Senior Turkish diplomat in Armenia for talks

18:00, April 07, 2010      

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Turkish Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Feridun Sinirlioglu is expected to hold talks in the Armenian capital of Yerevan as the special envoy for the Turkish prime minister, the semi-official Anatolia news agency reported on Wednesday.

Sinirlioglu, who began his official visit in Armenia, is set to meet with Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan and Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian to discuss difficulties regarding two protocols Turkey and Armenia had signed as well as details of a possible meeting between Turkish Premier Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Sargsyan, according to the report.

Turkey and Armenia signed the two protocols on Oct. 10, 2009, to resume diplomatic relations and open a border crossing.

After years of no diplomatic contacts, Turkish President Abdullah Gul travelled to Yerevan to watch a soccer game between Turkish and Armenian teams in September 2008. The Armenian president came to Turkey to watch the return game in 2009.

Turkey and Armenia have seen tensions rise after a U.S. congressional panel and the Swedish parliament passed in March nonbinding resolutions which recognize the killings of Armenians by Ottoman forces during the World War I as genocide, drawing ire from Ankara.

On Tuesday, Turkish ambassador to the United States Namik Tan, who had come back home following the row, left for the United States, saying "our interlocutors understood the message we wanted to give. We have received satisfactory answers. It is time to return to my office."

Armenians claim that more than 1.5 million Armenians were killed in a systematic genocide during the World War I, but the Turkish government insists that the Armenians were victims of widespread chaos and governmental breakdown as the Ottoman empire collapsed before modern Turkey was created in 1923.

The two countries signed protocols to normalize relations last October but the protocols needed to be ratified by the two countries' parliaments before taking effect. Turkish authorities have warned that the row over the "genocide" claims could hamper the normalization process.

Source: Xinhua


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