Turkey Says Protocols to be Signed on Oct. 13

ANKARA (Combined Sources)—The Milliyet Daily newspaper reported Wednesday, quoting sources at the Turkish Foreign Ministry, that the protocols on establishment and development of relations between Turkey and Armenia are slated to be signed on October 13.

The newspaper said the protocols will be signed by foreign ministers of Turkey and Armenia, Ahmet Davutoglu and Eduard Nalbandian, one day before the Armenian and Turkish soccer teams are scheduled to compete in European qualifier match in Turkey.

Milliyet reported that the fate of protocols will then depend on Turkish and Armenian parliament’s decisions.

During this time, Milliyet said, Turkey will closely monitor the Armenia’s actions in the Karabakh conflict resolution process, adding that the parliament will take into account this factor for ratification of these agreements.

“Everything will depend on Armenia,” the Foreign Ministry official told the newspaper.

Davutoglu met Tuesday with the country’s opposition forces to discuss the protocol. Following the opposition leaders made it quite clear that any agreement with Armenia should come after a resolution to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

“The government tells us ‘you are right, but don’t worry, the Armenians will begin freeing the seven occupied regions as the process goes on,’” said opposition Republican People’s Party leader Deniz Baykal after his meeting with Davutoglu.

“They [the government] say they will sign the protocols, but will ratify them in the parliament after the regions are freed. But we have a question: April 24. Maybe the signed protocols will not be approved, but before April 24 they will tell us that the U.S. Congress is about to recognize the ‘genocide,’ and the only way to prevent it is to ratify the protocols and reopen the borders,” added Baykal who signaled that his government will pressure parties to approve the protocols by using the Armenian Genocide issue as leverage.

Another Republican People’s Party member Birgen Keles confirmed that her party will not support opening of the Turkey-Armenia border.

“I do not favor Turkey-Armenia protocols initialed earlier. We will not favor Armenia-Turkey protocols until Armenia frees occupied lands of Azerbaijan,” she told reporters Wednesday, adding “I think no one from our party will vote to ratify the Turkey-Armenia protocols.”

“If Armenia wants borders to be opened, it must withdrew its troops from Azerbaijan’s occupied territories,” said the leader of the Turkish Grand Unity Party Yalcin Topcu, another Turkish opposition leaders.

“If Armenia takes the opening of the borders seriously, it should withdraw its troops from the Karabakh,” Topchu said.

Devlet Bahceli, leader of other opposition party National movement, refused to meet with Davutoglu.


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