Turkey-Armenia Relations or an Attempt to Bring to Life a Century Old Corpse


By Levon Urumyan

Historically Turkey and Armenia never had diplomatic relations as sovereign nations. This has been mainly the case because either Armenia was conquered by the Ottoman Empire – the legal successor of the Turkish Republic – or other powers for centuries, was at war with Turkey, and/or existed as a province within other nation. This was even more enflamed by the 1915 Armenian Genocide – a mass murder of the ethnic Armenian population in Ottoman Empire initiated and carried out by the Ottoman authorities – that took life of around from one to one and half million Armenians.

However, since the Soviet Union came into existence for the next seventy years, the Turkish-Armenian antagonism supposedly was put to rest to a large extent. Nonetheless, after the collapse of the Soviet Union and the subsequent conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabakh (N-K) things began to change dramatically. Although Turkey was arguably the first state to recognize the independence of Armenia right after the collapse of the Soviet Union, it one-sidedly supported ethnically related Azerbaijan in Nagorno-Karabakh conflict by closing the border with Armenia in 1993 when it became obvious that Azerbaijan is loosing the war. In addition, as for Armenia, apart from the N-K, the international recognition of 1915 Armenian Genocide became a high priority in foreign policy and potentially an indirect leverage over Turkey.

This is of course not to say that both countries did not make attempts of rapprochement or even establishment of diplomatic relations. There were humble attempts throughout 1990s to launch diplomatic relations between the nations. The N-K issue however was too fresh, and all the attempts to normalize the relations failed from the very beginning.

The August 2008 Caucasian war between Georgia and Russia, which in fact was nothing but a proxy war between the USA and Russia, brought a new geopolitical reality to the South Caucasus region. The 1990s stereotypical image of the Russian Federation as a weak semi-collapsed state and a global appeaser not capable of even defending itself was completely shattered. Since the year 2000 Russia has been reestablishing itself as a great power, and in August 2008 once again determined that it is the ultimate arbiter in the region of Caucasus. This geopolitical arrangement prepared a favorable soil for the things to come.

This arrangement was skillfully used by Turkey to rise as regional power. Throughout the post-Second World War history the idea of joining the European family of nations – EC/EU – was very popular in Turkey and traditionally preoccupied a leading place in its foreign policy. In addition to its pro-EC/EU foreign policy orientation, Turkey always has been a NATO key ally and always played a crucial role as a vital agent through which the USA projected its influence into the region of Caucasus.

However, obstacles towards the much desired EC/EU membership began to emerge over time. One of the severe problems emerged when 1974 Turkey invaded the northern part of Cyprus allegedly to defend the Turkish population that strived for secession. After that Turkey created a de facto independent Turkish state – Northern Cyprus – on the occupied territory that so far is officially recognized only by Turkey. At the same time Turkey refuses to recognize Cyprus (the Greek controlled) – the EU member state recognized by the international community – as a state at all. More than that, it appeared that, mildly speaking, not everybody in Europe wants to see Turkey in EC/EU. In this respect the main opposition has been coming from France and Germany that repeatedly initiated obstacles: by on one official level or another recognizing the Armenian Genocide, raising the Cyprus issue, as well as addressing the worrisome degree of human rights violations constantly taking place in Turkey.

The situation deteriorated further, when in 2003 the USA together with some of its NATO allies without a corresponding UN Security Council resolution invaded Iraq – a sovereign nation then – that constituted a severe violation of the founding principles of the international law. Such state of the affairs increased the already existing anti-Western/American sentiments in Turkey. More and more people began to question the pro-American/European foreign policy orientation existing for decades. Many began to feel that Turkey is merely a tool for the West, specifically for America. As a result, Turkey came to the conclusion that it should seek its indigenous path of development and take an individual place in the world of politics, which, by using its unique geographical location, was to be a useful link between the West and the East and not a part of any of them; thus, it had to leave the American/Western “orbit.” One of the products of such vision became the strategically important Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline, transporting Azeri crude oil to Turkish sea port of Ceyhan, and hence, to the West, thus, decreasing the Western oil dependence on Russian-Iranian tandem.  

