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Turkish-Armenian Roadmap Deal ‘Not Implemented’


Azerbaijan -- Turkish Ambassador Hulusi Kilic, undated

A controversial framework agreement on the normalization of Turkish-Armenian relations announced in late April is not being implemented, according to Turkey’s ambassador to Azerbaijan.

“There is no progress in the implementation of the roadmap signed between Turkey and Armenia,” Hulusi Kilic was quoted by the Azerbaijani APA news agency as saying on Tuesday. “Nothing is being done. Nothing has changed.”

Kilic gave no reasons for that. He reportedly said last month Turkey will not reopen its border with Armenia until the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is resolved, echoing statements repeatedly made by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in recent months. Erdogan insisted on that linkage even after the Armenian and Turkish foreign ministries announced the roadmap agreement in a joint statement reportedly brokered by U.S. diplomats.

The announcement came less than two days before the annual commemoration of the 1915-1918 mass killings and deportations of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire. The timing is widely believed to have enabled U.S. President Barack Obama to avoid describing the massacres as genocide in an April 24 statement.

President Serzh Sarkisian has since been accused by his political opponents in Armenia and its worldwide Diaspora of willingly forgoing U.S. recognition of the Armenian genocide without securing the lifting of the 16-year Turkish blockade. Sarkisian has dismissed these accusations. He insisted late last month that Ankara could still agree to unconditionally normalize relations with Yerevan.

Meanwhile, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Philip Gordon confirmed on Tuesday that the Turkish-Armenian “roadmap” envisages the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two nations and the reopening of their border. Testifying before a U.S. congressional subcommittee, Gordon said the two sides also agreed to set up inter-governmental commissions specializing in “key areas including history,” according to the Armenian National Committee of America. The history commission would presumably look into the events of 1915-1918.

Visiting Yerevan last week, Gordon sounded optimistic about chances of the normalization of Turkish-Armenian relations “within a reasonable time frame.” “I think both sides do appreciate that they need to move forward, and I think they are, and I think they will,” he said.

Gordon’s deputy, Matthew Bryza, likewise told RFE/RL’s Armenian service on May 28 that Erdogan’s statements do not preclude the implementation of the roadmap deal. “Stay tuned, keep watching for additional statements by top officials in both Turkey and Armenia which hopefully will show the implementation is moving forward,” Bryza said.
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