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Cyprus PIO: Turkish Press and Other Media, 09-04-24

Cyprus Press and Information Office: Turkish Cypriot Press Review Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Republic of Cyprus Press and Information Office Server at <http://www.pio.gov.cy/>

TURKISH PRESS AND OTHER MEDIA No. 75/09 24.04.09

[A] NEWS ITEMS

  • [01] Turkish daily reports that signs have started coming in the direction of the EU postponing for one year the evaluation regarding Turkey not opening its ports to the Greek Cypriot vessels
  • [02] Eroglu will focus on the economy of the occupation regime when he forms the government
  • [03] An UBP deputy asked the recognition of the occupation regime even for some hours
  • [04] KTOS expects with concern UBPs steps on the books of history
  • [05] Kutlay Erk will accept the leadership of CTP if it is asked from him
  • [06] Chief negotiator for EU talks Egemen Bagis returned to Turkey accompanied by the Foreign Minister of Sweden, Carl Bildt
  • [07] Turkey and Armenia have agreed on a road map for the improvement of their relations
  • [08] Last warning from US think-tank to Obama over April 24 message
  • [09] Turkish Prime Ministers top advisor, Ahmet Davutoglu likely to be appointed as foreign minister
  • [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

  • [10] Columnist in MILLIYET says nothing will change in the occupied areas with the new government, because everything is controlled by Ankara
  • [11] From the Turkish Press of 23 April 2009
  • [12] Turkey-Armenia dialogue process and the existing disputes

  • [A] NEWS ITEMS

    [01] Turkish daily reports that signs have started coming in the direction of the EU postponing for one year the evaluation regarding Turkey not opening its ports to the Greek Cypriot vessels

    Under the title Sign for postponing the bargaining regarding the ports, Turkish daily Hurriyet newspaper (24.04.09) reports that signs have started coming in the direction of the possibility of the EU postponing for one year the evaluation regarding Turkey not opening its ports to the Greek Cypriot vessels. The paper argues that during the EU Summit in the end of the year the Greek and Greek Cypriot leaders will say nothing to the proposal which will be saying that the Cyprus negotiations continue, let this evaluation be postponed for one year. In this situation, the risk for a possible crisis between Turkey and the EU in the end of the year has been reduced, notes the paper, which refers to the visit of Prime Minister Karamanlis to Cyprus and the statements made by both the Greek Prime Minister and President Christofias on Turkeys EU accession process.

    The paper argues that the statement that if we veto the accession process (of Turkey) we will be cornered before the 25-26 member-states means that Greece and Cyprus will not oppose the above-mentioned proposal which the then Swedish term presidency of the EU is preparing to submit with the support of the United Kingdom. Sweden will submit this proposal during the summit in December, reports the paper.

    Meanwhile, the papers correspondent in Brussels, Zeynel Lule notes the following under the title The following are the realities of the decision for postponement:

    According to information acquired from EU circles, the following realities will play an important role in the decision for one year delay:

    - In case the ports are not opened, in its progress report to be published in the end of 2009, the EU Commission might recommend to the EU governments to fully suspend the negotiations. However, unanimity is necessary for this. It is difficult for the 27 countries to take such decision.

    - In this case, the EU will neither be able to have a result on the issue of the ports nor take a decision which could be a sanction on Turkey.

    - At the same time, a possible negative decision will also be reflected negatively to the negotiations held between the leaders in Cyprus.

    - With the postponement decision more time will be given for both the Cyprus negotiations and Turkey on the issue of the ports.

    (I/Ts.)

    [02] Eroglu will focus on the economy of the occupation regime when he forms the government

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (24.04.09) reports that the Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat met yesterday with the newly elected deputies of the National Unity Party (UBP).

    Mr Eroglu said that he will be assigned the task to form the new government after the oath of the deputies at the so-called TRNC assembly. Mr Eroglu explained to Mr Talat that as government, they will give weight on the economy of the occupation regime and they will continue the negotiations on the Cyprus problem.

    The paper reports that the so-called TRNC assembly will convene on the 1st of May, 10 days after the publication of the results in the official gazette. The deputies, who gained seats in the so-called assembly, will receive their letters of accreditation today.

    [03] An UBP deputy asked the recognition of the occupation regime even for some hours

    Turkish Cypriot daily Star Kibris newspaper (24.04.09) reports that UBP deputy Hasan Tacoy, during the Dispatches programme broadcast by the Turkish Cypriot local television channel ADA TV, said: If you want solution then we want the recognition of the TRNC even for some hours... why do we want this? Because, we want our laws that we have established in the past 30 years to be legitimised.

