Turkey, Armenia have chance to work together for improving ties: Turkish minister

13:27, June 22, 2011      

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Turkish State Minister and chief negotiator for EU talks Egemen Bagis said on Tuesday that Turkey and Armenia had the chance to work together in order to prevent people, nations and countries from suffering more in the future, the semi-official Anatolia news agency reported.

Bagis made the remarks when receiving a delegation of Turkish, Armenian and U.S. journalists in the Turkish capital of Ankara.

On the 1915 incidents, Bagis said that both Turkish and Armenian peoples had suffered in those years, however, the history could not be changed, adding that the two parties still had the chance to work together.

Bagis said that Turkey wanted "zero problem" with its neighbors, adding that Turkey also wanted its neighbors to have "zero problem " with their own neighbors, too.

On when the border between Turkey and Armenia could be opened, Bagis said that he thought it would be opened one day after Armenia and Azerbaijan shook hands.

Turkey and Armenia have had no diplomatic or economic ties since Armenia declared independence in 1991. Turkey closed its border with Armenia in 1993 to support Azerbaijan, which had a territorial conflict with Armenia over the Nagorno-Karabakh region.

Ankara said the border could be opened only after the withdrawal of Armenian troops from the disputed land.

Apart from the Nagorno-Karabakh issue, Turkey and Armenia have also been bogged down in a row over the World War I-era killings of Armenians under Ottoman rule, which Armenia says was a genocide while Turkey denies that charge and insists the Armenians were victims of widespread chaos and governmental breakdown as the 600- year-old Ottoman Empire collapsed before modern Turkey was born in 1923.

Turkey and Armenia signed protocols to normalize relations and open borders last year, but the pacts need to be approved by both countries' parliaments before taking effect.

Source: Xinhua
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