In this respect, the August 2008 Caucasian war came up as a great opportunity for materializing this policy. Right after the conflict ended, Turkey acknowledged that Russia can be a much desirable partner happy to help in leaving the American/Western “orbit.” As a result, Turkey declared the so-called “zero problems with neighbors” initiative that, as the name implies, presupposed the settlement of all problems with all the countries bordering with Turkey. Turkey thus came up with an initiative that aimed to bring together the three South Caucasian countries into a confederation-like security union with the active participation of Turkey and Russia, of course. However, it was evident from the start that the initiative will remain in theory at best because of the diametrically opposite foreign policy orientations of the presupposed “members.” On top of that, among the “members” there has been one nation that did not have diplomatic relations with Turkey – Armenia. Armenia appeared to be the perpetual and the most vivid “crack” within the Turkish “zero problems with neighbors” foreign policy concept. To work this “crack” out Turkey supposedly needed to re-approach Armenia and establish diplomatic relations with the one.

The August 2008 Caucasian war served to accelerate the development of the Turkish Armenian relations and already on September 6th, 2008 Abdullah Gul became the first Turkish President ever to visit Armenia. At the same time Gul invited the Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan to visit Turkey for FIFA 2010 World Cup qualifying match between the Turkish and Armenian national teams. These, political steps later were dubbed as "football diplomacy."

Already on October 10, 2009 the two countries signed two protocols: on establishment of diplomatic relations and on development of mutual relations.  Although the Protocols did not contain any preconditions as such, right before they were signed, the Turkish Foreign Minister Davutoglu attempted to “squeeze in” several preconditions: Armenia should stop its strive to bring the 1915 Armenian Genocide to the international recognition, Armenian forces should withdraw from Nagorno-Karabakh and surrounding regions, and Armenia should make no claims on any lands in eastern Anatolia and by default recognizing current borders as inviolable. In contrast, it should be mentioned that after 2008 during the negotiations and Protocol signing process Armenia never maintained any preconditions. Nonetheless, after harsh negotiations, that also involved the Foreign Ministers of France, Russia, and the US State Secretary, prolonging the signing process for hours the Protocols were finally signed without preconditions. After that, it was up to the Parliaments of the countries to ratify the protocols, and it was right there when the things came out of hand. While the Protocols did not contain any preconditions as such, Turkey refused to ratify the Protocols and insisted on the preconditions it voiced earlier, although France, Russia, and the USA maintained multiple times that Protocols and the establishment of diplomatic relations should not be conditioned by the N-K, or any other issue. This stance instantly hampered the process into a deadlock. As a result, the Armenian President declared that he was not going to the second leg of the FIFA 2010 qualifying match between Armenia and Turkey unless there was a concrete progress in the rapprochement with Turkey. In addition, in February 2010 the Armenian parliament passed an amendment to the law on international treaties allowing for suspension or termination of agreements signed before their enforcement. And this is exactly what was done: Armenia, in fact, froze the Protocol ratification process when it became evident that Turkey will not ratify anything unless Armenia agrees on the preconditions mentioned above. 

Ankara probably overestimated its own self and underestimated Yerevan’s willpower once again. Similarly, in 1993 when Turkey closed the border with Armenia as a solidarity act towards the ethnically related Azerbaijan, it apparently thought that the closed border will bring the Armenians to the capitulation in the N-K war and/or to a fatal starvation. As the time progressed since then, it became crystal clear how short-sighted that approach was: Armenia emerged victorious in the war against Azerbaijan and managed to raise its economy. The latter clearly came as a proof that the Armenian economy, indeed, can develop even in a blockade from Turkey and Azerbaijan. The Turkish border blockade had a rather opposite effect: it consolidated the fighting nation even to a greater extent. In addition, if Turkey would have left the border opened, as well as sustained and/deepened its economic ties with Armenia, it could have definitely exerted more influence over the latter via the same economic links given that the economy of the newly born post-Soviet Armenia was in ruins. These developments confirm that political and economic sanctions may have little effect and the countries should revisit their political approach with adequate scrutiny and consideration of the underlying factors. 

