Protocols with Armenia reflect Turkey's peaceful vision: FM 2009-10-11 21:40:06   Print

    ANKARA, Oct. 11 (Xinhua) -- Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said on Sunday the protocols signed between Turkey and Armenia in Zurich on Saturday are a reflection of Turkey's peaceful vision.

    In an interview with Turkey's state-run TRT TV channel, Davutoglu said the signing of the protocols was a "crucial step."

    Bilateral relations between Turkey and Armenia have entered a new period, during which the peoples of Turkey and Armenia will be able to understand each other more accurately, Davutoglu said.

    On Saturday, Davutoglu and his Armenian counterpart Edouard Nalbandian signed two protocols aimed at normalizing bilateral relations in Zurich University, after more than three hours of delay due to a last-minute disagreement over the wording of statements planned to be made after the signing ceremony.

    The two sides finally overcame the obstacle under the mediation of U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and at the end no statements were made by either side.

    Davutoglu said the crisis prior to the signature ceremony was a "natural component of the process ... a procedural issue."

    The crisis was overcome after both sides agreed not to make remarks after the signature ceremony, said Davutoglu, adding that "the crisis had to do with expressions that were to be made during the ceremony."

    The two protocols have yet to be ratified by the two countries' parliaments before taking effect. Once the protocols go into effect, the relations between Turkey and Armenia will be normalized.

    Turkey recognized Armenia as a state and kept its borders open until the occupation in 1993, Davutoglu said.

    He said it is out of the question for Turkey to leave Azerbaijan alone whatever the conditions may be, adding a solution to the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict is crucial and that Turkey have taken steps for the solution.

    Turkey and Armenia have no diplomatic or economic ties since Armenia declared its independence in 1991. Turkey closed its border with Armenia in 1993 to support Azerbaijan during the latter's conflict with Armenia over the Upper Karabakh region, an enclave of Azerbaijan occupied by Armenian troops.

    The Turkey-Armenia rifts could be traced back to the World War I period. Armenia claims that more than 1.5 million Armenians were killed in a systematic genocide in the hands of the Ottomans during the time, but Turkey insists that the Armenians were victims of widespread chaos and governmental breakdown as the 600-year-old Ottoman Empire collapsed.

Editor: Zhang Xiang
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