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INTERVIEW WITH OSKANIAN (III)

Ömer Engin LÜTEM, Retired Ambassador
14 December 2006 - ?KSAREN
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!áH€ ="justify">(The continuation of our article on the interview by New Anatolian newspaper columnist Nursun Erel with Armenian Foreign Minister Oskanian)

Oskanian touched upon the Treaty of Kars during his interview with Nursun Erel of the New Anatolian Newspaper. This treaty signed on 13 October 1921 between Turkey, Armenia, Azerbajcan, Georgia and the Soviet Union, inter alia, established Turkey’s Eastern border. As it is still in force, it is not legally possible for Armenia to make territorial claims from Turkey.

For the matter at hand to be comprehended in full a few points shall be called attention to. At the beginning of 1990 Turkey proposed to Armenia that a document recognizing each others territorial integrity be signed for the establishment of diplomatic relations. However, despite the Treaty of Kars being in force, this proposal was not accepted on the part of Armenia which retained its stance despite Turkey’s many initiatives in the following years. Turkey, on the other hand, taking the genocide allegations and the occupation of Karabagh, Azerbaijan and other territories into consideration, did not establish diplomatic relations with Armenia. In this context it should also be noted that at the Armenian National Assembly and in the Armenian press demands are made from time to time for the Treaty of Kars to be renounced. 

During his recent  interview the Armenian Foreign Minister expressed the following: “The Treaty of Kars is in force as far as I'm concerned. Because Armenia is a successor in recognizing the Soviet treaties. And as long as any treaty hasn't been renounced officially or replaced by a new one, it has been in force. But the problem is that the agreement has been violated so much by the Turkish side. If a legal expert looks at this agreement and the way it's been implemented, I'm not sure if the legal experts would conclude that this is a valid treaty. The violation is from the Turkish side, (because of) having closed its borders with Armenia.”

In the first instance, it should be cited that the Armenian Foreign Minister’s statements were not of an official nature but were expressed as his own personal thoughts. As is known, the right wing parties of Armenia, and in particular the Dashnaks, retain the inclination to rule out the validity of the Treaty of Kars and consider it null and void. Therefore, instead of creating a rift between himself and these circles, Oskanian has chosen to state that the Treaty under question is in force “as far as he is concerned”.

The Treaty of Kars incorporates the following main elements. First of all it states that certain agreements concluded in the past are void and that no international document not recognized by Turkey will be recognized.  In this manner with the Treaty of Kars, Armenia, as with the Soviet Union, Azerbaijan, and Georgia, have officially accepted not recognizi0ng the Sevres Treaty. This constitutes the second reason as to why Armenian extreme nationalists are opposed to the Treaty of Kars. Establishing Turkey’s eastern border, this Treaty ceded Batumi to Georgia. Another important article of this Treaty is that which grants autonomous status to Nakhichevan under the protection of Azerbaijan. In other words, a change in the status of Nakhichevan is dependent upon the consent of Turkey. As such, the realization of the dream that Nakhichevan, like Karabagh, may be annexed to Armenia is inherently unrealizable.

Furthermore, it is not possible to interpret any article of the Treaty of Kars as foreseeing that it shall become null and void in the event that the border between two countries is closed. The fact that an official declaration by Armenia has not been made to the Turkish government stating that the Treaty has been breached or is void bears testament to the fact that it is still in force.
(To be continued…)

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