December 23, 2006 - 14:25 AMT
Yerevan Expects EU Will Be Actively Involved in Establish Relations Between Turkey and Armenia
The Wall Street Journal has published Serge Sargsyan's, the Armenian Defense Minister's article 'Despite the Genocide', where he expressed hope that the EU during entry talks with Turkey will demand from Ankara to normalize its relations with Yerevan. The Defense Minister noticed that over the past few months, attention in Europe has focused once again on the Genocide of the Armenian people. The debate in the European Parliament over whether Turkey's recognition of the Genocide should be a precondition for membership in the European Union, and the French National Assembly's bill criminalizing Genocide denial, have put the spotlight on this tragic period of Armenia's history.

"I want to look to the future and I hope that Turkey's negotiations for EU membership will provide the long-awaited opportunity for our two countries to establish civilized relations for the benefit of our peoples and the region. Armenia is part of the new European Neighborhood Policy and is seeking closer ties with the EU. As the country with the oldest Christian community in the world, we are a neighbor to Europe, but also to Georgia, Azerbaijan, Iran and Turkey," Sargsyan said. On his opinion, the Turkish-Armenian relations and the Armenian Genocide are, of course, important factors that need to be considered during Turkey's negotiations for EU membership. "It is important to remember the past to ensure that such crimes against humanity are not repeated," the Defense Minister writes.

"We expect that the EU will be actively involved in establishing relations between Armenia and Turkey," Sargsyan says. In his words, Armenia has a very straightforward and practical position in terms of future relations with Turkey. "We would welcome starting normal diplomatic and other relations -- without preconditions. That includes not tying the establishment of diplomatic relations to recognition of the genocide. More importantly, we want to profit from such diplomatic relations as a means to overcome the issues that burden our relations. We cannot expect solutions to come before we start talking to each other. Solutions will only arise when we work hard for them, starting by establishing an open dialogue," Sargsyan underlined adding that Armenia wants Turkey to recognize that the Armenian Genocide took place in past and must be condemned.

Serge Sargsyan reminded, that up till now Turkey refuses to establish diplomatic relations with Yerevan, maintains closed borders with Armenia despite growing international pressure and condemnation, throws every effort into isolating landlocked Armenia from international and regional transportation projects and does not play a constructive role in the Nagorno Karabakh conflict. "While these policies contradict contemporary principles of international relations and world order, Armenia does not regard Turkey's potential membership in the EU as a threat to national security. Quite the contrary. We hope it will mean that Turkey will change, and be in a better position to face both its history and future. Neither Turks nor Armenians will leave the region. The logical solution is to have normal relations with each other. That's what neighbors seek to do in today's world," underscored the Armenian Defense Minister. Alongside he stressed that Armenia will not seek to build relations with Turkey at any price. "I am repeating that Armenia is ready to normalize relations without preconditions," Sargsyan said.

The Defense Minister closes his article with a call on Turkey. "We cannot be permanent enemies -- and even if we could, there is no need or sense in being such enemies. So for the sake of our future, let us move forward," Armenian Defense Minister Serge Sargsyan says, reports the Armenian National Committee of Canada.