Davutoglu and Nalbandian Meet on the Sidelines of BSCE Summit
YEREVAN (Combined Sources)—Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu was greeted by protesters in front of the Armenia Marriot Hotel on Thursday and was forced to enter from the back entrance of the hotel to attend the Black Sea Economic Cooperation Organization’s summit, on the sidelines of which he met with Armenia’s Foreign Minister Eduard Nalbandian.
The protest, organized by the Armenian Revolutionary Federation Nigol Aghbalian Student Organization, attracted a diverse group of Yerevan residents. The protesters sang patriotic songs and shouted slogans urging Turkey to recognize the Armenian Genocide and to make reparations for the crime.
Artur Ghazarian, a member of the ARF’s Yerevan office said Davutoglu’s visit to Armenia was an opportunity to remind Turkey “of our claims—recognition, condemnation and reparations.”
“Turkey proved yet again that it is scared to face its own history; it’s afraid to look into the eyes of the heirs of Armenian Genocide survivors,” said Gerasim Vardanyan, chairman of the ARF Nigol Aghbalian Student Organization.
“By this action the [youth and student] organizations express their protest saying STOP genocide, STOP denialism, STOP falsification of history, and STOP injustice,” said an action-alert by the ARF Student Organization.
On the sidelines of the BSCE Summit, Davutoglu and Nalbandian met for an hour. Neither issued a statement after the meeting, but Davutoglu held a press conference with the Turkish media that is in Armenia to cover the visit.
Following the BSEC Summit, Nalbandian told reporters that Armenia’s position vis-à-vis relations with Turkey had not changed.
“The position of Armenia and the international community is clear: the normalization of the Armenian-Turkish relations should take place without preconditions. Therefore the attempts of the Turkish side to link this to other issues, to set preconditions is senseless and vain,” said Nalbandian.
Speaking to the Turkish press after his meeting with Nalbandian, Davutoglu denied earlier Turkish press reports suggesting that Turkey would open the border with Armenia if Armenia “cedes” two of the so-called “occupied regions”—territories liberated by Karabakh forces.
Davutoglu told the Turkish press corps that the meeting with Nalbandian emphasized “open and sincere discussion of the historical past of the Armenian and Turkish people.”
“It was a sincere meeting. It is not possible to move forward without meeting, speaking and discussing the current issues,” Davutoglu told reporters, adding that finding a lasting solution to the current problems in Caucasus, economically developing the region, the necessity for Armenia to join the regional economic organizations were also discussed.