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    WASHINGTON, MAY 18, NOYAN TAPAN. The attention of the American
    political and diplomatic circles remains fixed to prospects of the
    Armenian-Turkish relations which is connected both with the 90th
    anniversary of the Armenian Genocde and the letters exchanged by
    the Prime Minister of Turkey and the RA President. The Turkish Prime
    Minister's initiative concerning a joint study of the history that is
    even presented as an historic opportunity gave cause of enthusiasm
    to many people, and was mentioned by some Congressmen and in the
    USA President's April 24 statement. Going farther, in the article
    published on May 3 in the "Washington Times" daily, Logoglu, the
    Ambassador of Turkey in Washington, attempted to further support the
    Turkish viewpoint and even to orient the proposed process of so called
    studying the history. In the article, the Armenians are ascribed
    as pretending to a monopoly of presenting their own and one-sided
    interpretation of the 1915 events. Also, the Armenian Genocide
    victims are put on a level with Muslims allegedly slaughtered during
    the World War I. As Noyan tapan was informed from the RA Foreign
    Ministry's Press and Information Department, on May 15, 2005,
    in the "Washington Times" daily, the article titled "A Promising
    Start?" by Tatoul Markarian, the RA Ambassador to the USA, was
    published which touched upon peculiarities of the present stage of
    the Armenian-Turkish relations. The article explaines that Erdogan's
    initiative on studying the history can not be enough to reach a
    progress in the Armenian-Turkish relations. Not pretending to give
    final estimations to the initiative of Turkey's Prime Minister, the
    RA Ambassador points out the problems: establishment of diplomatic
    relations and opening of the border. The solution of these problems
    would be the evidence of frankness and seroiusness of Turkey's
    intentions. The article puts forward questionings about frankness
    and efficiency of the Turkish party's initiative taking into account
    numerous legal and political obstacles present in Turkey tow
    ards impartial study of the history. Responding Turkey's Ambassador's
    public attempt to predestine this process towards a distorted result,
    the RA Ambassador distinctly mentions that steps of the Turkish
    party to justify the Armenian Genocide for war actions or other
    reasons are imadmissible. The complete text of Tatoul Markarian's
    article submitted by the RA Foreign Ministry is presented below:
    "A Promising Start? As the 90th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide
    approached last month, Turkish Prime Minister Receip Tayyip Erdogan
    came up with an initiative in a letter to Armenian President Robert
    Kocharian, proposing creation of a joint commission to address the
    history. In response, Mr. Kocharian called on Turkey to establish
    diplomatic relations and open its border with Armenia without
    preconditions, and to form an intergovernmental commission to address
    all bilateral concerns. No matter how unconventional this type of
    public communication may be between leaders of two neighboring
    nations, it is tempting to see Turkey may really open up for
    serious dialog. Mr. Erdogan's initiative, assuming its sincere aim
    is normalization of Turkish-Armenian relations, still raises many
    questions. A genuine effort by the Turkish government to allow
    the Turkish scholars to investigate the dark chapters of Turkish
    history would be worthy, though much belated. Such a move by the
    Turkish government would undoubtedly be applauded by our nations' true
    friends, as it would indeed begin a process of alleviating the burden
    of history in our region. Armenia would be the first to welcome such
    a move by the Turkish government. This would allow Turkish scholars
    to reveal the truth and help its political leadership accept and
    condemn it. Let us hope, however, that Prime Minister Erdogan's call
    to concentrate on addressing the past will not deflect from addressing
    pressing issues of the present and the future and that this will not
    deepen still further the division on both sides about what happened in
    1915. Yet, as long as there are political taboos and legal obstacles
    to the free discussion and comprehension of this issue in Turkey,
    including criminal penalties in the new Turkish Penal Code for mere
    assertion of the term genocide, any investigation mandated by the
    Turkish government will have a pre-determined outcome. A Turkish
    newspaper, Zaman, noted on April 23 that the Turkish Government
    should "lift all legal and other obstacles to the free investigation,
    discussion, and comprehension of 'What happened in 1915?' " Also, we
    witness the dangerous temptation of modern-day Turkish officials to
    present the extermination of the Ottoman Empire's Armenian population
    as a result of World War I. We want to remind all that it was the
    exact hope, argument and calculation of the perpetrators that the
    massacres and deportations of Armenians would pass unnoticed under
    the cover of World War I. Neither war nor anything else can explain or
    justify the murder of 1.5 million innocent Armenian children, women,
    and men in the Ottoman Turkey. Turkish officials claim Armenians
    alone define the history of those days. First, the historical record
    is both rich and well-documented. The process for establishing the
    truth started in the wake of World War I, as the Turkish military
    tribunal sentenced the perpetrators of the massacres and deportation
    of Armenians to the death penalty in 1919. That fact is deliberately
    bypassed by governments in modern-day Turkey. This process has
    progressed very far, especially in the last decade, with a growing
    number of countries properly recognizing and strongly condemning
    the events of 90 years ago. Turkey coming to terms with its past
    has become a test of its willingness to embrace human rights and
    fundamental values. And it is Turkey that is "missing the bus," at
    a cost of credibility and time. Second, we should not be blamed for
    defining the history alone: Ever since its independence, Armenia has
    consistently proposed, without preconditions, establishing diplomatic
    relations, opening the border and allowing the people to inte!
    ract free ly, thus helping create the proper environment for
    a discussion of all issues of bilateral importance. However,
    Turkey's denial of history has not been the only problem. Turkey
    has persistently refused to establish diplomatic relations with
    Armenia, imposed a blockade on the Turkish-Armenian border and
    prioritized ethnic solidarity with Azerbaijan over Turkey's
    international obligations, instead of helping settle the Nagorno
    Karabakh conflict. Thus, Turkey's rejection of not only the past
    but also the present left Armenians with no choice but to pursue its
    quest for justice -- both historical and contemporary -- within the
    international framework. Armenia is firm on its intent to seize on
    the opportunity presented by the exchange between our two countries'
    leaders. However, caution is also inspired by the fact Prime Minister
    Erdogan's letter was hurriedly circulated to European capitals and
    the United States Congress prior to the April 24 Commemoration Day and
    even before Armenian President Kocharian had an opportunity to respond
    formally. This left an impression the initiative may not have been
    mainly directed at Armenia. Could it have been a tactical maneuver
    intended to upstage the 90th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide,
    or to sidetrack European and other inquiries? We are interested in
    concrete steps and results, never in a vague process for the sake
    of process. That is why we proposed and are proposing again the
    establishment without preconditions of normal relations between
    Armenia and Turkey. As President Kocharian mentioned in his reply,
    that will allow an intergovernmental commission to meet and discuss
    any and all outstanding issues between our nations, with the aim of
    resolving them and reaching an understanding".
    [url][/url] - [COLOR="Red"]Armenian[/COLOR] [COLOR="Blue"]Genealogy[/COLOR] [COLOR="Orange"]Forum[/COLOR]