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Armenian Opposition Calls President’s Planned Turkey Visit ‘Irrelevant’

Sarkisian plans to continue the 'football diplomacy' he began last year.

Sarkisian plans to continue the 'football diplomacy' he began last year.

YEREVAN -- The main Armenian opposition group says a possible visit by President Serzh Sarkisian to Turkey in October would be "irrelevant" to the normalization of Turkish-Armenian relations, RFE/RL's Armenian Service reports.

Levon Zurabian, the central office coordinator for the Armenian National Congress (HAK), told RFE/RL that Sarkisian has committed "irreversible mistakes" in his policy of rapprochement with Turkey. “Those mistakes cannot be rectified by his going or not going to Turkey," Zurabian said.

Sarkisian has been invited by his Turkish counterpart Abdullah Gul to the Turkish city of Bursa on October 14 to watch the return match of the two countries’ national soccer teams. Gul made a historic trip to Yerevan to watch the first match last September.

Sarkisian made it clear in July that he will continue this “football diplomacy” only if Ankara takes “real steps” to reopen the Turkish-Armenian border.

The HAK’s top leader, former President Levon Ter-Petrosian, and other opposition members have repeatedly denounced Sarkisian’s Turkey policy as a failure, even though many in the West have welcomed it.