Of course, it must be noted that although the blockade initiated by Turkey plays a damaging role in the Armenian economy, it also is, arguably, among the least troublesome negative aspects. The main reasons behind the merely paralyzed or underdeveloped Armenian economy lie within the domain of domestic politics: the de facto oligarchic/feudal-monopolistic leadership, practically owning all the branches of the economy, and, thus, dictating its price policies to the population, is logically not particularly interested in economic development, which would presuppose a healthy competition between a vast array of independent firms, a free market regulating the prices, foreign investment, rapid increase of jobs. To put it roughly, it is much easier to control a semi-hungry people than one with a full stomach that also has a free choice between several options.    

However, this time Turkey’s stance intended to impose preconditions was somewhat different from the one of 1993. Apparently, Turkey aimed to “kill two rabbits with one bullet:” a) it was necessary to show to the West, more specifically, the EU that it can maintain friendly and neighbourly relations with all of its neighbours in accordance with its declared “zero problems with neighbors” foreign policy concept, while b) hoping that Yerevan will “swallow the bait” and agree on the one-sided foreign policy concessions for the sake of having the border opened with Turkey. If materialized, such developments would considerably “free” Turkey from the Western pressure regarding the Armenian Genocide, and would resolve the N-K problem in favor of Azerbaijan with all the consequences. However, by the time Ankara finally acknowledged that Yerevan appeared to be tougher than it was expected and was not willing to “swallow the bait,” it became obvious that the former is politically cornering its own self, rather than anybody else: Turkey realized that with the signing of protocols neither the Genocide claims not the N-K issue would fade away, and that the absence of any preconditions from Armenia’s side in contrast to Turkey’s stance “demonizes” Ankara in the eyes of the West even to a greater extend.  By signing the protocols, Turkey realized it might risk both domestic support and regional power attributes under these circumstances.  On the other hand, Armenia would benefit, as long as the process is in limbo, as by suspending the negotiations, the Armenian authorities would gain political capital. 

Thus, it was essential then for the sake of not loosing face in the eyes of its only South Caucasian ethnic ally – Azerbaijan, to adopt a hard line towards Armenia by emphasizing the preconditions and refusing to ratify the protocols. As a result, Ankara brought the entire normalization effort and the protocol ratification process to a complete null, which brought Armenia and Turkey to the point where they were right before 2008. Hence, the declared “zero problems with neighbors” concept turned out to be a practical joke, and rather appeared to be “zero relations with neighbors if they are insubmissive.”           

Meanwhile, apart from all the above said, in Turkey a group of Turkish scholars and intellectuals have been supporting the recognition of 1915 Armenian Genocide despite the severe pressure and criticism from the authorities, extremist groups, and the majority of the Turkish population. Among those scholars and intellectuals four writers (Ahmet Insel, Ali Bayramoglu, Baskin Oran, and Cengiz Aktar) initiated an apology campaign aimed at the Armenian nation and came as an attempt to bring both Armenian and Turkish peoples to reconciliation. For this very reason the writers created a web page (www.ozurdiliyoruz.com) that was made public in December 2008 in which they say:

“My conscience does not accept the insensitivity showed to and the denial of the Great Catastrophe that the Ottoman Armenians were subjected to in 1915. I reject this injustice and for my share, I empathize with the feelings and pain of my Armenian brothers. I apologize to them.”

In addition, the visitors to the web page can subscribe their names in the database of the web page, thus, expressing their solidarity with the statement and writers’ initiative. Surprisingly, so far around 30 000 people have subscribed. It must be mentioned that some ten years ago such an event would have been impossible to imagine.

