Page last updated at 11:57 GMT, Tuesday, 1 September 2009 12:57 UK

Turkish, Armenian press play down ties

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The decision by Turkey and Armenia to establish diplomatic relations after centuries of hostilities has been given a lukewarm reception by press commentators in both countries.

Only two Turkish newspapers were noted to have commented on the issue and both largely welcome the move, but remain sceptical over whether it will result in anything without consensus from neighbouring nations.

Similarly, only two Armenian opposition dailies commented on the statement, both highlighting further conditions that they feel need to be met before the agreement can be fully welcomed. One of the Armenian dailies expressed stronger objection to the agreement, citing Turkey's ongoing denial of genocide against Armenians.


Turkey and Armenia have taken a bold step and decided to establish diplomatic relations. This is the message given by yesterday's statement simultaneously made in Ankara, Yerevan and Bern… It is assumed that this consensus which has been reached through Swiss mediation will be met by reactions in the nationalist circles in both Armenia and Turkey. And it is not known in the current phase what kind of a preparation Ankara has made in order to convince Baku [Azerbaijan].


An important detail: the six-week period will expire two days before the national football match to be played between Turkey and Armenia. Our impression is that in case the Armenian President, Serge Sarkisian, who has made his visit to Turkey for the match conditional upon the "opening of the [Turkish-Armenian] border", continues to resist, it is strongly possible that the process may be frozen.


Serge Sarkisian cannot but fulfil his promises: To go to Turkey..., to sign a big agreement on the Nagorno Karabakh issue, and to wait for Turkey finally to fulfil its promise to open its border.


Serge Sarkisian may go to Turkey on 14 October to watch the scheduled Armenia-Turkey football match, in order to ensure the continuation of the Armenian-Turkish talks and to prevent them from being aborted, at any cost. Taking into consideration Turkey's policy of denying the Armenian genocide, Armenia is to some extent justifying Turkey's behaviour in the genocide issue. The point is that the issue of the genocide is a national demand, which should not be made an axis of state policy. State policy should never be carried out at the price of national feelings, and moreover, it should not contribute to defying those feelings.

BBC Monitoring selects and translates news from radio, television, press, news agencies and the internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages. It is based in Caversham, UK, and has several bureaux abroad.

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