Washington briefing: Crisis Group issues report on Armenia-Turkey issues

by Emil Sanamyan

Published: Friday April 17, 2009

Washington - Armenia, the United States, and European and other countries should avoid "statements or international actions relating to [Armenian] genocide recognition that could inflame Turkish public opinion," the Brussels-based International Crisis Group (ICG) recommended this week.

The 44-page report, "Armenia and Turkey: Opening Minds, Opening Borders," released on April 14, also recommended that Turkey de-link normalization of relations with Armenia from its preconditions related to the Karabakh conflict.

Last week, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan indicated that Turkey still insists on such preconditions, Agence France Presse reported, referring to the Anatolia news agency.

For weeks before President Barack Obama's trip to Turkey on April 5-7, Turkish officials have sought to portray Armenia-Turkey talks as nearing a breakthrough that could be upset should Mr. Obama deliver on his pre-election pledge to recognize the Armenian Genocide.

After Mr. Obama avoided the use of the genocide term while discussing Armenian issues in Turkey, Turkish leaders began to suggest that a breakthrough with Armenia was not that close after all.

A source familiar with the ICG report's preparation told the Armenian Reporter that ICG also waited to hear the words used by Mr. Obama on the subject of the Armenian Genocide. According to the source, the group delayed the release of the report to make sure it was aligned to the wording used by Mr. Obama.

ICG's proposals tend to be in line with policies of the United States and European Union.

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A huge plume of smoke rises over Deir Zor after a bridge is blown up on Sept. 15. Stahlgewitter Syrien / YouTube video grab

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