Russia, Moscow / Тrend corr R. Agayev / In a statement made during a press conference marking the 84th Anniversary of the Turkish Republic, Kurtulush Tashkent, the Turkish Ambassador to Russia stated: "When Armenia announced its independence in 1991, Turkey was one of the first countries to recognize it. However, Armenia's Declaration of Independence and Constitution made territorial claims over certain eastern regions of Turkey. Shortly thereafter, the events in Nagorno-Karabakh commenced and as a result, Armenia now occupies 20% of Azerbaijani lands, making diplomatic relations impossible to establish. I hope there will be favourable conditions to re-establish political relations between Turkey and Armenia and to develop them. Certainly, in order to resume normal good neighbourly relations, Armenia should remove from its Constitution and Declaration of Independence the groundless claiming of territories in its neighbouring countries."
The Ambassador noted that currently between 50,000 and 60,000 Armenian citizens work in Turkey illegally, but Turkey turns a blind eye to that. Over 100 flights from Armenia are made via Turkish air corridors every month, allowing Armenia greater access to Europe and other countries.
Regarding the assassination of Grant Dink and the exaggeration of the alleged Armenian genocide of 1915, Tashkent said that Grant Dink's death shocked Turkey and caused regret in the nation. The assassin is currently on trial and awaiting sentencing. "As for the events of 1915 and World War I, they are open for debate in any forum and are openly discussed at Turkish Universities and in the media. In 2005, Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan offered Armenian President Kocharian an opportunity to jointly study the archives of Turkey, Armenia and other countries and then to share the results with the world's community, for the purpose of revealing the truth and removing this issue as an obstacle between the two countries' bilateral relations. But President Kocharyan refused," he said.
Addressing Turkey's position on unresolved conflicts in Georgia and Azerbaijan, Tashkent stressed that Turkey believes the issue should be resolved by observing territorial integrity and democratic principles. "Territorial integrity and the sacredness of frontiers are imperative stability principles both in our region and the entire world," the Ambassador said.