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Press welcomes Turkey-Armenia 'roadmap'

Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian (R) shakes hands with Turkish Foreign Minister Ali Babacan (L) on 16 April 2009
Turkey and Armenia have agreed on a "framework" to normalise bilateral ties

Papers in Turkey and Russia have welcomed Turkey and Armenia's agreement on a "framework" to normalise their bilateral ties, putting decades of strained relations behind them.

A statement by their foreign ministers said they had "achieved tangible progress and mutual understanding".

Turkish papers welcomed the move, but several suspected that the announcement had been made chiefly in the hope that it would persuade US President Barack Obama not to refer to the killing of hundreds of thousands of Armenians by Ottoman Turks in 1915 as "genocide" in a speech he is expected to make on 24 April to mark the anniversary of the killings.

The Russian press felt that the development moved Turkey closer to EU membership and could see Turkey acting as a mediator in the dispute between Armenia and Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabakh, the ethnic Armenian enclave in Azerbaijan.

Turkish press

Ferai Tinc in Hurriyet

A point has been reached in the secret talks that have been taking place between the two countries. But there are still questions in my mind. For example, is this only a last-minute manoeuvre to get over 24 April in a safe and sound way? Is this a lifebuoy thrown to Obama?

Sami Kohen in Milliyet

It is not hard to understand why the [Turkish] Foreign Ministry adjusted the timing of the announcement regarding relations with Armenia. The recipient is obvious: the White House. The goal is to make President Barack Obama not use an expression that will embarrass Turkey in his "24 April message" to the Armenians today.

Ali Sirmen in Cumhuriyet

Behind the curtains, Obama was actually saying to the Turkish side: "If you do not want me to speak against your wishes, then normalize your relations with Armenia and open your borders by that day [24 April]". The announcement that was made in a hurry at midnight the day before, regarding the normalisation of Turkish-Armenian relations and the opening of the border, is a result of this request.

Cengiz Candar in Radikal

The Turkish-Armenian normalization process is moving on a course that cannot be reversed.

Erdal Safak in Sabah

Yes, the risk of recognition of the Armenian genocide claims by the US has now been largely reduced. In fact, it is suspended until the commission to be composed by the historians of Turkey, Armenia and other countries that wish to take part reaches a final decision on this issue. This is a very important development.

Ibrahim Karagul in Yeni Safak

The Turkish-Armenian Roadmap has become clear... But we do not know what this "roadmap" includes yet. While "information", most of which cannot be confirmed, flows from Baku, Moscow and Washington, Ankara does not even give a hint about it.

Okay Gonensin in Vatan

The content of the roadmap has not been announced, but the goal is obvious. The Turkish-Armenian border will be opened and the two countries will start diplomatic relations... By taking this step it is impossible for Turkey to change world opinion about the events of 1915 and stop the ongoing discussions. However, for the Republic of Turkey the normalization of Turkish-Armenian relations would mean getting rid of a "complex" regarding the "Armenian issue".

Russian press

Anastasiya Novikova in Gazeta

Russia might now get a competitor in the rivalry for the role of mediator in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict... It is symbolic that Armenian and Turkish diplomats have managed to make up on the eve of Armenian genocide day.

Yuriy Simonyan in Nezavisimaya Gazeta

The US state department has welcomed the joint statement... After this it's hard to imagine that Washington will take steps that might prompt Ankara to suspend relations with Yerevan again.

Mikhail Zygar and Vladimir Solovyev in Kommersant

Now, after the Armenian-Turkish roadmap has been determined, Barack Obama won't have to make any statements - the issue of recogniding [the Armenian 1915] genocide has worked itself out.

Konstantin Novikov in Moskovskiy Komsomolets

For Ankara, improving relations with Armenia is a major condition for joining the EU, which means that Turkey has taken one more step towards Europe.

Boris Makarenko, chairman of the Centre for Political Technology, in Kommersant

The issues dividing Turkey and Armenia are very serious... There are many things that might undermine efforts [at reconciliation], but the probable dividends are too promising, both for Turkey and Armenia... What does this mean for Russia? Still the same: it has to understand that there is no monopoly in the post-Soviet area, even if we talk about an ally such as Armenia, which has 'no other alternative'.



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