    Mr Tacoy continued and said: If this happens then we will talk about a confederal-federation which will be established by two countries in a confederal system or by two Republics. In this case, our rules and regulations should be legitimate.

    [04] KTOS expects with concern UBPs steps on the books of history

    Turkish Cypriot daily Havadis newspaper (24.04.09) reports that the General Secretary of the Turkish Cypriot Teachers Trade Union (KTOS), Mr Sener Elcil, said that they expect with concern the steps of the National Unity Party, (UBP) regarding its views on the books of history. UBP, during its election campaign gave the promise that they will change the books when they come to power.

    Noting that they are not against a new change of the books of history, Mr Elcil said that they will support the books if they are progressive, but as KTOS they will not allow any books that will contain hostility.

    [05] Kutlay Erk will accept the leadership of CTP if it is asked from him

    Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris newspaper (24.04.09) reports that the former Turkish Cypriot mayor of occupied Lefkosia, Mr Kutlay Erk, in an interview to Kibris, said that he will not contest for the leadership of the Republican Turkish Party (CTP), but he may accept in case the party makes a proposal to him.

    [06] Chief negotiator for EU talks Egemen Bagis returned to Turkey accompanied by the Foreign Minister of Sweden, Carl Bildt

    Ankara Anatolia news agency (23.04.09) reported the following from Istanbul:

    Turkish State Minister and Chief Negotiator for EU talks Egemen Bagis has returned to Turkey with Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt after completing talks in Sweden.

    Speaking at a joint news conference with Carl Bildt at Istanbul's Ataturk International Airport, Bagis said that Bildt displayed courtesy by taking him to Istanbul in his private plane before proceeding to Greek Cypriot administration.Sweden is a country that strongly supports Turkey and does not hesitate to make this known publicly, Bagis said.

    We appreciate Sweden's support as many EU countries do not publicly make statements supporting Turkey, Bagis said.

    We are waiting for EU presidency of Sweden and believe in objectivity of Sweden, Bagis also said.

    Bildt, on the other hand, said that Sweden extends strong support to Turkey's EU membership.With Turkey's membership, the EU would become more dynamic and effective globally, Bildt said.

    In response to a question on the recent elections made in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), Bildt said that President Mehmet Ali Talat will continue to hold negotiations and these negotiations would be supported by the new government of the TRNC.

    [07] Turkey and Armenia have agreed on a road map for the improvement of their relations

    Turkish daily Hurriyet newspaper (24.04.09) reports that Turkey and Armenia have come close to the opening of the border gate between the two countries after they agreed on a road map for the improvement of their relations. Commissions will be established between the two countries for the discussion of the problems in their relations and mainly for the examination of the allegations regarding the Armenian genocide by the Ottoman Turks. The opening of the border and the re-establishment of diplomatic relations between Turkey and Armenia are some of the concrete steps made with the aforementioned agreement. The announcement of the agreement has been made simultaneously by Ankara and Erivan the night before yesterday. A statement by Switzerland, which was the mediator for the agreement, followed the above-mentioned announcements, which are also supported by the USA. The paper writes that Turkey will decide the opening of the border with Armenia taking into consideration the developments on the issue of Nagorno Karabagh. Positive signals on this issue are expected during this summer, after pressure exerted by the USA, notes the paper.

    Turkish daily Milliyet newspaper (24.04.09) refers to the issue under the title Sharp curve on the border and reports that Armenia is the main issue in the Turkish foreign policy. The decision for the normalization of the relations of Ankara with Armenia was welcomed with great enthusiasm in the USA and the EU, notes the paper adding that Azerbaijan is watching the developments.

    Turkish daily Sabah newspaper (24.04.09) refers to the same issue under the title Here is the Turkish-Armenian road map and reports that according to the road map Armenia will, inter alia, recognize the Kars Agreement signed in the past by the Soviet Union and Turkey and the two countries will first accredit to each other their ambassadors to Tiblisi and then they will mutually open embassies.

    Turkish daily Cumhuriyet newspaper (24.04.09) reports that Azerbaijan reacted to the agreement between Turkey and Armenia and asked for a precondition regarding Nagorno Karabagh to be included in the text, according to which the improvement of the Turkish-Armenian relations should take place with the withdrawal of the Armenian troops from Azeri territory.

    (I/Ts.)

