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World Cup to ease a century of hostility

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World Cup to ease a century of hostility


A World Cup qualifier between Turkey and Armenia is due to play a role in ending more than a century of hostility between the neighbours.

The presidents of both countries are due to attend in a public display of improved relations, following an agreement to reopen their borders and restore diplomatic ties. Turkey closed its border with Armenia in 1993 in support of Azerbaijan after Yerevan backed a seperatist movement by the Armenian community in Azerbaijan’s Nagorno-Karabakh region. The game itself is looking more like a backdrop to the meeting of the two heads of state, as both sides are unable to qualify for the World Cup in South Africa in 2010. Many in Armenia believe that ties with Turkey can only be restored when the Turks recognise that the killing of close to 1.5 million Armenians during the last days of the Ottoman Empire amounted to genocide. Turkey says the killings were part of a wider conflict.

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