Armenia says new Turkish foreign policy 'regrettable'

22nd June 2010, Comments 0 comments

Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian said Tuesday that he thought a perceived new direction in Turkish foreign policy was undermining any easing of tensions between the neighbours.

"This new path offers little grounds for optimism and is regrettable," he told reporters after talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin.

"Current Turkish policy is not contributing to greater openness in our relations."

European and US officials have shown growing concern in recent months over Ankara purportedly turning "eastwards" by no longer reliably backing US diplomacy and due to its worsening relations with Israel.

Armenians say up to 1.5 million of their kin were systematically killed between 1915 and 1917 as the Ottoman Empire, the predecessor of modern Turkey, was falling apart.

Turkey fiercely rejects the genocide label and the dispute has poisoned relations between the two countries for decades.

Armenia and Turkey signed a landmark deal in October to establish diplomatic ties and reopen their border.

But ratification of the deal faltered amid mutual recriminations that the other side was not committed to reconciliation and Armenia in April announced it was removing the agreement from its parliament's agenda.

Sarkisian said in Berlin that Turkish-Armenian relations "will not be able to evolve unless a great political will is there and we have not seen that will on the Turkish side."

© 2010 AFP

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