Armenia Cannot Stay Indifferent towards Turkey’s Policy of Denial

YEREVAN (Combined Sources)–Armenia cannot remain indifferent to Turkey’s active policy of Genocide denial, Armenia’s Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian told a press conference on Wednesday. "The recognition of the Armenian Genocide is an internal US issue and no one must interfere, but we can’t be indifferent towards the fact that Turkey wants to apply Article 301 of its penal code in other countries," Oskanian said, referring to Turkey’s frequent use of an article that prosecutes human rights defenders, journalists and other members of civil society for dissenting opinions. The foreign minister expressed surprise that US Congress tolerates threats and persistent meddling by Turkish officials in order to advance its policy of denial. "This is the thing that concerns us most and we cannot be indifferent," the minister said. Blasting Turkey’s recent "gesture of good will," with its ceremony to open the newly renovated church on the Island of Akhtamar in Van, he said: "If Turkey wished to normalize relations it would open borders. Just imagine, in order to attend the inauguration of the St. Cross Church the Armenian delegation will have to fly to Istanbul or Tbilisi and then head for Van. It will take 16 hours while a trip from Yerevan to Van would take 4 hours only." Talking about upcoming parliamentary elections, Oskanian reiterated that Armenia will face "very bad consequences" in the international arena if it fails to ensure the elections are democratic. "We need fair elections like bread and water to be able to correctly and legally manage our next decade," he said.


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