YEREVAN (ARF-D Press Office, March 14, 2011) – On March 10, Mr Vahan Hovhannesyan, ARF-Dashnaktsutyun Bureau member and leader of the ARF-D parliamentary faction, received an invitation to participate in the Wilton Park Conference on “Turkey’s policies for engagement in the contemporary world.” The March 24-27 conference, Wilton Park’s third in Turkey, will take place in Istanbul, in cooperation with the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs. It is scheduled to be opened by Foreign Minister Ahmed Davutoğlu.
In his response on March 11, Vahan Hovhannesyan writes: “Regretfully, I have to decline this invitation because we do not attend any meetings organized by or in cooperation with the government of Turkey or attended by Turkish officials, because Turkey denies the fact of the Armenian Genocide and refuses to accept responsibility for it. I am certain Turkey’s Foreign Minister would appreciate this principled position.”1
The ARF-D Bureau member goes on to say: “We are in favor of dialogue and for Armenian-Turkish rapprochement. However, we have witnessed how Turkey has abused the sincere goodwill gesture by Armenia; it refuses to lift the unilateral and illegal blockade of Armenia, and continues its biased attitude towards the Mountainous Karabakh issue. Hence, we do not wish to provide Turkey with any further levers for its machinations and deceitful conduct.”
Hovhannesyan concludes his letter by once again thanking the Wilton Park for the invitation and expressing his anticipation “to participate in other Wilton Park conferences or initiatives with genuine civil society participants.”
On this occasion, responding to an ARF-D Press Office reporter’s question, Vahan Hovhannesyan said: “This invitation is part of Turkey’s recently publicized policy, which aims on the one hand to show to the West that it is supposedly in a dialogue with Armenia and Armenians, and on the other hand to try and divide the Armenian side, by attempting to have bogus dialogue with separate circles of society in Armenia and in the Diaspora. The Dashnaktsutyun is well aware of this Turkish conduct and refuses to succumb to its provocations, especially when Turkey continues its hostile policy towards Armenia and prosecutes those who are genuinely in favour of Armenian-Turkish rapprochement. We all need to be vigilant and to ensure Turkey’s policy fails through a united stance.”
1 Recently, Davutoglu is refusing to attaned any meetings attended by Israeli officials because of Israel’s refusal to apologize for the attack on a Turkish ship last May 31.