Armenian President Robert Kocharian (file photo) (AFP)
February 19, 2007 -- Armenia says it is ready to establish diplomatic ties with Turkey without preconditions.
In an interview with the French daily "Le Figaro" printed today, Armenian President Robert Kocharian also said Armenia is ready to create a joint government commission to discuss the killings of Armenians by Ottoman Turks in 1915, which Yerevan says was genocide.
Kocharian rejected Turkey's offer to set up a joint panel of historians to debate the issue, but instead called on Ankara to accept his suggestion of an intergovernmental commission.
Turkey denies accusations that some 1.5 million Armenians were massacred during the disintegration of the Ottoman Empire in World War I, arguing that Armenian deaths were part of general partisan fighting in which both sides suffered.
Kocharian is in France on an official visit today, and is scheduled to meet with French President Jacques Chirac.
CALL IT GENOCIDE? Questions surrounding the mass killings of Armenians at the beginning of the last century continue to dominate relations between Armenia and Turkey. In April,
Ankara proposed conducting a joint Armenian-Turkish investigation into the mass killings and deportations of Armenians during World War I.
Turkish leaders suggested that the two countries set up a joint commission of historians to determine whether the massacres carried out between 1915 and 1917 constituted genocide. Armenia, however, insisted it would continue to seek international recognition and condemnation of what it says was a deliberate attempt at exterminating an entire people....(more)
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Armenia: Tragedy Remains On Europe’s Political Map
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