Khachik Ter-Ghukassian:

If Turkey succeeds Armenia will be isolated from the world

PanARMENIAN.Net - Developments in the Near East can change the balance of forces in the region and influence on Armenia's relations with Turkey and Iran. The main player in the region is the U.S., which is interested in stability in the Near East and Caucasus. This power's wish to push Russia from the South Caucasus, specifically from Armenia, is also an important factor. Professor of international relations and politics of the Universidad de San Andrés in Buenos Aires, Dr Khachik Ter-Ghukassian comments to PanARMENIAN.Net on the ongoing events in the region and their possible impact on Armenia.
The international community attaches big importance to the events taking place in the Neat East. How do you assess the current situation?

The Near East is of great interest for Washington. It specifically refers to the Caucasus. The U.S. is perfectly aware that war with Iran will redouble instability in the region while Washington needs "an arc of stability" from the Caspian Sea to the Black Sea. First of all, it concerns oil. The U.S. stands for cooperation but the situation is tensed, if not explosive. Although, Washington has intentions to improve relations with Iran.

However, certain difficulties may cause internal developments in the Caucasus. It's quite possible that the map of the Near East may change. Anyway, there are some preconditions for it. The U.S. plans a "mild" division of Iraq with further formation of independent Kurdistan. At the same time I should stress that U.S. presence in Iraq doesn't alleviate tension. Unfortunately, the Arab world lacks either political or intellectual force capable to change the situation.

Normalization of the Armenian-Turkish relations becomes more urgent for the United States. Can Washington have its will?

At the moment Turkey's foreign policy is targeted at Northern Iraq and improvement of relations with Georgia and Azerbaijan, what includes development of communications and military-strategic partnership. If Turkey's succeeds in realizing its plans Armenia will be isolated from the world. Curiously enough, such state of things is not convenient for the U.S. which insists on opening of the Armenian-Turkish border. However, normalization of relations without preconditions is a dangerous tendency. Turkey doesn't open the border proceeding from political reasons: the Nagorno Karabakh conflict, the Armenian Genocide and absence of fixed border with Armenia. The only legal basis for demarcation of borders is the Sevr Treaty. No agreement signed after Sevr, namely the Kars and Moscow treaties, do not have juridical effect, since the signatory powers stopped their existence as elements of international law. The Sevr Treaty was signed August 10, 1920. Borders with independent Armenia had to be marked by a neutral mediator, namely the United States, according to it.

At that we should not forget that Turkey has always been the biggest danger for the Armenian people. This opinion should be shared by the whole nation, both in Armenia and Diaspora. On the other hand, opening of borders can tell on Armenia's economy. Georgia, where the local industry was destroyed because of the abundant flow of cheap Turkish goods, can serve as an example. Certainly, Armenian economy can't compete with the Turkish, but we will have an outlet to the world, at least. Although, we are not ready to make a reality of the scenario we will be offered.

Iran and Armenia enjoy lasting and friendly ties. How would you comment on them?

If the United States collides with Turkey over Northern Iraq and simultaneously improves relations with Iran, it will be the best scenario for Armenia. Actually, under circumstances Russia's presence as a security guarantor for Armenia will lose urgency. We should strengthen relations with Iran.

Iran is a minority in the Islamic world, since it practices Shi'ism. This state is the potential regional power. Will Washington have a political force to hold a dialogue with Iran as equals? This is the core of the problem. How the balance will be maintained between the Sunnis (al Qaeda) and Shiites? How the Lebanese problem will be resolved. These are questions that need exact answers. Under any circumstances, the Armenia-Iran relations should be apart any shocks in the region.

220 members of the House of Representatives have supported the Armenian Genocide Resolution. Do you think it will be put on vote?

The U.S. government will use the H.Res.106 as the main took of pressure on Turkey. Struggle between Democrats and Republicans as well as the presidential elections in the United States may speed up or, on the contrary, protract the decision. If Washington is really interested in normalization of the Armenian-Turkish relations it will press on Turkey with this Resolution. As to the opinion, that passage of the Armenian Genocide Resolution is necessary for the Armenian community of the U.S., I am convinced that opposing Armenia and Diaspora in the Genocide issue is dangerous and immoral.

Argentina is among the states that recognized the Armenian Genocide. How efficient are the activities of the Armenian community of Argentina?

Argentina is the second, after France, state where the Armenian Genocide is recognized on the legislative level. The history of the Genocide is a compulsory subject in schools of Buenos Aires. The Hay Dat Argentinean Office has organized a special textbook. It also holds seminars for school teachers.

I would like to note that Venezuela, which is far enough from the major states of South America, has also recognized the Armenian Genocide. In the 1980-ies Armenians of Argentina and other South American states started integration into in the society. We have become a part of the countries, which gave us shelter. We should proceed on this way basing on the example of the Armenian community of France.

I should also mention that the first sitting of the South American Parliament will take place July 21. Three states - Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay - have agreed on forming the structure with the capital in Montevideo. Our work will become more coordinated.
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