    [08] Last warning from US think-tank to Obama over April 24 message

    Todays Zaman newspaper (24.04.09) reports the following:

    Stephen Flanagan, the senior vice president of Washington based think-tank the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), has said if US President Obama defines the killings of Armenians at the hands of Ottomans in 1915 as genocide, it will harm the bilateral relations between the US and Turkey.

    One of the two authors of the report titled "Turkey's evolving dynamics," Flanagan, accompanied by Bulent Alir1za, director of the CSIS's Turkey Project, summarized the report and answered questions on Wednesday at the Turkish-American Association. He said that if Obama uses the word "genocide" in his message, it will jeopardize many sincere attempts aimed at reconciliation.

    Favoring a bilateral resolution between Armenia and Turkey, Flanagan stressed that neither the American government nor the Congress should take decisions on such historical disputes. Alir1za, however, argued that even if Obama does not identify the incidents of 1915 as genocide, this issue will not be taken off the table unless it is settled between Armenia and Turkey. Alir1za also touched upon the ongoing normalization efforts between the two and their repercussions on Turkey's relations with Azerbaijan. He said Turkey is trying to normalize relations with Armenia but also maintain its strong ties with Azerbaijan, creating a dilemma for the country. That dilemma is only good for Russia, he concluded.

    [09] Turkish Prime Ministers top advisor, Ahmet Davutoglu likely to be appointed as foreign minister

    Under the above title Hurriyet Daily News.com (24.04.09) publishes the following:

    The much-expected reshuffling of the cabinet will likely to be concluded within days with the surprising appointment to the foreign ministry of prime ministerial adviser, Prof. Ahmet Davutoglu.

    Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan is planning to appoint Davutoglu, his chief foreign policy adviser and architect of the current pro-active foreign policy, as foreign minister, according to reliable sources.

    Though he is not a deputy, he could still enter in the cabinet through presidential approval.

    According to sources, current Foreign Minister Ali Babacan will replace Economy Minister Mehmet Simsek. Babacan, an economist, held the post between 2002 and 2007 and was considered successful in comparison to Simsek.

    ARCHITECT OF TURKISH FOREIGN POLICY

    Davutoglu has been at the center of foreign policy since the ruling Justice and Development Party, or AKP, came to power in 2002.

    An academic and author of his famous book, Strategic Depth, Davutoglu has always preferred to remain as a power behind the throne.

    Under his guidance, Turkish foreign policy has shifted from its long status quo-focused stance and became much more activist, especially in this region.

    He played an important role in the visit of Hamas to Turkey in 2006 which sparked strong reactions from Israel.

    For many, his appointment is sure to spark controversy as he is not liked among the military brass.

    OTHER POSSIBLE REPLACEMENTS

    The 13 ministers who have not been replaced since 2002 are Deputy Prime Minister Cemil Cicek; state ministers Murat Basesgioglu, Mehmet Aydin and Kursad Tuzmen; Justice Minister Mehmet Ali Sahin, Defense Minister Vecdi Gonul, Interior Minister Besir Atalay, Foreign Minister Ali Babacan, Finance Minister Kemal Unakitan, Health Minister Recep Akdag, Transportation Minister Binali Yildirim, Energy Minister Hilmi Guler, and Education Minister Huseyin Celik.

    Of these names Tuzmen, Celik, Guler and Atalay are most likely to lose their seats.

    Akdag, who has been serving as health minister for seven years, may be reappointed to the Labor and Social Security Ministry on grounds that the "reform on social security and general health insurance" has transferred all the work of the Health Ministry to the Labor Ministry.

    In addition to a possible reshuffle, new ministries are also underway.

    On expected scenario is that the Culture and Tourism Ministry will be converted into two separate ministries: the Culture Ministry and the Tourism Ministry.

    The separation will pave the way for AKPs Alevi, a liberal arm of Islam, deputy Reha Camuroglu to be appointed as Culture Minister while current Culture and Tourism Minister Ertugrul Gunay is expected to maintain his post only as Tourism Minister.

    Another candidate for Culture Ministry is Menderes Turel, former Antalya mayor.

    The Environment and Forest Ministry may split as well. In such a case, Veysel Eroglu would remain in his office as Environment Minister while parliamentary group deputy leader Nihat Ergun would be appointed as Forest Minister.

    A Local Administration Ministry will also be established. AKPs deputy leader for local administrations, Huseyin Tanriverdi, is expected to be appointed local administration minister.


