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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

OSCE Frets Over Armenia Vote

YEREVAN, Armenia -- The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe voiced concern Monday at Armenia's refusal to allow Turkish observers to monitor an election next weekend.

Armenia's Foreign Ministry said it was not letting Turkish nationals join OSCE observers at the parliamentary election Saturday because of the absence of diplomatic relations between Yerevan and Ankara.

"Preventing some observers from participating contradicts the principles of transparency and objectivity," Christian Strohal, director of the OSCE's Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, said in a statement.

Ankara closed all border crossings and cut diplomatic ties with Armenia in 1993 to protest the seizure by Armenian forces of territory in Azerbaijan, Turkey's historical ally that was fighting a war with Armenia.

Relations have been further soured by Ankara's refusal to recognize as genocide the killings of 1.5 million Armenians during the last days of the Ottoman Empire.

The OSCE said Armenia had refused to issue entry visas to eight Turkish election observers who were to arrive in the country on Monday.

"This is a result of the absence of diplomatic relations," said Vladimir Karapetyan, spokesman for Armenia's Foreign Ministry.

"Taking into account Turkey's policy toward Armenia, the fact that it is keeping the border closed and is not establishing diplomatic relations, we did not consider it expedient that representatives of Turkey should carry out monitoring," he said.