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Dialogue With Turkey ‘Could Hurt Armenia’


Barbed wire, pictured against the backdrop of Mount Ararat, marks Armenia's closed border with Turkey.

Barbed wire, pictured against the backdrop of Mount Ararat, marks Armenia's closed border with Turkey.

A senior member of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun) voiced reservations on Monday about President Serzh Sarkisian’s assurances that Armenia would only benefit from the possible failure of its fence-mending talks with Turkey.

Speaking at a news conference on Friday, Sarkisian said Armenia would “emerge from this process stronger” in any case because the international community will have no doubts about its commitment to an unconditional normalization of Turkish-Armenian relations.

“In a sense, we share the president’s opinion,” said Giro Manoyan, a prominent Dashnaktsutyun figure. “But it all depends on how long those negotiations will continue and whether or not we will lose something else in the process.”

Manoyan was specifically worried that Ankara’s ongoing dialogue with Yerevan will discourage U.S. President Barack Obama from recognizing the 1915 mass killings of Armenians in Ottoman Turkey as genocide. “One of the reasons why Turkey began the negotiations is to prevent Obama from uttering the word genocide on April 24,” he told journalists. “And if the Turks succeed in doing that, I think we will not quite emerge stronger whatever the outcome of the negotiations.”

Obama avoid using the politically sensitive term during his visit to Turkey last week, citing the need not to undermine the Turkish-Armenian talks. He said those talks are “could bear fruit very quickly, very soon.”

However, Turkish Prime has since twice stated that his country will not establish diplomatic relations with Armenia and open the Turkish-Armenian border before a resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. "We will not sign a final deal with Armenia unless there is agreement between Azerbaijan and Armenia on Nagorno-Karabakh," Erdogan said on Friday, according to the Anatolia news agency.
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