    [B] COMMENTARIES, EDITORIALS AND ANALYSIS

    [10] Columnist in MILLIYET says nothing will change in the occupied areas with the new government, because everything is controlled by Ankara

    Writing in Turkish daily Milliyet newspaper (24.04.09) Metin Munir assesses the victory of Dervis Eroglu and the National Unity Party (UBP) in the elections, compares Mr Eroglu with the former Turkish Cypriot leader Denktas and expresses the view that nothing will change with the new government, because the occupied areas of Cyprus are under the control of Turkey. Under the title The order and the mountains in Cyprus, Mr Munir writes, inter alia, the following:

    Whatever party comes to power in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, it is obliged to get on well with the party which is in power in Ankara. I could even say that it is obliged to enter under the command of the government in Ankara. A Cypriot leader who does not enjoy the support of Ankara cannot hold on the top for long, even if he was able to reach there. Rauf Denktas, who opposed to the AKP, attempted to become the exception of this rule. He opposed Erdogan who was newly elected to the government, and the then Minister of Foreign Affairs Gul. He lost the power.

    Both the order and the mountains in the TRNC belong to Ankara. Turkish soldiers who are not subject to the command of the RTNC government watch the borders of the Turkish area in the island. The TRNC police are under the command of the commander of these soldiers, not the TRNC Interior Minister. The TRNC intelligence organization as well, known as Civil Defence among the people, is an extension of MIT.

    Economically the Turkish Cypriots (and the new Cypriots who inflated their number, that is, those who came and settled from the Republic of Turkey) are totally depended on Turkey. The infrastructure investments are financed by Turkey. Half of the budget is funded by Ankara. If the money comes late, the salaries cannot be paid, the employees are aroused and the government is shaken, because the majority of the people are civil servants. ....

    Mr Munir goes on and compares Mr Eroglu with Mr Rauf Denktas and reaches to the conclusion that they are not the same. He notes that UBP is a nationalistic party, enemy of the Greek Cypriots, opposes the negotiations carried out between the Turkish Cypriot leader Talat and President Christofias for a solution to the Cyprus problem and supports the solution of confederation in Cyprus. Mr Munir points out to the statements made by Mr Eroglu before and after the elections, when he said he would support Mr Talat. He notes that it would not be a great problem for Eroglu to swallow this and concludes:

    Let the order and the mountains belong to Ankara, provided that they do not cause difficulties to his duties as prime minister. The government in the TRNC changed, but the rest will remain the same. There will be neither a deviation from the inter-communal talks, nor an improvement will come about in the economic situation. The TRNC will continue importing the maladies of Turkey and being turned into Turkey, because the new government has no power to bring any radical change.

    (I/Ts.)

    [11] From the Turkish Press of 23 April 2009

    Following are the summaries of reports and commentaries of selected items from the Turkish press on 23 April 2009:

    a) Ergenekon Investigation

    According to a report in Milliyet, the Istanbul Bar Association has issued a statement noting that as a result of the operations being carried out within the framework of the Ergenekon investigation, the regime can be described as a "police state." The statement further expresses fear over the course of events claiming that the government is trying to include into the Ergenekon investigation writers, union leaders, university rectors, owners of media organs, and many democratic mass organizations such as the Ataturkist Thought Association, ADD, and the Association for the Support of Contemporary Life, CYDD, in a bid to intimidate and suppress its opponents, the report adds.

    Focusing on the role of the Gulen community in the operations conducted against the CYDD in an article in Milliyet, Kadri Gursel assesses what he calls the "sacred alliance" between the community and the Justice and Development Party, AKP. What was till now a "symbiotic" relation has turned into a "parasitic" relationship claims Gursel, adding that the CYDD action, which has been presented as the 12th wave of the Ergenekon investigation but which actually aims at frightening and intimidating the sectors that caused the AKP to lose votes in the recent local elections, is one of the unpleasant manifestations of this "parasitic relationship."

    If the number of detentions and arrests continue at the current rate, soon the court sessions will be held at sports stadiums, writes Hurriyet columnist Yalcin Dogan in an article, adding that this picture reminds one of anti-democratic regimes in South America. Criticizing the long detention periods, the manner in which the detentions and the searches are conducted, the violation of the European Court of Human Rights decisions in the process, and the wave of fear created in the public, Dogan concludes by likening a community that breathes Ergenekon for three or four years to one that is moving further away from a "normal and democratic" life.

