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John Evans: Few prospects for Armenian-Turkish normalization

There are very few prospects for an improvement in Armenian-Turkish relations at the moment, former US Ambassador to Armenia John Evans said in an Internet press conference with Armenian media representatives.  

Artak Barseghyan
Public Radio of Armenia

Public Radio of Armenia: Mr. Evans, the situation in the Middle East and the world as a whole has sharply escalated with the advent of ISIS. In your opinion, to what extent this group may become dominant in the Islamic world as compared to the Taliban and al-Qaeda?

John Evans:  Islam is one of the world’s great religions, but I think the extremism, fundamentalism and intolerance displayed by these groups have greatly tarnished the reputation of Islam with peoples of other faiths. I cannot believe that the majority of Muslims want to see ISIS become the face of their religion.

Public Radio of Armenia: How do you see the future of the Armenian-Turkish relations under the incumbent Turkish leadership?

John Evans: At the moment I see very few prospects for an improvement in Armenian-Turkish relations. The Protocols, at this point, have clearly failed. I personally think they were flawed and that their architects attempted to achieve too much at one time. Rather than attempt to solve all problems at once, I would suggest one simple step: enter into full diplomatic relations. This would provide for reliable communication and would not compromise the legal position of either side. I have made this suggestion in person to the foreign ministers of both countries.

Public Radio of Armenia: Recently, an escalation can be observed in the zone of the Karabakh conflict. How likely is the resumption of a large-scale war in the region?

John Evans: I hope that both sides to the conflict, and particularly Baku, will exercise restraint. There is always the chance that an incident might escalate into a serious conflict and lead to a resumption of full-scale war, which, under current conditions, could be vastly more destructive than the war of the early 1990s. No one needs that, least of all the people of Karabakh. All the more reason the Minsk Group negotiations are so important and should be taken seriously.

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