However, the attitudes towards this activity are badly divided even among the entire Armenian nation and the Turkish citizens that recognize the 1915 events as a Genocide committed against the Armenian people. There are many who criticize the way the apology was formulated in the web page. There where even those who, while recognizing the 1915 Armenian Genocide deliberately did not subscribe in the web page because they believed that the apology formulation simply perverts the true essence of the tragedy that was brought upon the Armenian population of the Ottoman Empire in 1915. The reason behind such criticism is definitely not because the initiators of the project did not use the term genocide but because of other more fundamental reasons. With the 301 Article of the criminal code artificially created as a “barrier” and/or a “punisher” against those who dare to use the term genocide to describe the 1915 Armenian mass murder, it can be quite understandable why the initiators of the project hesitated using the term. The criticism is aimed at something different. After reading the apology formulation one may get an impression that the “Great Catastrophe” that came upon the Armenian population of the Ottoman Empire was some kind of a tragic accident that was out of anybody’s control. This naturally raises questions about the real aims of the apology campaign.  First and foremost, what actually was that “Great Catastrophe”? What or who caused that “Great Catastrophe”? Why did the “Great Catastrophe” occur? What where the consequences of the “Great Catastrophe”? And last, if this is an apology then to what?  “Great Catastrophe”? The denial of the one? “Insensitivity”?  Or the “injustice”? Thus, there is a great degree of uncertainty involved. 

Of course, all the above said does not imply that the initiators of the apology intentionally formulated the apology statement the way they did to pervert the real essence of the 1915 events. It is quite possible that they intended to present the statement in the mildest form possible in order not to be persecuted by the authorities or to share the tragic fate of Hrant Dink murdered for daring to speak out openly about the true story of the Armenian people, especially given that their initiative already infuriated the majority of the Turkish public.

The formulation of the apology, in light of the absence of any kind of explanation of what in essence the “Great Catastrophe” was really about could even “pour more kerosene into the fire” by playing into the hands of the official Turkish denialist stance according to which the number of the massacred Armenians is vastly exaggerated and that the Armenians fell victim to their own ambitions, since they dared to fight against the Ottoman authorities and allied themselves with the Russians. Such propagated official Turkish narrative unavoidably leaves the impression as if the Ottoman Empire, where the Armenians and Turks lived in, was an “Edemic” state of perpetual happiness, freedom, tolerance, brotherhood and love for more than eight centuries before 1915 (Mamigonian, 2009). Whereas, in reality Armenians lived as a conquered, subdued, harassed and usurpated people, together with other Christian peoples being labeled as “gavur” (Turkish term for infidel) with all the following bitter consequences, while being  under Ottoman domination.

It is exactly for these reasons that even some representatives of the Turkish inteligencia that have been supporting the recognition of the Armenian Genocide were very critical about the formulation of the apology. Indeed, if the apology aimed to present the tragic fate of the Ottoman Armenians in its true colors then it could have been done quite easily even without using the term genocide. For instance, as Turkish sociologist Fatma Muge Gocek put it in a public statement on April 24, 2006:

“I, as an ethnically Turkish citizen, am not guilty, but am responsible for what happened to the Armenians in 1915. I am responsible for the wounds that were first delivered upon you through an unjust deportation from your ancestral lands and through massacres in the hands of a government that should have been there to protect you. I am also responsible for the wounds caused by the Turkish state denial to this day of what happened to you back then. I am responsible because all of this occurred and still occurs in the country of which I am a citizen.” (Mamigonian, 2009))

As is evident from the statement, despite not using the term genocide, Gocek demonstrated the complete picture and acknowledgement of what the “Great Catastrophe” really was.

