By Emil Danielyan
Armenia stands ready to normalize relations with Turkey without any preconditions while continuing to strive for international recognition of the 1915 mass killings of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire as genocide, President Serzh Sarkisian said on Thursday.
“The issue of international recognition and condemnation of the Armenian genocide is a legitimate and inevitable part of Armenia’s foreign policy agenda,” Sarkisian said in a written address to the nation dedicated to the 93rd anniversary of the tragedy. “As the homeland of all Armenians, Armenia must continue its efforts at restoration of historical justice with multiplied vigor.”
“Our aims have nothing to do with vengeance and enmity,” added Sarkisian. “While keeping alive the holy memory of the innocent victims, we are ready to establish normal relations with Turkey without any preconditions as early as tomorrow.”
Sarkisian’s predecessor, Robert Kocharian, adhered to this policy throughout his ten-year presidency. Turkey has long made the normalization of bilateral ties conditional on an end to the Armenian campaign for genocide recognition and a resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict acceptable to Azerbaijan.
Turkish Foreign Minister Ali Babacan said on Monday that he has sent a letter to his newly appointed Armenian counterpart Eduard Nalbandian saying that his government wants to start “dialogue” with the Sarkisian administration. But he would not say whether Turkey is ready to reconsider its preconditions for establishing diplomat relations and opening its border with Armenia.
(Photolur photo: Sarkisian lays a wreathe at the genocide memorial in Yerevan.)