Resumption of Armenian-Turkish Protocols is a forced move of Turkey

Erdogan’s government makes every effort to save the policy of “zero problems with neighbors”, which failed due to hysteric statements of the Turkish Prime Minister, to say the least.

Ankara decided to bring back to the agenda the Armenian-Turkish Protocols on normalizing relations and opening the border. Prime Minister Erdogan, in all probability, always wants to manage everything and be the first, starting with the support for the “Arab spring” and ending with establishing relations with Armenia. At the same time Ankara is eager to maintain relations with Israel, Palestine, Cyprus and Russia, viewing the latter if not as an ally, at least as a country with which she can “negotiate” for the Caucasus. And, of course, there comes the main partner, the United States, no matter how often Erdogan asserts that Turkey follows an independent policy.

PanARMENIAN.Net - Return of the Protocols to the parliament can be interpreted as a result of pressure from Washington, which hasn’t yet abandoned the attempts to reconcile Armenia with Turkey. However, nobody exactly knows how this can be done. After all, ratification of the Protocols cannot solve all the problems from within. Even if we do not take into account Erdogan’s walkout from the UN assembly hall during the speech of Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan, establishment of relations between Armenia and Turkey requires political will, especially by Turkey. But it should be noted that if the Turkish side ratifies the Protocols, and after it Armenia does the same, the normalization process may get off the ground. This kind of development is possible, but not inevitable: too many are the problems, Azerbaijan being among them. It should also be admitted that Erdogan’s government makes every effort to save the policy of “zero problems with neighbors”, which, however, has failed due to hysteric statements of the Turkish Prime Minister, to say the least. The latest problems with Israel were complemented with lingering difficulties with Cyprus and the Arab countries and, of course, the unresolved Kurdish question, which is central to Ankara. Turkey, now seriously, says that Baku and also Palestine cause problems, because of which Turkey is unable to settle the Kurdish issue. Moreover, settlement of this issue is not expected in the short run. Turkish news reports all the more remind of war communiqué: no day is complete without clashes with Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK). Only last week Kurdish rebels killed about 20 Turkish soldiers.

So, Ankara did the only right thing under the circumstances: she returned the Protocols to Parliament. And though they may again be “buried” in one of the commissions, the fact itself deserves attention. Let us recall that October 10 marks exactly two years since the day of signing the documents that were worked out by the United States, France, Switzerland and Russia in Zurich, with the participation of Armenia and Turkey. We say “with the participation”, because the two countries themselves would hardly decide on signing such documents. Most interesting is the fact that the protocols were opposed to not as much by the Turks as by the Azerbaijanis, who fairly believe that with the opening of the Armenian-Turkish border, Ankara would finally turn its back on Baku. As for Armenia, and the Diaspora in particular, the latter was originally against signing any documents with Turkey.

Whatever the situation may be, Yerevan will never undertake anything until Turkey makes a step forward towards the Protocols. At least there is hope that no rash decisions will be made. It’s true that when the border is opened, the road to Turkey will be thrice decreased, but it’s not as important an acquisition as to turn a blind eye to what happened in the Ottoman Empire about 100 years ago. By the way, the Armenian Genocide must be considered since 1896, when the first massacre was carried out by Sultan Abdul Hamid II. And that's not counting the periodic persecutions of the Armenian population in the Empire, who were one of the most loyal to the sultan. So, ratification of the protocols is still a remote fantasy, even under the pressure of the U.S. and EU. However, even if they are ratified, nothing will change in the Armenian-Turkish relations, since Turkey is incapable of using a normal language, without preconditions.

Karine Ter-Sahakyan
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