Posted on 07 October 2009
Turkey hopes to sign accords with Armenia on Saturday Reuters has revealed, ending the decades long feud between the two countries, and taking a massive step forward towards being accepted as a member of the European Union.
Armenia has been feuding with Turkey because of the thousands of Armenians killed at the hands of the Ottoman Empire during World War I. Armenia says that Turkey should acknowledge the fact that this was genocide, while Turkey says that genocide is inaccurate because people were killed on both sides during the conflict.
Anyway, Turkey closed its border with Armenia in 1993 in solidarity with Muslim ally Azerbaijan, then locked in a deadly conflict with Armenia backed ethnic Armenians.
The report of Saturday as the day the accords would be signed comes from two unnamed sources high in the Turkish government. Armenia’s Prime Minister has simply said that he hopes the accords will be signed soon; because the six-week deadline set when the accord was reached August 31 is nearing its end.
The agreement will see the opening of diplomatic ties, a common border, and historians investigating the killings during World War I. After the accords are signed they must be ratified by parliaments on both sides.
The major problems for the deal are the fact that Turkey is insisting that progress be made in repairing relations with Azerbaijan before the agreement is ratified. Armenia insists that this is a separate issue.
None the less Armenia and Azerbaijan are due to meet in Moldova on Thursday (tomorrow). While no major progress is expected it will be a step forward sufficient enough for the Turkish foreign minister to sign the accords.
Another hurdle: the deal has met with anger, mainly from the Armenian Diaspora, but also to a certain extent from Turks.
The deal is important to the Turkish government as part of their intention to become a major player and peacemaker in the region, which it cannot be whilst it is still embroiled in such a horrible long-lasting standoff. So from their side if the accords are signed they will likely be ratified provided the negotiations continue between Armenia and Azerbaijan.