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Ömer Engin LÜTEM, Retired Ambassador
23 June 2008 - ERAREN
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!àY` €="justify">On 18 June 2008, during the meeting regarding the Caucasus held in the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the House of Representatives,  the Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs Daniel Fried made a long speech emphasizing Georgia, Azerbaijan and Armenia. No doubt, due to his high position in the American Foreign Affairs, his words can be regarded as the official attitude of the US.

The Turkish media welcomed the speaking of Fried concerning the relations between Turkey and Armenia with a great interest. His statement on the recognition of Turkish border by Armenia was gladly saluted. It ought to be stated that it is not new and State Department officials, maybe not frequently, have made this statement before. On the other hand, it is not possible not to recognize a border drawn by an international agreement, and, thus, Turkey’s attitude, in that respect, ought to be considered normal. As a result, because of her reluctance on recognizing the border, Turkey has not established diplomatic relations with Armenia.
Daniel Fried, along with the subject on the relations between Turkey and Armenia, pointed out some other matters. First of those was about the neccessity of the openning of the border. As known, Turkey has stated that the openning of the border is related to the solution of the Karabagh issue, or, at least, to the serious attempts to solve it. Armenia, on the other hand, wants Turkey to open the border without any precondition.  Since Fried did not mention any condition on this matter, he actually agrees with the Armenian view.

“Turkey should face the dark part of her history”. These words of Daniel Fried are actually identical with the Armenian views; because, this statement explicitly means that Turkey should recognize the Armenian genocide claims. Moreover, it can be presumed that Fried actually means that if Turkey faces her history, Armenia should recognize the existing border between the two countries.

As known, the genocide issue is a very sensitive subject for Turkey and the Turks. Apart from a very little group, nobody accepts these allegations in Turkey. Also, Turkey is by all means against any attempts using these claims for some political matters such as Turkey’s EU accession and Turco-Armenian relations. One day before Fried’s statement the President of Turkey, Abdullah Gül, in a speech made in the XIth International Congress of Social and Economic History of Turkey confirmed the attitude of Turkey towards the issue by underlining the fact that Turkey is in peace with her history, and historical events should be left to historians for evaluation.

Under the light of the matters mentioned above, when we study again Fried’s statement, we observed that he unsuccessfully tied to set up a balance between Turkey and Armenian interest but he is rather close to the Armenian views.

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