WikiLeaks Publishes Robert Kocharyan’s Letter to Prime Minister Erdogan

By in Lead Article, Politics on August 25, 2011

wikileaks publishes robert kocharyans letter to prime minister erdogan WikiLeaks Publishes Robert Kocharyans Letter to Prime Minister ErdoganBy Adonia Agayan

YEREVAN, August 25 — WikiLeaks published a cable of the U.S. Embassy in Yerevan, in which it touches upon the letter of the then Armenian President Robert Kocharyan addressed to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan from April 25, 2005 and the comments of the Ministry of foreign Affairs of the Republic of Armenia.

The letter reads:

“Dear Mr. Prime Minister,

I received your letter. As two neighboring countries we should actually try to find ways to live together in harmony. That is the basic reason why from the very first day we gave you a hand to establish relations, open the borders and to establish a dialog between two countries and nations.

There are neighboring countries, especially on the continent of Europe, that had a hard past on which they have different views. Nevertheless, it didn’t prevent them from having open borders, normal and diplomatic relations, representatives in the capitals, even if they still keep on discussing their disputable issues.

Your proposal to address the past can’t be effective if it does not refer to the present and the future. To start an effective dialog, we should create a favorable political environment. The governments are responsible for the development of bilateral relations, and we have no right to delegate that responsibility to the historians. Thus, we have proposed and we again propose to establish normal relations between our countries without preconditions.

In this regard, an inter-governmental commission can be formed to discuss the outstanding issues to resolve them and mainatain mutual understanding.

Robert Kocharyan.”

The non-official explanatory document that went with the diplomatic note reads:

“The content of the letter President Kocharyan received from Prime Minister Erdogan is not a new thing. The call upon the historians to discuss the events of 1915 is just another call Turkish administration makes each time they feel strong international interest and attention towards both Armenian Genocide and Genocide recognition.

It’s the first time such a written proposal was made at the highest level. That is why President Kocharyan responded to Prime Minister’s letter, despite the fact we are seriously concerned about its sincerity.

Several factors cause our concerns:

First, the letter appeared in Turkish media earlier than in Yerevan.

Second, it was immediately distributed in the U.S. Congress with the clear implication that the process of “rapprochement” and “reconciliation” is underway and that no U.S. action (for example, Congressional resolution) is needed.

Third, Turkish criminal code still provides for the punishment of any citizen who uses the term “genocide” in the Armenian context. And the proceedings against writer Orhan Pamuk and publisher Ragip Zaraoklu are still pending.

Fourth, in the middle of April the Turkish Parliament held hearings on the Armenian issue and issued a statement not only confirming their revisionist efforts but also openly calling upon third countries (for example, United Kingdom) to reprocess, review and revise their archives.

Nonetheless, President Kocharyan’s letter confirmed Armenia’s position — Armenia’s ready to discuss any issue at the intergovernmental level. The best way to do it is to establish diplomatic relations. Even if this goal is difficult to achieve, we can at least establish normal relations with open borders, free communication and travel between our countries and representatives.

Armenia has no preconditions for the establishment of relations and the opening of the borders. All the bilateral issues including Armenian Genocide can be discussed as soon as the relations are established.

Turkey uses three different excuses to explain why it keeps the borders closed. One of them is the fact Armenia insists on the recognition of Armenian Genocide. (The response of the Republic of Armenia is the following — Armenian Genocide recognition and remembrance is a moral issue, which cannot be dropped, however, the Republic of Armenia doesn’t make it a precondition for the establishment of relations.)

The second one refers to the fact that the Republic of Armenia did not confirm Turkey’s territorial integrity. (The response of the Republic of Armenia is the following — Kars treaty, which defines the current borders between Armenia and Turkey has neither been revoked, nor renounced. Other than that, no Armenian official has made territorial claims against Turkey.)

And the third one is the still unresolved Nagorno Karabakh conflict. (The response of the Republic of Armenia is the following — it’s a conflict with a third country, which has no relation with the establishment of our bilateral relations.)

We sincerely hope Prime Minister Erdogan will positively respond to Armenian President’s proposal to improve the relations, so that we manage to resolve the most complicated issues.”

Yerevan Report

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