Turkey, Armenia Move Toward Diplomatic Ties

Talks won't touch WWI-era massacre at root of ill feelings, however
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Aug 31, 2009 9:13 PM CDT
Turkish President Abdullah Gul, left, and Armenian President Serge Sarkisian meet in Yerevan, Armenia, Sept. 6, 2008.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – Armenia and Turkey, bitter foes for a century, took a step toward reconciliation today by announcing they would launch final talks aimed at establishing diplomatic ties. But they won't discuss the deepest source of their enmity: the World War I-era massacres of Armenians under Ottoman rule. The sides say they expect talks to take six weeks and to end with an agreement setting up and developing ties.

The talks still face pitfalls, and will follow months of inactivity after signs of promise earlier in the year when President Obama appealed for reconciliation during a visit to Turkey. The parliaments of the two countries must ratify a deal on diplomatic normalization, and in Turkey, nationalist sentiment and suspicion about Armenian intentions is particularly high.