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Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Is Turkey bluffing re 'reaching deal' with Armenia?

What kind of 'roadmap' is this if reportedly opening the border is "out of the question"?

Is this Obama directed PR?.. again?.. to prevent using the G-word on 24 April?

Well, let's see what Armenia Foreign Ministry will have to say tomorrow...

Turkey says accord reached with Armenia on roadmap
ANKARA, Turkey (AP) - A foreign ministry statement says Turkey and Armenia have made solid progress toward reconciliation and reached agreement on a roadmap to normalize ties. The statement issued late Wednesday says the two countries have reached a framework agreement that satisfies both sides. A senior government official, however, said opening the Turkish-Armenian border, closed in 1993, is "out of the question." He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not allowed to speak to media.

31 comments:

artmika said...

...and now the US State Department "welcomes" "normalization of relations" between Armenia and Turkey. Huh?

I genuinely do want to see the normalilsation of relations between Armenia and Turkey but all these empty statements which contain only abstract words, without any details provided, seem to be too staged to trust. It's like the 'normalisation' was specifically 'achieved' 1 day before the expected Obama statement re Armenian Genocide. I think this is made to 'justify' Obama's not using the G-word. I do not feel that the real agreement is there yet. Let them prove me wrong.

Turkey and Armenia: Normalization of Relations

Robert Wood
Acting Department Spokesman, Office of the Spokesman
Washington, DC
April 22, 2009

The United States welcomes the statement made by Armenia and Turkey on normalization of their bilateral relations. It has long been and remains the position of the United States that normalization should take place without preconditions and within a reasonable timeframe. We urge Armenia and Turkey to proceed according to the agreed framework and roadmap. We look forward to working with both governments in support of normalization, and thus promote peace, security and stability in the whole region.

Anonymous said...

staged it is. damn them all to hell.

Ani said...

Well, let's hope it's not the roadmap they've been using for Israel and Palestine, because that just goes around in a circle. That "statement" has all the nutritional value of 3000-meter air. Very disappointing.

artmika said...

From now on, each April expect a 'breakthrough' and 'normalisation of relations'...

artmika said...

...and US State Department statement "welcoming" it.

Onnik Krikorian said...

Or expect the U.S. administration to expect real progress to occur and for something to happen by the time of the football return match in Turkey later this year.

On the other hand, I'm sorry, weighing up U.S. foreign policy objectives and the strategic role Turkey plays in such matters, what did people expect? Really?

That Obama would fulfill a campaign pledge? Well, I suppose there is still an outside chance he might, but I wouldn't bet on it (despite the bookmakers taking bets in Yerevan).

Meanwhile, I would however expect him to be serious in applying both encouragement and pressure on Armenia, Azerbaijan and Turkey throughout this year so that next April this isn't going to become a problem again.

That, in my opinion, is how this would all get settled in the real world, anyway. However, it has to happen this year although it's true. Even if it didn't, Obama would not want to use the word next year either.

Still, let's see. We might be surprised tomorrow, but I wouldn't count on it. Indeed, most observers have for several months said it is 90 percent unlikely Obama would. What is more the question is what is happening behind the scenes.

Onnik Krikorian said...

BTW: Mika, don't you think that the U.S. administration is actually part of this accord? They've been on the phone to Armenia, Azerbaijan and Turkey since Obama's visit to the latter. This isn't just a Turkish announcement, it's one made with the full involvement of Armenia, Turkey, Switzerland and the U.S. along with informal discussions with Azerbaijan.

artmika said...

Agree that US and others are part of this. Perhaps, you should add Russia too. However, while I will be disappointed with basically inevitable not use of the G-word by Obama, I do believe that Obama administration wants to see Turkey-Armenia reconcilliation. However, I am not convinced that Turkey is playing a fair game, and in my opinion rather using the process and timing as a cover up to take up the time and set unacceptable preconditions.

Onnik Krikorian said...

Yeah, Russia has remained noticeably silent on all of this, and Aliyev's recent comments on Lachin were a surprise.

As for your gut feeling about Turkey playing a game, if true then I expect the U.S. in particular to make sure it doesn't get away with it.

This is why I think Obama could actually be a catalyst for change. Or rather, it's a hope...

Onnik Krikorian said...

But, you know, there's one other possibility re. Turkey's position. That is, that it is ready to normalize relations but the Azerbaijan card is too strong and does have an effect on internal politics in both republics. Anyway, we'll see. The process must show results this year and if Turkey backs out for whatever reason then the opportunity has gone and there should be no more pussy-footing around. Let's see.

artmika said...

As of now, Armenian Foreign Ministry refuses to provide any details re this mysterious 'roadmap'.

Here is a link to BBC report (no details, but OK reflection): Turkey and Armenia set 'roadmap'

artmika said...

Rumours in Yerevan that ruling coalition member nationalist ARF Dashnaktsutyun party will announce quitting the coalition over Turkey deal.

artmika said...

