ANKARA 2008 (AFP) - Turkey's President Abdullah Gul returned from Armenia with hopes of normalising troubled ties as Turkish newspapers Sunday warned against squandering the opportunity presented by his historic visit. Gul became the first Turkish leader to visit Armenia when he flew to Yerevan Saturday for a football match and talks with his Armenian counterpart Serzh Sarkisian from which both leaders emerged with pledges to overcome a history of enmity. Speaking to reporters on his return flight, Gul sounded upbeat about a possible breakthrough if the two estranged neighbours managed to build up on his trip. "I believe my visit has demolished a psychological barrier in the Caucasus," Gul was quoted by the Anatolia news agency as saying. "If this climate continues, everything will move forward and normalise." Turkey and Armenia have no diplomatic ties and their border has been closed for more than a decade. Their relationship has been taken hostage by deep differences over the World War I massacres of Armenians under the Ottoman Empire, the predecessor of Turkey. Armenians say Ottoman Turks systematically killed up to 1.5 million of their people between 1915 and 1917 as their empire fell apart, a claim supported by several other countries. Turkey rejects the genocide label and argues that 300,000-500,000 Armenians and at least as many Turks died in civil strife when Armenians took up arms for independence in eastern Anatolia and sided with invading Russian troops. But Gul said neither the dispute nor the closed border figured in his meeting with Sarkisian, in a sign that the two leaders were careful to avoid contentious issues. He said his Armenian host had made no reference to "the so-called genocide claims". Analysts underlined that the visit would not be enough to solve the deep-rooted problems between the two nations, but would serve to accelerate efforts for reconciliation. Gul's visit is a "gesture that will leave its mark on people from both sides. It will strengthen the desire to overcome problems and double efforts on both sides for a creative solution," foreign policy commentator Ferai Tinc wrote in the mass-circulation Hurriyet newspaper There were also warnings of the tough task awaiting the two countries in dealing with their bloody past. "It is obvious that history cannot be forgotten. But what is important is not to be taken hostage by history or the pain of the past," commentator Hasan Cemal wrote in Milliyet. Political analyst Cengiz Candar said that the visit had raised hopes on both sides of the border for tangible steps at normalising ties and warned that a failure to live up to them could worsen the mood. "There will be great disappointment if the rapprochement triggered by football is not followed by the establishment of diplomatic ties and the opening of the border," he said. "It would be much more difficult to cross the chasm created by that than the current difficulties," he added. Even though Turkey was one of the first countries to recognise Armenia when it gained independence in 1991, Ankara has refused to establish diplomatic ties on account of Yerevan's campaign to have the 1915-1917 massacres recognised as genocide. In 1993, Turkey shut its border with Armenia in a show of solidarity with its close ally Azerbaijan over Nagorny-Karabakh, an Armenian-majority enclave in Azerbaijan.