Cablegate: Goam Releases Text of Kocharian-Erdogan

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.





E.O. 12958: N/A


1. (U) Sensitive But Unclassified. Please treat


2. (SBU) While the final text of the letter from
President Kocharian to his Turkish counterpart Prime
Minister Erdogan stuck broadly to the outline that
Foreign Minister Oskanian gave us April 21 (reftel),
it differed slightly in tone. The text of the
letter and accompanying non-paper from the MFA
follow. End Summary.


3. (SBU) The unofficial Embassy translation of the
diplomatic note follows. Begin Text:

Ministry of Foreign Affairs
of the Republic of Armenia

No. 25/04746

The Foreign Ministry of the Republic of Armenia
presents its compliments to all the Embassies
accredited to the Republic of Armenia, the U.N., the
OSCE, Representatives of the European Commission and
the Council of Europe and has the honor to present
an unofficial English translation of the letter sent
by His Excellency Robert Kocharian, President of the
Republic of Armenia to His Excellency the Prime
Minister of the Republic of Turkey Recep Tayyip
Erdogan on April 25, as well as comments on and
clarifications of the letter.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of
Armenia avails itself of this opportunity to renew
to all the Embassies accredited to the Republic of
Armenia, the U.N., the OSCE, Representatives of the
European Commission and the Council of Europe the
assurances of its highest consideration.

Yerevan, April 27, 2005


4. (SBU) Begin text:

April 25

H.E. Recep Tayyip Erdogan
Prime Minister
Republic of Turkey

Dear Prime Minister,

I'm in receipt of your letter. Indeed, as two
neighbors, we both must work to find ways to live
together in harmony. That is why, from the first
day, we have extended our hand to you to establish
relations, open the border, and thus start a
dialogue between the two countries and two peoples.

There are neighboring countries, particularly on the
European continent, who have had a difficult past,
about which they differ. However, that has not
stopped them from having open borders, normal
relations, diplomatic ties, representatives in each
other's capitals, even as they continue to discuss
that which divides them.

Your suggestion to address the past cannot be
effective if it deflects from addressing the present
and the future. In order to engage in a useful
dialog, we need to create the appropriate and
conducive political environment. It is the
responsibility of governments to develop bilateral
relations and we do not have the right to delegate
that responsibility to historians. That is why we
have proposed and propose again that, without pre-
conditions, we establish normal relations between
our two countries.

In that context, an intergovernmental commission can
meet to discuss any and all outstanding issues
between our two nations, with the aim of resolving
them and coming to an understanding.

Robert Kocharian

End Text.


5. (SBU) The following is the text of the MFA non-
paper (original in English) that accompanied the
above diplomatic note. Begin Text:

-- The content of the letter President Kocharian
received from Prime Minister Erdogan is not new. The
call for historians to discuss the 'events of 1915'
is a call that has been made by every single Turkish
administration each time they are confronted with
strong signs of international interest and attention
to the Genocide and issues having to do with

-- This is the first time that this kind of proposal
has been presented in writing, from the highest
level. Therefore, President Kocharian has responded
to Prime Minister Erdogan, even though we have
serious concerns about their seriousness and

-- Our concerns are caused by several factors:

-- First, the letter appeared in the Turkish press
before it arrived in Yerevan;

-- Second, it was immediately distributed in the US
Congress with the clear implication that the process
of 'rapprochement' and 'reconciliation' are underway
and that any US action (such as a Congressional
resolution) are unnecessary;

-- Third, the Turkish penal code still penalizes
citizens for using the term 'genocide' in the
Armenian context. Indeed, two current court cases
against writer Orhan Pamuk and publisher Ragip
Zaraoklu are still pending.

-- Fourth, the Turkish Parliament held hearings in
mid-April on the Armenian issue and issued a
statement not only confirming their own revisionist
efforts, but also blatantly calling on third
countries (such as the UK) to revisit, review and
revise their own archives.

-- Nevertheless, President Kocharian's letter
reiterated the Armenian position: Armenia is ready
to discuss any issue, at the intergovernmental
level. The ideal way to do that would be to have
diplomatic relations. Even if that is not
immediately achievable, there can still be some
normalcy in relations, open borders, easy
communication and travel between our two countries
and our representatives.

-- Armenia has no preconditions to establishing
relations and opening borders. All bilateral
problems and issues, including Genocide, can be
discussed once relations are established.

-- Turkey uses three different excuses to explain
their maintaining closed borders. One is Armenia's
insistence on Genocide recognition. (Armenia's
response is that genocide recognition and
remembrance is a moral issue that cannot be dropped,
but Armenia does not make such recognition or
remembrance a precondition to relations.)

-- The second excuse is that Armenians have not
reaffirmed Turkey's territorial integrity.
(Armenia's response is that the Kars treaty which
defines the current border between Armenia and
Turkey has neither been revoked nor renounced.
Further, since independence, no Armenian official
has made any territorial claims of Turkey.)

-- The third excuse is the still unresolved Nagorno
Karabakh conflict. (Armenia's response is that this
is a problem with a third country, and is unrelated
to our bilateral relations.)

-- We fervently hope that Prime Minister Erdogan
will respond positively to President Kocharian's
proposal to normalize relations, so that we can
address the most complicated problems.

April 27, 2005
End Text.

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