The presidents of Armenia and Turkey, Levon Ter-Petrosian and Suleyman Demirel, met on the margins of the UN General Assembly in New York October 24, reportedly at Ter-Petrosian’s initiative. The meeting follows Armenian National Assembly chairman Babken Ararktsian’s arrival on a visit to Istanbul. The Turkish press has quoted Ararktsian as predicting that "the ice will melt" between Armenia and Turkey. He pledged that Armenia would not support the secessionist Kurdish Revolutionary Workers’ Party (PKK) and as recalling that Armenia recently handed two fugitive PKK members over to Turkey.
The Armenian government’s break with the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaksutyun) has undoubtedly improved the atmosphere in its relations with Turkey. By the same token, the view has gained ground in Turkey recently that relations with Armenia must not be held hostage to "third parties," i.e. Azerbaijan. But the Karabakh conflict does remain the main stumbling block in Armenian-Turkish relations, and no progress was reported on that issue from either the New York or the Istanbul talks. The discussions in both places reportedly focused on the evacuation of Armenian-controlled Azeri territory outside Karabakh in exchange for security guarantees to the latter and on the status of the Lachin corridor.
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