TODAY.AZ / Politics

Turkey's majority in poll welcomes relations with Armenia, yet conditionally

28 November 2006 [13:23] - TODAY.AZ
Only 2 percent named withdrawal of Armenia from Nagorno Karabakh as a condition for relations.

An overwhelming majority of Turks would welcome establishing relations with neighboring Armenia, as long as Armenia fulfills certain conditions, a poll made public on Monday showed.

The poll, carried out by the Erzurum based Association for the Fight against Groundless Allegations of Genocide, revealed that 82 percent of 8,714 people polled “are positive towards establishing relations with Armenia,” as long as certain expectations -- such as abandoning their allegations of genocide and apologizing to Turkey because of those allegations -- are met.

"Armenians should apologize to the Turkish nation because of massacres that they committed during World War I, they should destroy a monument in Armenia dedicated to the alleged genocide, they should get rid of expressions in their constitution which are against Turks and the territorial integrity of Turkey, they should break off their relations with the Armenian diaspora, they should reject the so-called genocide and they should withdraw from Nagorno Karabakh," are the conditions listed by 4,618 people polled which makes 53 percent of the total for establishing relations with Armenia.

The survey was conducted over three months with 16 percent of those polled saying that Armenia breaking off its relations with the Armenian diaspora in Europe and the United States and their rejection of the so-called genocide would be sufficient enough for establishing relations.

Only 6 percent said that "Armenians should apologize to the Turkish nation for massacres they committed during World War I," for having a relationship.

While 5 percent said the alleged genocide monument in Armenia should be destroyed and that expressions in the Armenian constitution against Turks and the territorial integrity of Turkey should be removed, only 2 percent put the withdrawal of Armenia from Nagorno Karabakh as a condition for relations.

Meanwhile, 18 percent said they didn't wish Turkey to have relations with Armenia under any conditions.

The border gate between Turkey and Armenia has been closed for more than a decade. Turkey shut the gate and severed diplomatic relations with Armenia after Armenian troops occupied the Azeri territory of Nagorno Karabakh. Ankara now says normalization of ties depends on the Armenian withdrawal from the occupied area, as well as on progress in the resolution of a series of disputes -- which include the support by the Armenian diaspora of efforts to get international recognition of the alleged genocide, claims strongly refuted by Ankara.

Savas Egilmez, head of the association which conducted the survey, interpreted the results of the poll as proof of the "forgiving" nature of Turks. "The poll once again revealed our philosophy that 'forgiving is a noble act,' a philosophy which we have embraced throughout history," he was quoted as saying by the Anatolia news agency. Turkish Daily News


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