* Galust Sahakyan
No matter how much the Turks try to tie the Armenian-Turkish relations to the Karabakh issue, Armenia will not get into bargaining, because all this is about diplomatic relations, head of the Republican faction Galust Sahakyan told a press conference today.
“All reasonable deadlines for ratification of the Armenian-Turkish protocols have passed,” Galust Sahakyan added, recalling the Armenian President's words that in case of necessity Armenia will use all the tools of international law. According to the Republican MP, this will not be restricted to the recall of the signature from the protocols.
* Ahmet Davutoglu
"Why would not we be able to normalize relations with Armenia like we did with Serbia?" Turkey's Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu says.
Within lpast months Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu participated in intensive diplomatic talks between Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and other states of the region, that aimed at ending the potential conflict between the neighboring countries. Earlier, the talks under Turkey's mediation led to mutual ambassadors' appointment by Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Davutoglu said, "The conflict between Turks and Serbs dates back to 1300s. Our problems with Armenians are just a century old. We do not have experience of living together with Serbs, while we lived with Armenians. Therefore, we attach importance to the relations with Armenia. We changed the nature of our relations with Serbians within a year.”
“Armenians do not discuss Nagorno-Karabakh conflict with us. But we tell them – if we could resolve the issue with Serbs through the dialogue, we can do the same with you,” Turkish FM voiced. “We tell them that through our big efforts Bosnia and Herzegovina as well as Serbia overcame their problems. Let's do the same for you and Azerbaijan,” Davutoglu stated, Hurriyet Daily News reports.
* Yane Yanev
Bulgaria's conservative Order, Law, and Justice (RZS) party on Thursday submitted to Parliament an official declaration asking that Bulgaria condemns the Armenian Genocide committed by Turkey.
The declaration is in connection with the Thursday visit of Turkish Foreign Minister, Ahmet Davutoglu, to Bulgaria and statements of Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan that the country is prepared to deport 100,000 Armenians from Turkey.
RZS is also requesting an official answer from Prime Minister, Boyko Borisov, about the policy of his cabinet regarding the Armenian Genocide during World War I.
The party leader, Yane Yanev, says they aim at reaching a consensus about Bulgaria's assessment of the tragic events and giving a clear statement in defense of historical truth as the US and Sweden have done, Sofia News Agency reports.
The US Congressional Foreign Affairs Committee and the Swedish Parliament recently approved resolutions recognizing the Genocide, stirring outrage in Turkey.
* Vahan Hovannisian
Vahan Hovannisian, who leads the opposition party's faction in Armenia's parliament, joined official Yerevan in condemning Erdogan's threats to deport them en masse in response to fresh foreign resolutions recognizing the 1915 Armenian massacres in Turkey as genocide. “Erdogan unmasked himself and the world saw what kind of a country it is dealing with,” he said.
“As regards our fellow Armenians who have found themselves in Turkey for one or another economic reason, I am advising them to immediately leave that country because it's obvious with whom we are dealing,” he told a news conference. “A threat voiced from such a high level can be deemed by some elements a signal for anti-Armenian actions.”
Hovannisian also disapproved of statements by senior Armenian officials comparing the threats with Turkish rhetoric before and during the 1915 mass killings and deportations of some 1.5 million Armenian subjects of the Ottoman Empire.
“While Turkey's prime minister is threatening to deport Armenians residing [in Turkey] illegally now, Armenians themselves were the masters of the lands they populated in the early 20th century,” he said, referring to areas in what is now eastern Turkey. “It is the Turks that had migrated there illegally and lived there as nomads.”
Turkish leaders have at various times spoken of between 30,000 and 100,000 citizens of Armenia allegedly residing in their country in an effort to embarrass Yerevan in the international arena and showcase Ankara's declared good will towards Armenians.
A senior Armenian government official accused the Turks late last year of grossly inflating their number, saying that it does not exceed 5,200. Alin Ozinian, an Istanbul-born Armenian researcher who studied the issue last year, came up with a similar estimate.
The 130-page research, commissioned by the Yerevan-based Eurasia Partnership Foundation, is based on Ozinian's interviews with 150 Armenians conducted in the course of last year. It essentially bears out the widely held belief that the vast majority of the Armenian immigrants are women from areas outside Yerevan who are aged between 40 and 60 and work in Istanbul without Turkish residency and employment permits.