YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–As reported–a delegation from Gyumri that was visiting Kars–Turkey at the invitation of the region’s governor to participate in a local seminar was expelled in a surprising development last week. The incident was followed by numerous press reports and commen’s. A Turkish diplomatic representative also provided his commentary regarding the incident. At the request of the Noyan Tapan News Agency–Armenia’s Foreign Ministry Spokesman Ara Papyan presented Armenia’s position on the given matter:
"We regret the fact that Turkish authorities banned the officially invited Armenian delegation from taking part in the Kars forum. The statement by the Turkish Foreign Ministry’s spokesman conditioning this manner of action by Armenia’s efforts to get an international recognition of the Genocide and by the course of the Karabakh conflict settlement appears to be even more inexplicable.
We find it necessary to state that the Genocide issue has always been and will be on the agenda of Armenia’s foreign policy. Armenia will continue its efforts toward an international recognition of the Armenian Genocide–including toward Turkey’s admission of guilt. This policy is not aimed at creating tension between the two states–on the contrary–its aim is to settle these relations as early as possible.
Armenia’s Foreign Ministry has repeatedly emphasized that Armenian-Turkish bilateral relations cannot develop in a normal way as far as Turkey links them with Armenia’s relations with a third country–Azerbaijan.
As to the incident–it should be underlined that it is not consonant with the recently outlined progress in the Armenia-Turkey dialogue and does not promote the establishment of stability and long-lasting peace in the region."