As for the process of the international recognition of the Armenian Genocide, there are, in fact, considerable problems posed by the Armenian side as well. That is, so far neither within the Republic of Armenia, nor within the Armenian Diaspora there is a unified consensus, or understanding about what the consequences of the recognition of the Armenian Genocide by Turkey should be. As always, Armenians all around the world want the Turkish Republic to recognize the Armenian Genocide committed by its legal predecessor – the Ottoman Empire – with no unified position about what they want the Turkish Republic to do in case of a such recognition. There is even no consensus between the Republic of Armenia and the Armenian Diaspora regarding the matter. There are many Armenians in both Republic of Armenia and the Armenian Diaspora that want Turkey to carry out a reparation in a form of giving away territories in Eastern Anatolia, where the exterminated and deported Armenian population lived prior to 1915 in addition to returning the property to those Armenians whose ancestors it was stolen from during the 1915 events. There are some, primarily in the Republic of Armenia, that do not want reparations in a form of additional territories at all because they believe that Armenia hardly manages to secure and maintain its own territory together with the territory of the de facto independent N-K and its surrounding areas under Armenian control. As a result, there is no way for the Armenian economy to secure and maintain additional territories and population the size of which exceed that of the Republic of Armenia, N-K and surrounding territories under Armenian control put together from two to three and around seven times correspondingly. At the same, there are some in Armenia that apart from the end of the border blockade imposed by Turkey, want just an official recognition of the crime committed by the Ottoman authorities against their own citizens similarly to how the Russian Federation recognized and condemned the mass murder of tens of millions of Soviet citizens and around 20 000 Poles carried out by the criminal Bolshevik-Stalinist regime that, by the way, also lied to the public about the real fate of those millions of people who perished in prisons all over the country. Likewise, after Nazi Germany was defeated by the end of the Second World War, and then divided between the East and West, both Germanys recognized and condemned the Genocide committed by the Nazi Germany against Jews and other peoples.

The absence of a consensus within the entire Armenian nation worldwide about what consequences modern Turkey should face if it recognizes the Genocide makes Turkey very hostile to the issue because it simply does not know what to expect. Meanwhile, the consequences of such recognition by Turkey can be catastrophic for it, and not because of the possibility of giving away territories to Armenia. Throughout the existence of the Ottoman/Seljuk Empire, Armenians were just one of a large number of peoples that fell victim to the empire: Assyrians, Greeks, Bulgarians, Romanians, Hungarians, Serbs and many other nations, including Arab people were subjected to harassment and/or slaughter by the empire that conquered them. It is not difficult to assume that after Turkey recognizes the Armenian Genocide all those nations with all their accusations and demands for justice and compensation will instantly form a very long line at Turkey’s “doorsteps.”

Thus, for the entire Armenian nation worldwide it is absolutely necessary to reach a consensus regarding the issue, which in turn will not automatically lead to any kind of recognition but will make things less complicated and maybe even less problematic. Most importantly, in order to reach a reasonable consensus within its own self, the Armenian nation worldwide should get united, something that is mostly not the case: the attitude regarding the possibility of establishing Armenia-Turkey relations is badly divided within the Armenian people. Moreover, the claims voiced by Armenians towards Turkey in respect to possible reparations from Turkey in case it recognizes the Genocide should be first and foremost pragmatic and not emotional. To put it figuratively, as life shows, the one that wants too many things at once gets nothing by the end, as well as before biting off a piece one must first be confident that he/she san swallow it. In this respect, the view on getting reparations in the form of territories in Eastern Anatolia, even if Turkey agrees to such a scenario given Armenia’s economic condition, should leave a lot of food for thought. Then, who knows maybe slowly but steadily there will be a way to work things out. Some thirty years ago nobody expected the reunification of the German people, the fall of Communism together with its taboos, clichés, myths, and stereotypes, and an open dialogue about the real history involved. Who knows, maybe before wanting Turkey to look at its past with opened eyes the Armenian people should do the same regarding their own present: there are arguably far more national challenges than international ones.

As for Turkey, on February 3rd, 2011 it organized a Turkish-Armenian concert in the Turkish Embassy in Washington where Turkish and Armenian musicians performed to commemorate the slain Turkish Armenian journalist Hrant Dink (Hurriet Dayly News). The concert was held in a nice and friendly environment. However, it did not change anything in Turkish-Armenian relations as such. Apparently, it came as a merely another PR action just exploiting Dink’s death. In that respect, this Turkish initiative held striking similarity to the Akhtamar church story that was presented as just another act of good will but appeared to be merely a black joke: the church, despite being externally reconstructed and supposedly opened to the public, was actually never restored and/or opened as a church, but only as a museum; the cross which is the essential attribute of any church, was installed over the church long after the “opening” ceremony. The installation process of the cross was artificially procrastinated for months under many decorative pretexts. Holy liturgy was not held there for a long time even after the “opening”. Only very recently it was hardly held for a couple of times.

