Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Armenia and Turkey

Whatever the situation in Karabakh diplomacy, Turkey and Armenia may soon restore relations:
"The foreign ministers of the two neighboring states have met frequently in recent months to try to build on an unprecedented Turkish-Armenian rapprochement that began shortly after Serzh Sarkisian became Armenia's new president in April 2008. His Turkish counterpart, Abdullah Gul, underscored the seriousness of the process in September when he paid a historic visit to Yerevan, where together he and Sarkisian watched the first match ever held between the Armenian and Turkish national soccer teams...

"Both sides have since sought to keep up the momentum in bilateral contacts. 'I won't be surprised if a resolution happens this year,' Turkey's Foreign Minister Ali Babacan told CNN-Turk television ahead of the January 29 meeting in Davos, Switzerland, between Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and President Sarkisian. The latter described the talks held on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum as 'very useful' (RFE/RL Armenia Report, January 30).
The Armenian leader and his foreign minister, Eduard Nalbandian, held follow-up talks with Babacan at the 45th Munich Security Conference just over a week later. 'I think that we are moving down the right path,' Sarkisian said during a panel discussion there with several other international dignitaries, including Babacan. 'If things continue like this, I think that we will be able to talk about a different kind of [Turkish-Armenian] relations in the second half of this year' (Armenian Public Television, February 8). Nalbandian sounded equally optimistic. 'We are moving forward and drawing closer to the normalization of relations,' he told journalists in Munich (Armenian Second TV Channel, February 7)...

"A settlement of the (Karabakh) conflict acceptable to Azerbaijan has long been the main Turkish precondition for improving relations with Armenia. According to some sources privy to Turkish-Armenian dealings, Ankara is now ready to drop that precondition if Yerevan agrees to joint academic research of the 1915-1918 mass killing and deportation of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire. In a 2005 letter to Armenian President Robert Kocharyan, Erdogan suggested that such a study be conducted by a commission of Turkish and Armenian historians. Kocharyan rejected the idea as a Turkish ploy designed to scuttle broader international recognition of what many historians consider the first genocide of the 20th century; but his successor, Sarkisian, has indicated that he is not against the idea in principle, prompting concern from nationalist elements in his coalition government."

This piece doesn't really address the Armenian side of the equation. Right now, Armenia is heavily dependent on Russia and Iran, and the former got a lot scarier about this summer's conflict over South Ossetia.

Labels: ,


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home