Armenia: New cards at play

A Turkish concession to Armenia that isn’t quite historic, but which could lead to greater things

A Turkish concession to Armenia that isn’t quite historic, but which could lead to greater things

yerevan araratTurkey has made a historic concession to Armenia, the neighbour it does not recognise, during secret talks in Vienna, according to CNN Turk reporter Barçın Yinanç. She says in her blog entry that the Turks have stopped demanding a resolution to the Nagorno-Karabakh dispute before diplomatic relations are established. The two countries are now on track to setting up a high commission to look into relations between them. “It is an important step that could be considered historic,” says Ms Yinanç. But is it really that?

Turkey was the first country to recognise Armenia when it declared independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. Things faltered after that; diplomatic relations never really got off the ground, and while Turkish embassies sprung up in nearby former Soviet republics like Azerbaijan and Georgia, relations with Armenia remained unofficial. When war broke out in 1994 between Armenia and Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabakh, Turkey sealed shut its 268km border with Armenia. Azerbaijan did the same.

Neither border has opened since, and it has been Armenia that suffered most. The country is hopelessly poor. Its only realistic avenue for trade with the west is through a small border with Georgia, hundreds of kilometres north of the capital.

In the 12 years since the border was sealed, the Armenians missed out on the opportunity to be a corridor for one of the largest oil pipelines outside of Russia and the Middle East. The pipeline in question goes from Azerbaijan to southern Turkey via Georgia; taking it through Armenia would have been a far more sensible route, and cheaper too. Think of the millions of dollars that could have resuscitated their economy. All because a closed gate.

With the situation as gridlocked as it is, it is interesting that the Turks seemingly blinked first yesterday. They have always had the upper ground: sure, the closed frontier does not help the regional economy in eastern Turkey, but the effect on the country’s national economy is small, and the enthusiasm to resolve the dispute has consequently been smaller still. So why the concession?

It might be a case of preemptive action. See, for all their weaknesses, the Armenians have one powerful bargaining chip – that of a potential genocide in 1915. The facts are disputed; the Armenians say it was part of a centuries-long conspiracy to eliminate their kind in Ottoman Turkey, the Turks deny it with arguments that range from “it didn’t happen” to “we didn’t do it”. Armenia’s influential diaspora has exploited it abroad to considerable success over the years, be it with Canada’s recognition of the events as genocide or French motions making it an offence to deny it ever happened. But it wasn’t really until talk popped up of including genocide recognition in Turkey’s EU accession talks that the diaspora began to pose a serious diplomatic threat.

Perhaps Turkish authorities are beginning to see that the diaspora can make things even more uncomfortable for them. Perhaps they see that Armenia can no longer be ignored. Perhaps they are aware that a stricter definition of their position over the massacre – or genocide, or non-entity, or whatever – might be needed very soon.

Yesterday’s Turkish concession is actually tiny. With it, they have simply agreed to meet and talk about the possibility of meeting again, perhaps that time with someone keeping the minutes. That means little on its own. But it might be the starting point for a greater concession, an admission of the vaguest sort that something horrible happened 91 years ago. Now that would be historic.

blogspot visit counter
Total
0
Shares
219 comments
  1. In 1915 the Armenians killed hekimoglu ismail, the grandfather of the famous turkish author by the same name.
    They killed many other civilians, helping the russians, the french and british in their campaign against the ottoman empire.
    If you are british you shoud know britain is responsible for any repercussions the armenians suffered, as your government instigated their rebellion.

  2. Interesting point of view, but imagine the master who sends his thief to do a robbery, a thief who is then shot dead by the homeowner during the robbery itself. Is the master guilty of murder?

    The essence of what you are saying that the Ottomans cannot be responsible for their actions in the face of rebellion provoked by a third party. I simply don’t accept your argument, and that’s before we even get to what the Ottomans actually did.

    I think you are right when you say the British had a role. I also do not think the events of 1915 were clear enough to be described as genocide. But I also do think Turkey has a long way to go in accepting itself what happened in 1915.

  3. Please let me know if you’re looking for a article writer for your blog.
    You have some really great posts and I feel I would be a good asset.
    If you ever want to take some of the load off, I’d love to write some content for your blog in exchange for a link back to
    mine. Please blast me an email if interested. Cheers!

  4. I would like to thank you for the efforts you have put
    in penning this site. I really hope to see the same
    high-grade blog posts by you later on as well. In truth, your creative writing abilities has motivated me to get my own site now ;
    )

  5. Undeniably believe that which you stated.
    Your favorite justification appeared to be at the web the easiest factor to be mindful of.

    I say to you, I certainly get annoyed even as folks consider
    worries that they just don’t know about. You managed to hit the nail upon the top and
    outlined out the whole thing with no need side effect ,
    other folks could take a signal. Will likely be back to
    get more. Thank you

  6. Wonderful beat ! I would like to apprentice while you amend your web site, how could i subscribe for a blog
    website? The account aided me a acceptable deal. I had
    been a little bit acquainted of this your broadcast provided bright clear idea

  7. I was wondering if you ever considered changing
    the page layout of your website? Its very well
    written; I love what youve got to say. But maybe you could a little more in the way of content so people could connect with
    it better. Youve got an awful lot of text for only having one or two images.

    Maybe you could space it out better?

  8. Hi there! I could have sworn Iíve been to this blog before but after going through a few of the articles I realized itís new to me. Anyhow, Iím definitely delighted I found it and Iíll be book-marking it and checking back frequently!

  9. Having read this I believed it was really informative. I appreciate you taking the time and effort to put this content together. I once again find myself spending a lot of time both reading and leaving comments. But so what, it was still worth it!

  10. Oh my benefits! a fantastic post man. Thanks Nevertheless I am experiencing problem with ur rss. Don?t recognize why Incapable to subscribe to it. Is there any individual obtaining similar rss trouble? Anyone who understands kindly react. Thnkx

  11. Wow that was odd. I just wrote an incredibly long comment but after I clicked submit my
    comment didn’t show up. Grrrr… well I’m not writing all that over again. Regardless, just wanted to say wonderful blog!

  12. Great post. I was checking constantly this blog and I am inspired!Very useful info specially the ultimate part 🙂 I deal with such information alot. I was seeking this particular information for a long time.Thank you and best of luck.

  13. Hello there! This is my first visit to your blog! We are a teamof volunteers and starting a new project in a community in the same niche.Your blog provided us beneficial information to work on. You have done a marvellousjob!

  14. I blog often and I truly appreciate your information. This article has truly peaked my interest. I am going to book mark your blog and keep checking for new details about once a week. I opted in for your Feed too.

  15. An impressive share! I have just forwarded this onto a friend who was conducting a little research on this. And he in fact ordered me dinner because I stumbled upon it for him… lol. So allow me to reword this…. Thank YOU for the meal!! But yeah, thanx for spending time to talk about this issue here on your site.

  16. Hi there! This blog post couldnít be written any better! Reading through this post reminds me of my previous roommate! He constantly kept talking about this. I am going to forward this information to him. Fairly certain he’ll have a very good read. Thank you for sharing!

  17. Right here is the perfect web site for anybody who wishes to find out about this topic. You know so much its almost hard to argue with you (not that I really would want toÖHaHa). You definitely put a fresh spin on a subject which has been written about for many years. Great stuff, just great!

Leave a Reply
Related Posts