Sukru Elekdag: Turkey should stop flights to Yerevan, ban indirect trade and deport Armenians from the country

Sukru Elekdag: Turkey should stop flights to Yerevan, ban indirect trade and deport Armenians from the country
# 13 February 2007 14:20 (UTC +04:00)
He said that Bush administration is able to impede the resolution on recognition of alleged Armenian genocide.
“If President Bush writes to the chairman of the House of Representatives that “Turkey is our strategic ally. America’s national interest makes it necessary to cooperate with our ally. If the House of Representatives approves the resolution on the “genocide�, it will harm our relations with Turkey. It will damage America’s image. In this case, Turkey will not cooperate with us, and Ankara will severely react to this resolution. Turkish people approach the problem very sensitively. Therefore we should not approve the resolution taking into account the US’s national interests,� I think Democrat Party congressmen will take it into consideration. Bush should only express his position strongly and stress Turkey’s importance. Otherwise nothing will come out of it,� he said.
Mr. Elekdag said that Turkey is not pessimistic about democrats’ gaining majority in the Congress.
“Turkish parliamentarians should visit the US and establish relations with Democrat Party MPs. We have much to tell democrat congressmen. They also stood against Bush’s starting war in Iraq. The US cannot find a way out of the impasse caused by this war. Our parliament was also against this war, and we, members of Turkish National Grand Assembly, were more courageous than the US democrats and expressed stricter reaction against war plans in Iraq. We will remind it to them in the US,� he said.
Mr. Elekdag said not all democrat congressmen are against Turkey.
“Most of them support us. We will meet with them and explain how the resolution on the alleged Armenian genocide will harm the relations with Turkey,� he said.
The former diplomat noted that the Turkish government and Foreign Ministry have a mistake on one point.
“They used to say Armenian Diaspora in the US is strong and it supports all bills. But this is not so. After Armenia became independent, Yerevan governs the country’s foreign policy, and Armenian ambassador to the US directs everything. Therefore we should review our policy on Armenia. We have changed our policy towards Armenia at the request of the US and European Union. After Armenians occupied Azerbaijan’s lands, Turkey imposed an embargo on Armenia. This event terribly oppressed Armenia, and Turkey mitigated embargo because of the US and EU pressures. What is the result? Armenia tries to damage Turkey’s image by all means but notwithstanding this, six Armenian planes land in Istanbul airport every week. Armenians, who come to Istanbul, earn their living by “case trade�- they need it very much. Turkey’s products are transported to Armenia via Georgia and Iran. Nearly 70, 000 Armenians live illegally in Turkey. Turkey should exert pressures on Armenia; firstly, it should stop these flights, ban indirect trade and deport 70,000 Armenians from the country. Armenia should bear in mind that they will get response policy in any case of its attempt,� Shukru Elekdag said.
He also said it is not possible to succeed in the struggle against the false Armenian genocide claims by cooperating with the US government only.
“It is necessary to meet with the parliamentarians and senators individually in the congress. I met with 145 parliamentarians within three months in 1984. I was called a “man casting anchor in the Congress�. Greek lobby tried to adopt “Persona non grata� decision against me. This document was signed by 90 parliamentarians, but they could not achieve to banish me from US. I trust in our counterparts in US, but we have missed our train a little bit. When I was ambassador, 69 scientists signed adopted a declaration denouncing the false genocide claims. Then Armenians threatened those people warning them against any declaration. As far as you know, Armenians committed terrors and murdered our diplomats. And now they commit academic terror. Armenians murder those who refuse to write what they demand concerning this issue� he underlined.
Shukru Elekdag highly appreciated the visit of the chief of Turkish Armed Forces General Staff to the US.
“I was the ambassador of Turkey to the US for ten years. But it is first time that I come across such a situation. The chief committee for foreign relations of House of Representatives Tom Lantos said that he wants to meet with Yashar Boyukanit when Turkish official was visiting the US. American politicians never meet with military men and commander-in-chiefs of foreign countries. But Tom Lantos wanted to meet. I am sure that Yashar Boyukanit will demonstrate himself as an experienced diplomat and explain the problems in a right way,� he concluded./APA/