ISTANBUL (Reuters)–Armenia appealed to Turkey on Monday to open their shared border, saying this was the essential first step for making any progress on historical disputes that divide the two countries.
"First and foremost, to address the problematic issues between us, we need as a bare minimum an open border between our two countries," Armenian Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian told a news conference in Istanbul. "This is how civilized countries operate … The only closed border on the European continent today is that between Turkey and Armenia."
But Oskanian, in Istanbul for a meeting of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation Organization, said his talks with Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul on Monday gave little ground for hope. "There is no change in the Turkish position," he said, adding that Armenia hoped that after July 22 elections in Turkey a new government might be ready to review the border policy.
Oskanian said Armenia would consider taking part in such a commission if the border were opened and normal diplomatic ties established between the two countries. But he also criticized the Turkish commission proposal, saying it was an attempt to discourage parliamen’s around the world from recognizing the Armenian massacres as genocide.