Worse, the atmosphere between Turkey and Armenia became even more “cloudy” after an event that involved a dialogue between a school student and the President of Armenia Serzh Sargsyan that was present there on July 23rd, in Tsakhkadzor, Armenia. The content of the conversation for some reasons infuriated the Turkish Prime Minister Erdoghan together with some other high ranking Turkish officials who, rather strangely, misinterpreted the content of the dialogue between President Sargsyan and the boy as a territory claim by Armenia against Turkey.

Thus, to present the complete picture in its true colors it is essential to comprehend the conversation between the Armenian President and the boy in its genuine form. During the conversation the school student asked the President the following question presented below in its actual words:

“ ……I would be interested in knowing whether our future would be reminiscent of a German diplomat's description of the Batum Agreement — they gave us enough room to swim in Lake Sevan, but not enough room to dry up — or a future that would see the return of Western Armenia along with Ararat?” (Sassounian, August 3, 2011)

And the President’s response in actual words was:

“It all depends on you and your generation. I believe my generation fulfilled its task when it was necessary in the early 1990's to defend a part of our homeland — Karabagh — from enemies. We were able to do that…. My point is that each generation has its own task, and it must be able to carry it out, and carry it out well. If you and your peers spare no effort, and if those older and younger than you act the same way, we will have one of the best countries in the world. Trust me, a country's clout is not always measured by its land mass. The country should be modern, secure, and prosperous. These are prerequisites that allow a nation to sit along with prominent, strong, and reputed nations of the world. We should all fulfill our duties, be active, industrious, and engage in good deeds. And we can accomplish that very easily. It would not be the first time in our history that we achieve it. I have no doubts about it, and I don't want you to have any doubts either. We are a nation like a Phoenix that always rises from the ashes.”

First and foremost, there are some clarifications that should be made regarding the content of both the question and the answer. Western Armenia was a territory that was the western region of the once existing Kingdom of Armenia that seized to exist for the very last time in 1045 A.D. Although since then more then a millennium has passed many Armenians still dream of the Kingdom that they once had and the territories that it incorporated. Thus, the schoolboy’s naive question can be quite understandable. The boy’s words cannot be considered as an official declaration, political statement and/or, especially, a territorial claim.

First and foremost, there are some clarifications that should be made regarding the content of both the question and the answer. Western Armenia was a territory that was the western region of the once existing Kingdom of Armenia that seized to exist for the very last time in 1045 A.D. Although since then almost a millennium has passed many Armenians still dream of the Kingdom that they once had and the territories that it incorporated. Thus, the schoolboy’s naive question can be quite understandable. The boy’s words cannot be considered as an official declaration, political statement and/or, especially, a territorial claim.

As for President Sargsyan’s answer, it did not contain any territorial claims against Turkey at all, it even did not contain the term Western Armenia. The Armenian President simply maintained that the future depends on the future generations and that he would love to see the future generations make Armenia a developed, strong, and prosperous country: something that any national leader in good mental health would strive for. More than that, the President specifically emphasized that “a country’s clout is not always measured by its land mass,” that is, the President even made a hint that it is not the “land mass” or additional territories that Armenia really needs. As for his generation, the President emphasized that it fulfilled its main duty: defended N-K, which the entire Armenian nation historically considered as part of its ancestral land, and since it was overwhelmingly populated by Armenians, there was more than just a territory to fight for. Now, the N-K issue can be defined as a territorial dispute between Armenia and Azerbaijan, but, still, there is no relation to Turkey’s territorial integrity. Not to mention that from Armenia’s side, given its poor economic and demographic condition, to demand territories from Turkey would have been a complete absurdity.

