:

    This is a kind gesture from the Turkish leader. We should always return those loving gestures with equally embracing ones of our own to remind the world that it is they, not we, who are scuttling our Western brokered agreement to open their borders with us, with the injection of preconditions that were never part of our agreements.

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