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Ömer Engin LÜTEM, Retired Ambassador
03 July 2008 - ERAREN
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="justify">The echos of the decision of Serj Sarkisyan, the President of Armenia, to invite the Turkish President Abdullah Gül to the football match that will be played between Turkey and Armenia on September 6, 2008, are still continuing. 

É Hovannisyan, a presidential candidate in the previous elections, implies that they will protest the visit of Abdullah Gül if he goes to Yerevan. Although the Dashnak Party is a part of the coalition in the Armenian Parliament, they have different policies that sometimes contradict governmental policies.

In terms of the relations between the two countries, the most attention -grabbing part of  Sarkisyan’s words is that he is not actually against the set-up of a commission that is to investigate the 1915 incidents. Due to the reason that such a commission may threaten the “genocide” that is regarded as a historical fact, not only the Dashnaks, but also the supporters of the chief opposition leader, the former president Ter Petrosyan, have reacted Serj Sarkisyan’s views.

The Armenian presidency and the government made some statements concerning these reactions. Samyel Fermanyan, the press spokesman of the President, stated that accepting the investigation of an event would not discredit the truth. The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Edvard Nalbatyan, said that the establishment of that commission would not prevent Armenia’s worldwide activities for the recognition of the “Armenian Genocide”. As to the Dashnaks, their spokesman stated that they asked an explanation from President Sarkisyan who said that this commission would by no means determine whether there was a genocide, but, on the contrary, it would only examine some aspects of the genocide.

As can be seen, Armenian authorities consider that the commisson should first of all agree that a genocide took place, and then it can investigate some details of the “genocide”. Moreover, they state that they will continue to promote the genocide activities for its recognition. There is no doubt that, with this approach, the commission will be disfuntional.

Armenian press, inspired by the statements made by President Sarkisyan in Moskov, considers that Armenia accepts this commission as a counterpart for the openning of the Turkish border and the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries.

However, the statements of some American Foreign Affairs officials, such as Daniel Fried and Mattew Bryza, envisage another reconciliation formula which propose the Armenian recognition of Turkish territorial integrity, the establishment of diplomatic relations between Turkey and Armenia, and the openning of the Turkish border which would be followed by the establishment of the commission.

Currently, the Armenian press is not mentioning the Armenian recognition of Turkish territorial integrity that would mean the end of “Great Armenia” dreams. It is possible that this issue, if becomes upfront, will get as much reaction as the historians’ commission does.

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