Nevertheless, the Turkish Prime Minister Erdoghan demanded an apology from the Armenian President. In Yerevan this caused sincere bewilderment because… really!? What to apologize for? Apologize for the Armenian history, or for the Armenian people who once dared to establish their own Kingdom centuries before the Christian era and dared to live in there for more than one and a half millennium before Turkic people ever migrated from Altai region in Central Asia to the region of Caucasus? Or the Armenian people headed by their President should apologize for even recalling their history, and even rewrite it in such a way that it suits Ankara? To put it differently, there are many instances around the world among neighboring countries when one state may own a territory that in the past belonged to the other, and if the other recalls that, it absolutely does not mean it demands any territories from the one.

Meanwhile, if this entire fuss is about the N-K issue, that is, Turkey wants to continue to play the role of a “charge free lawyer,” or, as they call it, “Devil’s Advocate” for Azerbaijan, then it is a complete waste of time and energy, because it is visible to a naked eye that such a stance, mildly speaking, leads nowhere for already two decades. In other words, if Ankara wants to continue to play a game of “advocacy” in the region with a strictly predefined “client”, then it should have noticed that Yerevan, as the time showed, is not willing to play this game.  

Finally, it should be concluded that throughout years, the Kurdish and Cyprus problems together with the possibility of the EU accession, have always been of immediate importance and, thus allocated the most of Turkey’s attention. While Armenia, with its underdeveloped economy, stagnating tiny population, and partially sieged borders mostly remains a low priority issue, only rising as unendingly “nasty trouble” once a year on April 24th. There is no urgency for Turkey to change the current state of the affairs. So far, there is little evidence, if any, that such an arrangement will change in a foreseeable future.  Maybe Turkey needs more time to finally realize that the stance of a “colonizer” treating his neighbors as own “colonies,” talking to them with the language of demands and preconditions, demanding from them greater submission and obedience and in return offering a more “decent” or “humane” treatment is strictly counterproductive and hence, leads nowhere: as Turkey’s stance towards Armenia in both 1993 and 2008 – 2009 negotiation process clearly demonstrated, Yerevan successfully resisted and did not accept any preconditions. As they say, “time cures everything” and even the worst wounds: France and Germany spilled each others blood for centuries, even nowadays each may own a piece of territory that historically belonged to the other and disagree about various historical developments, but most importantly, they managed to overcome their ambitions and “bury” the language of preconditions and/or blackmail in the “graveyard” of history, for it finally became obvious that there cannot be anything more mutually beneficial than open borders, or eventually even the absence of them if they live as members of the same family.    


Mamigonian, Marc (April, 2009). “Commentary on the Turkish Apology Campaign.” The Armenian Weekly (http://www.armenianweekly.com/2009/04/21/commentary-on-the-turkish-apology-campaign/)


Sassounian, Harut (August 3, 2011). “Erdoghan inadvertently publicizes Armenian territotial claims from Turkey.” Times.am (http://times.am/2011/08/03/erdogan-inadvertently-publicizes-armenian-territorial-claims-from-turkey/)

“Turkish, Armenian Musicians Remember Dink at US Concert.” Huriet Dayly News (February 3, 2011) (http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/n.php?n=0203091739233-2011-02-03)




Call for Expert on Policy Communication and Instruments

This announcement is available only in Armenian. 


“Green light” for environmentally neutral business development from Lisbon to Vladivostok

On March 3, 2021, the first meeting of the GreenDeal Task Force created under the Initiative Lisbon-Vladivostok was held. In the videoconference format, more than twenty authoritative experts in the field of ecology and business from Austria, Armenia, Germany, Italy, Kazakhstan, Russia, France, as well as the representatives of the largest business industry associations supporting the Initiative Lisbon-Vladivostok, discussed common approaches to harmonizing the activities implemented by the EU and the EAEU on the path to sustainable development, including a radical reduction in greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere by 2050.

 more >>