Turkey FM Davutoglu Visiting Armenia


YEREVAN (Agence France Presse) — Turkey’s Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu was scheduled to arrive in Armenia on December 12, on his first visit since the failure four years ago of efforts to normalize ties.

Davutoglu’s visit will be the first since October 2009 when moves to open diplomatic ties and reopen the border came to nothing.

He is scheduled to attend a meeting of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation forum in Yerevan on December 12 but it is not known if he will hold separate bilateral talks with Armenian officials.

“In the past, we met with the Armenian foreign minister and can meet any time,” Davutoglu said. “We are ready to meet with everyone everywhere to discuss steps for peace in the south Caucasus.”

Ankara had closed the border with Armenia in 1993 in solidarity with regional ally Azerbaijan in its dispute with Yerevan over Nagorno Karabagh.

Davutoglu announced the trip after meeting Armenian Foreign Minister Eduard Nalbandian on the sidelines of a meeting of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe in Kiev on Thursday, Turkish press reports said.

Davutoglu also met his Azeri counterpart Elmar Mammadyarov and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov to discuss the Karabagh (Artsakh) issue which Ankara considers key for a thaw in relations with Yerevan.

From Armenia, the Turkish minister will visit Greece on December 13 and Turkish-occupied northern Cyprus the following day.

In Washington, Armenian National Committee of America Executive Director Aram Hamparian issued the following statement on Davutoglu’s upcoming visit: “Turkish Foreign Minister Davutoglu’s upcoming visit to Armenia for a December 12th regional conference shines a spotlight on Ankara’s continued use of its Protocols to escape liability for mass murder, vast theft and the wholesale dispossession of a nation of its ancestral homeland. The Armenian nation and all peoples should use this visit by a leading official of a perpetrator state to the land of its surviving victims to strengthen our call for a truthful, just, and comprehensive international resolution of the Armenian Genocide.  In coming to terms with its responsibilities, Turkey must not only end its denials and stop its obstruction of justice, but also cease its century-long policy of anti-Armenian aggression, strangulation, and coercion rooted in the legacy of this still unpunished crime.”

He added, “The United States and our partners in the international community, rather than abetting Ankara by arm-twisting Yerevan into a politically untenable and morally unacceptable policy of ‘normalization without justice,’ should be pressing Turkey to forfeit its genocidal gains, to fully return all it has stolen, and to fairly compensate the Armenian nation for its vast and ongoing losses. The Armenian Genocide — an act of premeditated mass murder and national dispossession — is not a bilateral ‘conflict’ to be reconciled, but rather an ongoing international crime that all nations, not Armenia alone, have a moral and legal responsibility to punish.”