Justice and Development Party (AKP) Istanbul MP and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's Foreign Relations Adviser Mr. Egemen Bagis met with Canadian Foreign and Trade Minister Peter MacKay. During the meeting, Mr. Bagis expressed Turkey's disappointment in regard to Canadian Premier Minister's attempt to take a side on the Armenian issue.
Visiting Canada to participate in the Bilderberg Conference, Mr. Bagis also conveyed Turkish Foreign Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Abdullah Gul's messages to Mr. Mackay.
Discussing the Canada-Turkey relations, Mr Bagis and Mr. Mackay emphasized the historic friendship and alliance between the two countries, and that the trade volume, which is currently around 1 billion USD, ought to increase.
Reportedly, the collaboration of the military of NATO allies Canada and Turkey in Afganistan was noted, and the statement of Canadian Premier Minister Stephan Harper regarding the alleged Armenian genocide was also on the agenda during the meeting.
Mr. Bagis, reminding that the Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in a letter sent a week before the release of the above-mentioned statement, asked his Canadian counterpart not to get involved in arguments over the Armenian issue. Mr. Bagis stated: "At a moment when our Prime Minister was unfolding new initiatives and when he was inviting parties involved to face their history, the fact that the Canadian Prime Minister brought up the alleged genocide claims, his accusations against Turkey, and his speaking as if he himself had witnessed the incidents, have caused regret in Turkey."
Mr. Bagis added: "Turkey and Canada cooperate on very important issues. But this statement has cast a shadow over our bilateral relations. Canada should take the necessary steps in order to remove that shadow."
He further stressed that while the issue should be resolved by Turkey and Armenia, Canadian Prime Minister's attempt to take a side on the Armenian issue and making a statement wouldn't positively contribute to the relations between Turkey and Armenia.
Reportedly, Canadian Foreign Minister MacKay stated that he praised Prime Minister Erdogan's initiative, and said: "I appreciate Prime Minister Erdogan's courageous invitation."
Furthermore, Mr. Mackay said that during his communications he would encourage the Armenian authorities to respond positively to Prime Minister Erdogan's suggestion, adding that the Canadian officials are aware of Turkey's sensitivity on the issue. Expressing his desire to visit Turkey at the earliest occasion, Mr. Mackay asked Egemen Bagis to convey his best wishes to Foreign Minister Gul.Anatolian News Agency, 09-06-2006