    In an article entitled "Why is the political authority making itself scarce?, Yeni Safak columnist Ali Bayramoglu warns that the political climate has been turning against the ruling AKP ever since the 29 March elections and the latest operations in the Ergenekon probe. He claims that the debate sparked by the police raid on Professor Turkan Saylan's house and the offices of the Association for the Support of Contemporary Life should not be allowed to divert attention from the essence of the Ergenekon investigation underlined by the recent discovery of new weapons caches. He also calls on the Erdogan government to stop maintaining a low-key approach vis--vis the Ergenekon case, the Kurdish issue, and the subject of relations with Armenia and to set and dominate the agenda rather than going with the political flow.

    In an article entitled "On the track of Ergenekon in State documents", Yeni Safak columnist Fehmi Koru relates how US President Barack Obama took a "serious step" recently toward exposing the human rights violations carried out by the Bush administration by sharing with the public information about the "torture memos bearing the signatures of George W. Bush and a number of other political figures." Koru advises President Gul and Prime Minister Erdogan to follow Obama's example by contributing information to the Ergenekon investigation about Turkish state officials and politicians who may have ordered the formation of organizations like Ergenekon as well as some of the assassinations carried out by such networks.

    Under the headline, "Whose weapons cache is this?" Vakit carries a front-page report which asserts that the arms cache found in Poyrazkoy is the largest secret munitions dump dug out so far in the Ergenekon probe. The report claims that the General Staff remains "conspicuously" silent on allegations by Bedrettin Dalan that the land where the weapons store was found is used as a training ground by a commando school.

    In an article entitled "High-ranking military not to be further scrutinized in Ergenekon probe", Today's Zaman columnist Lale Sariibrahimoglu asserts that the ruling AKP appears to have made an agreement with Chief of Staff Ilker Basbug not to let the Ergenekon probe go any further in indicting retired or serving high-ranking military officials.

    In a commentary entitled "Ergenekon's treasure chest", Today's Zaman writers Emre Uslu and Onder Aytac assert that the fact that the Turkish Armed Forces leadership has not yet launched an investigation into the arms cache dug up in Istanbul's Poyrazkoy district "gives us the incentive to believe that the Ergenekon network still maintains its high-level connections within the military ..."

    b) Kurdish Issue

    According to a report by Namik Durukan in Milliyet, Democratic Society Party, DTP, deputies staged a sit-in last night at the Turkish Grand National Assembly, TBMM, to protest the operations being conducted against their party. Freedom and Solidarity Party, ODP, Istanbul deputy Ufuk Uras extended his support to the sit-in, the report adds. Announcing the decision on the sit-in, DTP parliamentary faction deputy leader Selahattin Demirtas is also reported to have said that the DTP will not be participating in any of the activities being organized within the framework of 23 April National Sovereignty and Children's Day except the TBMM session in protest against the harsh prison sentences being given to children accused of throwing stones at security forces.

    Relating an interview he conducted with Kendal Nezan, the president of the Kurdish Institute in France, Milliyet columnist Hasan Cemal, in his article, writes that the Institute is establishing a new Kurdish television channel called Kurt-1 in a bid to bring the Kurdish language to the new generations. Nezan believes that Turkey should maintain good relations with the Iraqi Kurdistan Regional Administration, writes Cemal, adding that the president of the Kurdish Institute does not want the PKK to be an obstacle to the development of relations between Ankara and Arbil. Nezan says: "Iraqi Kurds will do everything but fight against the PKK. Forget that. Arbil also wants the PKK to come down from the mountains and to lay down its arms. It favors stability and peace with Turkey... To achieve this goal, however, Ankara should extend its help; it should take certain steps such as declaring a general amnesty. Would it be a bad thing if some three to five thousand PKK members came down from the mountains and Turkey's relations with the South were improved? The oil and natural gas reserves in the region are extraordinary; its natural gas reserves are larger than those of Kuwait..." Explaining that the formation in North Iraq represents for the Kurds what Israel represents for the Jews, Nezan believes that the process in Northern Iraq cannot be reversed. Arguing that the Kurds can neither be eliminated nor assimilated, Nezan concludes by pointing out that the Kurdish question has become an international problem that cannot be ignored.

