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Former Armenian Foreign Minister Slams Turkey Deal

Former Armenian Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian
Former Armenian Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian
YEREVAN -- Former Armenian Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian has said that the proposed agreement normalizing relations between Ankara and Yerevan will give the Turks "everything they have wanted for 17 years," RFE/RL's Armenian Service reports.

In an emotional speech in Yerevan on September 22, Oskanian argued that opening the border with Turkey cedes the country's "historical rights" because it would "close the possibility, no matter how formal, of restoring historical justice" regarding territories in eastern Turkey that many Armenians believe should be a part of Armenia.

Oskanian also objects to the creation of a joint panel of Armenian and Turkish experts that would examine the mass killings of Armenians nearly 100 years ago in the Ottoman Empire.

The idea for a study was first floated by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in a 2005 letter to former President Robert Kocharian, who dismissed it. But the panel is now a part of the agreement between the two countries that is expected to be signed before October 14.

Oskanian, who served for 10 years in Kocharian's government, added that Armenia "is very far from being a democratic country," even though "that's what our future and security depend on."