Turkish FM Advocates Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu said Thursday that people should wait for a statement from Swiss authorities concerning the signing of protocols with Armenia on Saturday.“Do not look to voices coming from the [Armenian] diaspora, or from other places. Everything is running its natural course. There is no surprise development on our part concerning this issue, but this is naturally a statement that should be made by Switzerland due to its position,” Davutoğlu told a joint press conference along with his Hungarian counterpart, Peter Balazs, in Ankara. Switzerland has been acting as a mediator for the normalization of ties between Turkey and Armenia.
Switzerland is expected to make a statement clarifying the details with regard to the signing ceremony, including its venue and the participants. No statement was made by the Swiss authorities as of late Thursday when the Hürriyet Daily News & Economic Review was going to print. Turkish diplomats, however, made assurances that the signing ceremony would take place. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Russia at the ministerial level are expected to be present at the ceremony, though it has not been confirmed officially.
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan announced earlier that the protocols would be signed Saturday, although this has not been officially confirmed by Armenia.
“Let’s wait for a statement from the Swiss,” Davutoğlu said.
In response to a question about the comparisons made between Turkey’s Lausanne Treaty of 1923 and the protocols with Armenia, the minister said it would not be correct to make a comparison with the Lausanne Treaty that was signed in Switzerland, adding that the protocols with Armenia are an agreement that sets bilateral relations between the two neighboring countries.
However, Davutoğlu pointed out that the only reference that could be made to Lausanne was the fact that the agreement with Armenia would confirm Turkey’s borders as set out by the Lausanne Treaty. The protocols with Armenia are expected to be concluded in Zurich.
Questioned about Turkey’s participation in the process, Davutoğlu said, “Of course, Turkey has basic principles on the issue of participation, which is known by the parties. We believe that all of these parties will calmly reach a solution.”
Replying to another question on the football match between the Turkish and Armenian national teams in Bursa on Oct. 14, the minister said Ankara expected President Serge Sarkisian to come to Turkey to watch the national match with no preconditions.
Davutoğlu recalled Turkish President Abdullah Gül’s landmark visit to Yerevan last year to watch the match and said the president demonstrated big political courage that led to positive results.
“Now, similarly, we would like Mr. Sarkisian to come to Turkey with no preconditions, with no expectations. It is not even correct to make this an issue of discussion. Sporting matches are such where fairness, friendship and humanitarian communities come to the fore. From this perspective, we expect Mr. Sarkisian to come to Turkey and we believe that will happen,” said Davutoğlu.
Asked about Thursday’s meeting between the Azerbaijani and Armenian presidents in Moldova to discuss the Nagorno-Karabakh dispute, the minister said, “We naturally expect positive results.”
FM Meets With DTP Leader
As part of briefing political parties about the protocols to be signed with Armenia, Davutoğlu met Thursday with the leader of the pro-Kurdish Democratic Society Party, or DTP, Ahmet Türk.
Speaking to reporters following the meeting, he said it was a very useful and comprehensive meeting and the issues discussed focused on the normalization of ties between Turkey and Armenia and the relationship between Armenia and Azerbaijan.