ANKARA - TDN with wire dispatches
Armenian President Serzh Sarksyan has invited his Turkish counterpart to visit Yerevan for a football match in September, marking a shift in relations between the two states which have no diplomatic ties. Armenia and Turkey are slated to play each other in the Armenian capital Yerevan Sept. 6 in a qualifying match for the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa.
"Sarksyan has sent a formal invitation to the president of Turkey, Abdullah Gül," said Samvel Farmanyan, the Armenian president's spokesman.
Turkey broke diplomatic relations with Armenia in protest to Yerevan's occupation of the Nagorno-Karabakh region over which Armenia fought Turkey's ally Azerbaijan in a war in the 1990s. Turkey was among the first countries to recognize Armenia's independence after the 1991 fall of the Soviet Union.
Armenia also accuses Turkey of genocide during violence at the end of World War I. Turkey denies the accusations and says that both Christian Armenians and Muslim Turks died in the fighting.
Gül holds talks with Russia's Medvedev
On the sidelines of a ceremony on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of Astana being declared the capital of Kazakhstan, Gül held a meeting with the Armenian and Azerbaijani presidents over the weekend. Speaking to reporters before his return to Turkey yesterday, Gül said he would evaluate the offer extended by Armenia's Sarksyan to watch the match in Yerevan.
In Kazakhstan, Gül also held talks with the new Russian president, marking the first high-level dialogue since the election of Dmitry Medvedev in March.
The two leaders discussed Turkish-Russian relations, trade and huge infrastructure projects, said a written statement released by the Russian Embassy in Ankara. Gül said representatives of the Turkish construction sector were seriously interested in promising infrastructure projects in Russia and stressed that the Turkish side was ready to contribute to the participation of Turkish companies in projects for the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games, read the statement.
The two leaders also discussed the Caucasus and cooperation in the Black Sea and vowed to increase visits, it added.