Strong differences between the neighboring countries stem from the mass killing of Armenians by Ottoman Turkish forces during and after World War I.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spent several hours yesterday working to resolve a last-minute dispute over statements to be made at the signing ceremony in the Swiss city of Zurich. In the end, neither Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian nor his Turkish counterpart, Ahmet Davutoglu, spoke after signing the protocols to restore diplomatic ties and to reopen their sealed border.
OSCE chairman Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou said in a statement today that he commended the effort and political will leaders of the two countries had invested to overcome differences and work towards a more secure and stable region.
Before the protocols can take effect, they must be ratified by the parliaments of both countries.
Analysts say strong domestic opposition to the accord in both Armenia and Turkey will likely slow the ratification process.
Armenians want the massacres between 1915 and 1923 be recognized as genocide. Turkey strongly rejects the genocide claim, which many countries have recognized. Turkey says the Armenian death toll is inflated and that many Turks also were killed during the collapse of the Ottoman Empire.
The agreement calls for a joint commission of independent historians to examine the genocide question. Some experts say the commission would be a concession to Turkey as it would revisit an issue Armenia says has already been confirmed.
An ongoing territorial dispute between Armenia and Turkey's ally, Azerbaijan, also could complicate efforts to normalize Armenian-Turkish relations.
Source : AFP