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Armenian Official Calls On Turkey To Establish Diplomatic Ties

(RFE/RL) January 24, 2007 -- Armenia's deputy foreign minister today again expressed his country's readiness to establish diplomatic ties with Turkey without preconditions.

Arman Kirakosian was speaking after visiting the family of Hrant Dink, the ethnic Armenian Turkish journalist killed in Istanbul on January 19.

In a letter to Dink's widow earlier this week, Armenian Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian made a similar appeal.

Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul said today that a joint effort was needed to normalize relations. He said Armenia should not make "unjust demands" on Turkey.

Turkey and Armenia have no diplomatic relations. Their common border has been shut since 1993 because of Armenia's unresolved conflict with Azerbaijan, a close Turkish ally, over the disputed enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh.

In related news, a Turkish teenager was sent to jail today after his first appearance in court related to Dink's murder.

The prosecution is preparing charges against 17-year-old Ogun Samast, who has confessed to killing Dink for "insulting" Turks.

(Reuters, AP, AFP)

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