    In an article entitled "Forced assimilation fails to achieve its purposes", Zaman columnist Sahin Alpay disputes General Basbug's assertion in his recent War Academy speech that the Kurdish people in Turkey have not been subjected to "systematic assimilation" in the republican period. Alpay also argues that Turkey will not achieve peace and political stability as long as the restrictions on the free expression and development of the Kurdish identity are not lifted.

    c) On the illegal elections in occupied Cyprus

    Assessing the results of the illegal elections in occupied Cyprus in his article in Radikal, Tarhan Erdem predicts "a period of uncertainty and unrest for the Turkish Cypriots the duration of which is unknown." The new government will, justifiably, exert efforts to manage its relations with 'President' Talat instead of seeking ways to increase income and production and to ameliorate the heath system, writes Erdem, adding: "Placing a sentimental issue in front of the people in a place where there are few resources and limited production is the easy way out." Foreseeing a period in which the sole goal will be the destruction of one's opponent in the Eroglu-Talat dispute, Erdem believes that what will actually be destroyed will be the country.

    Accusing Prime Minister Erdogan of disregarding the national will of the Turkish Cypriots in an article in Cumhuriyet, Cuneyt Arcayurek argues that the prime minister's remarks to the effect that he wants the negotiation process in Cyprus to continue as in the past, is tantamount to threatening the National Unity Party, UBP, that will come to power in occupied Cyprus. Through his statement, Erdogan is forcing Eroglu to represent the national will of the Turkish Cypriots within the framework of the principles and rules Erdogan has drawn up, stresses Arcayurek, charging that Erdogan, who has assumed a threatening manner toward the elected officials of north Cyprus, keeps silent when it comes to the EU and the United States.

    [12] Turkey-Armenia dialogue process and the existing disputes

    Under the above title Hurriyet Daily News.com (24.04.09) publishes the following:Turkey and Armenia started the dialogue process to pave a way toward normalizing relations in late 2008.

    Turkish President Abdullah Gul paid a landmark visit to Yerevan in September to watch a game between the two countries' national teams, a move that was called soccer diplomacy.

    One of the triggers of the process was the conflict that erupted between Russia and Georgia in August. That dispute raised concerns regarding peace and stability in the region and inspired Turkey's offer to form a Caucasus Stability and Cooperation Platform. Armenia welcomed the move along with other countries in the region.

    This is seen as the third important step between the two neighboring countries for normalizing diplomatic relations after they were cut in 1993.

    The first attempt came under the first Armenian president, Levon Ter Petrosian, and was later followed by retired Turkish diplomats and representatives of the Armenian diaspora forming a reconciliation commission.

    In late March, the Hurriyet Daily News & Economic Review reported that the sides had agreed on a protocol that sets the framework for transition to full diplomatic relations possibly starting with low-key representations in Ankara and Yerevan or accreditation of ambassadors from other neighboring capitals.

    Simultaneously, Turkey will devise a road map for a solution to the Nagorno-Karabakh dispute. The details of the new border regime will be determined by the border committee while, as part of a show of good will, immediate measures would be taken for a gradual opening, the report said.

    Diplomatic recognition will be supported by social and economic projects with coordination of the Turkish Armenian Business Development Council, or TABDC, according to the diplomats.

    Although the border crossing is closed between the two countries, official figures show 50,000 to 60,000 Armenian tourists visit Turkey each year and trade between the two neighbors continues via Georgia and Iran.

    EXISTING DISPUTES

    1) 1915 INCIDENTS: Armenia, with the backing of its diaspora, claims up to 1.5 million of its kin were slaughtered in orchestrated killings in 1915. Turkey rejects the claims saying that 300,000 Armenians, along with at least as many Turks, died in civil strife that emerged when Armenians took up arms, backed by Russia, for independence in eastern Anatolia. Turkeys proposal to form a joint commission to investigate the allegations have so far been rejected by Armenia.

    2) NAGORNO-KARABAKH: The conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia began in 1988 due to Armenian territorial claims against Azerbaijan. Since 1992, the Armenian military has occupied 20 percent of Azerbaijan including the Nagorno-Karabakh region and its seven surrounding districts. Some 10 percent of the Azerbaijani population was displaced due to a series of bloody clashes both between and within the two neighboring countries. In 1994, Azerbaijan and Armenia signed a cease-fire agreement at which time the active hostilities ended. The co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group are currently holding peaceful negotiations. Turkey says it will not take any step to open borders before the conflict is resolved, while Azerbaijan makes similar warnings.

    3) TERRITORIAL DISAGREEMENTS: Turkey is uncomfortable with the articles in Armenia's declaration of independence and constitution, claiming some parts of Turkey should belong to Armenia. The border between Turkey and Armenia was drawn by the Kars-Gumru Treaty signed in 1912. There are also claims on the Armenian side that this treaty is not valid anymore.

    EG/


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