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Ömer Engin LÜTEM, Retired Ambassador
29 April 2008 - ERAREN
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!à‡`="justify">While there emerged the possibility of commencement of a negotiation process between Turkey and Armenia, in Yerevan, in the demonstrations organized for commemorating the “genocide” on April 24, Turkish flags were burned and stepped on. These incidents attracted strong reaction of the Turkish public opinion.

]ng the moral significance attached to the Turkish flag in Turkey.

Besides, it was also seen that there were many negative expressions in the message that Armenian President Serzh Sarkisyan had issued on the same day.

Sarkisyan argued that international recognition and condemnation of Armenian “genocide” has been an indispensable part of Armenian foreign policy. When Kocharian became president in 1998 he integrated this principle to Armenian foreign policy and thereafter Armenian diplomacy has paid considerable attention and exerted significant efforts for the recognition of genocide allegations by other states. Still, there are nineteen parliaments that have recognized these allegations. Since twelve of them made this recognition after 1998 Armenian diplomacy contributed much to the international acceptance of genocide allegations, thanks to the concerns of EU countries for the Turkish accession process.

Another important expression that attracted attention in Sarkisyan’s message is that Armenian efforts would be duplicated for the realization of “historical justice”. What is meant by “historical justice” is not clear. In Armenia as well as in the Armenian Diaspora, the perception that the Armenians were subjected to injustice during Ottoman administration has prevailed. With this expression, it was intended to stipulate that the territories demanded from Turkey have not been recovered and the compensation for relocation has not been received yet.

Armenian President also declared that the Armenian side is “ready to normalize its relations with Turkey without any precondition, while they are holding the memory of the innocent victims alive”. However, it is paradoxical for Armenian authorities to demand normalizing relations with Turkey, while they have been increasing their efforts for international recognition of genocide allegations and they have tacitly been voicing territorial demands and compensation.

Finally, it is evident that Sarkisyan has adopted the formula of “establishing diplomatic relations without any precondition”, which had also been the case in Kocharian period. Indeed Turkey has presented several preconditions for normalization of the relations. First of all, Turkey demanded mutual recognition of territorial integrity between two countries. Ending the efforts for the international recognition of genocide allegations and resolution of Karabagh conflict are other conditions, although they have secondary precedence. Armenia, on the other hand, aims to open the land border and to establish diplomatic relations with Turkey without taking the existence of these problems into consideration.

According to the press, Prime Minister Erdo?an and Foreign Minister Ali Babacan sent a message to Armenian Prime Minister and Foreign Minister and congratulating them for their new tenure. They also called for dialogue for the normalization of bilateral relations. These messages have been replied positively; however normalization of bilateral relations without any precondition has been repeated as well.

In sum, it is understood that a negotiation process may be initiated between two countries; however, since there would be no major change in the attitudes of the two sides, it is difficult to guess what kind of results might emerge out of these negotiations.

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