Undersecretary of the Foreign Ministry Ertuğrul Apakan and his deputy Ünal Çeviköz headed the Turkish delegation during the first round, which took place in May, and the second round in July, the TDN has learned. Both rounds were carried out in Bern, Switzerland, which is considered an impartial country that has hosted similar secretive talks on issues like Cyprus and Iran. […]Echoing editorial in Aravot daily today, I would say that shift in Turkey related policy was the most remarkable achievement of Armenia’s incumbent president Serj Sargsyan’s first 100 days in the office. Other than that (plus some positive but so far mainly talk and occasional firing level “corruption fight” agenda), these were disappointing 100 days of missed opportunities.
The timeline of the secretive negotiations, coinciding with some recent positive statements by Sargsyan, stands out, however, as a strong sign for improving the conditions in the run up to substantial solutions. The Armenian president has proposed a fresh start with Turkey with the goal of normalizing relations and opening the border between the two countries, which has been closed for almost 15 years. In his article published July 6 in The Wall Street Journal's online edition, Sargsyan said he expected to “announce a new symbolic start in the two countries' relations” with his Turkish counterpart Abdullah Gül whom he invited to Armenia to watch a football game between the countries' national teams this September.
Diplomatic sources said setting up different committees to discuss different aspects of bilateral ties is a mutually considered option for a fresh start. “There are other vital questions to be discussed primarily, before the events of 1915,” noted the same sources. A previous offer of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to establish a committee of historians to study events of 1915 was rejected by former Armenian President Robert Kocharyan. This time a more comprehensive approach is reportedly being considered.
He had chance (still has, I suppose) to distance himself – as much as possible – from a previous administration. Yes, he is part of it, but still… he is kind of trying but in a very subtle manner, too subtle, I would say. We still have political prisoners, there is no independent investigation into 1 March events, no high level officials brought to the justice… All in all, no real attempt at healing 1 March wounds…
For now, only immediate release of all political prisoners will create an essential basis for a dialogue with the opposition to move Armenia forward. (his election campaign motto) Otherwise, the weather forecast for autumn and winter ahead promises to be pretty severe, indeed.