YEREVAN, ANKARA (Combined Sources)—“If Turkey really wants to contribute to the resolution of the Karabakh conflict, it should stay as far as possible from the process,” said Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian in an interview with local television channels, after his Turkish counterpart Ahmet Davutoglu urged France’s removal from the OSCE Minks Group co-chairmanship.
Claiming a biased posturing by France, Davutoglu said that when the French Senate passed a bill criminalizing the denial of the Armenian Genocide, it lost its objectivity in the Karabakh conflict resolution process.
“These are senseless statements. The bill adopted by the French Senate is not directed against any concrete country,” said Nalbandian, who said the more actively Turkey denies the Genocide, the more countries will come to recognize it.
“When Turkey says that only Armenians speak of genocide, it is the same as saying only Jews speak about the Holocaust,” Nalbandian said, reminding that is has been recognized by more than 20 countries and international organizations.
When asked how the French bill would affect Armenia-Turkey relations, Nalbandian said that Turkey should respect the agreements it has signed, as a basic principle of international relations, referring to the failed Turkey-Armenia protocols.
“One thing is clear: Turkey cannot keep the border closed forever, it cannot sign agreements and refuse to ratify them,” said Nalbandian.
Nalbandian also denied that there were secret talks taking place between Turkey and Armenia to address the protocols issue.
“There are no secret, or non-secret—neither direct, nor mediated—talks under way today with Turkey. This [such talks] will be possible when Turkey is ready to take some practical steps,” added Nalbandian.
On Thursday, while visiting Lithuania, Nalbandian fiercely criticized Turkey’s rhetoric after the passage of the resolution by the French Senate.
“Turkey’s extremely accusatory reaction to France, its accusatory reaction to all those countries that have recognized the Armenian genocide, its offensive and provocative statements about the Armenian people and the Armenian Diaspora formed as a result of the genocide … attest to a state policy of [genocide] denial,” Nalbandian said in Vilnius, the capital Lithuania.
“This is a very dangerous phenomenon,” Nalbandian said. “And it proves the necessity and importance of the law adopted by France. “That decision should be backed by other countries so that new crimes against humanity cannot be committed.”
Speaking at a joint news conference with Lithuania’s Foreign Minister Audronius Azubalis, Nalbandian also insisted that the French law will not hamper further efforts to normalize relations between Armenia and Turkey. “Everyone knows that if there is anybody hampering the normalization it’s Turkey itself, he said.
Azubalis stressed the need for Turkey to address the 1915 Genocide, which Lithuania’s parliament recognized in 2005. “Sooner or later, history will knock on the doors of the present and we will have to open them,” he said, according to an Armenian Foreign Ministry statement. “We must confront history, we must evaluate events of the past in an open, clear and honest manner.”
“Those who say that history should be left to historians are wrong,” Azubalis was reported to add. “Distrust and problems in bilateral relations will persist until we settle scores with the past.”