ARF Dashnaktsutyun has just issued a very strongly worded statement over Armenia - Turkey deal. Statement says that they will re-consider being part of the ruling coalition over the coming few days.
(statement below, in Armenian, via arfd.am)

Հայ-թուրքական հարաբերությունների կարգավորումը վերջին ամիսներին եղել է Հայաստանի պետական-քաղաքական օրակարգի առանցքային հարցը։ ՀՅ Դաշնակցությունը բազմիցս հայտարարել է, որ երկու երկրների միջեւ բարիդրացիական հարաբերություններ կարող են հաստատվել Թուրքիայի կողմից Հայոց ցեղասպանության ճանաչմամբ եւ հայ ժողովրդի իրավունքների վերականգնմամբ միայն։ Առանց նախապայմանների շրջափակման վերացումը եւ դիվանագիտական հարաբերությունների հաստատումը այդ ճանապարհի սոսկ առաջին քայլերը կարող են լինել։ Մեզ համար բացարձակապես անընդունելի է Թուրքիայի հետ հարաբերությունների բնականոնացումը մեր պետության ինքնիշխան եւ կենսունակ լինելիության եւ սերունդների՝ ազգային-պետական իրավունքների հաշվին։

Հաստատակամ այս սկզբունքներին՝ մենք անընդունելի եւ դատապարտելի ենք համարում Հայաստանի արտաքին գործերի նախարարության կողմից Թուրքիայի հետ ապրիլի 22-ի հայտարարության ստորագրումը: Մենք գտնում ենք, որ հայ ժողովրդի մեծագույն ողբերգության հիշատակի օրվա՝ ապրիլի 24-ի անմիջական նախօրեին եւ Թուրքիայի ղեկավարների վերջին շրջանում կատարած՝ Արցախյան հիմնախնդրի եւ ընդհանրապես բացահայտ հակահայկական հայտարարությունների ու նախապայմաններ թելադրելու պայմաններում, այդ փաստաթղթի ի հայտ գալը հարվածում է Հայաստանի ու հայ ժողովրդի շահերին։

Արձանագրելով, որ այս ընթացքը ենթադրում է բացասական առումով Հայաստանի արտաքին քաղաքական ուղեգծի փոփոխություն, Հայ Յեղափոխական Դաշնակցությունը կոալիցիային իր մասնակցության նպատակահարմարության հարցը կքննարկի առաջիկա օրերին:

Haik said...

Who cares what Dashnaktsutyun says. It is a "Mickey Mouse with flip flops" party.

artmika said...

To be honest, I do not care that much. Neither support nor trust them. Just an interesting development to keep an eye.

Onnik Krikorian said...

I won't believe ARF-D until they actually resign from the coalition government which they should probably do today or at least by the weekend.

Meanwhile, we are already expecting the ARF-D to take an anti-Republican party approach in next month's municipal election just as they did in last year's presidential vote.

I can't help but think this tantrum fits in with that. Unless they finally resign from the government I can't take anything they say seriously.

Enough of threats and statements. If they want to be taken seriously let them actually follow through.

Ani said...

Nothing in the NYTimes (so what's new?) but this article is in the Washington Post: http://tinyurl.com/c33692
[...]
The American official said Turkish and Armenian leaders were well aware of Obama's planned statement.

"Maybe the timing had something to do with it," the official said, speaking of the agreement. "But this is a bigger deal." The talks had been going on for about a year, he said, and the tentative accord wasn't a "last-minute panicky thing."

The White House did not respond to queries on whether Obama would still describe the killings as "genocide."
[...]
The accord would open the border between the neighbors and establish a "road map" for normalized relations, with subcommittees handling matters ranging from economic ties to the environment, the U.S. official said. One of the subcommittees would examine historical issues -- namely the massacres.

In reaching the agreement, Turkey also won a commitment from Washington to accelerate its efforts to settle the dispute over the breakaway territory of Nagorno-Karabakh, which is inside Azerbaijan, a Turkish ally, but is under ethnic Armenian control.
------------------

Re the ARF, since their funding mostly comes from the Diaspora, it seems they'd have no choice but to resign from the coalition if Obama renigs on saying "genocide," so I'd expect them to wait until tomorrow, then have a meeting. Hope people thinking of voting for them again in May manage to have a memory, though.

BSW said...

About ARF in English:

http://www.azatutyun.am/content/article/1613711.html

BSW said...

Mika, since u speak Russian and in the UK this blog might be of some interest for u as well, I got the link from that guy :

http://b-zabugorski.livejournal.com/

(ete, iharke, der chgites;-)

artmika said...

No, I had no idea about that blog. Will have a look, thanks.

artmika said...

More on the topic. RFE/RL: Dashnaktsutyun Condemns Turkish-Armenian Deal

Haik said...

the interesting and ironic thing in all these events is that now it turns out that as if it is Armenia who is responsible for not opening the boarder. Even the people in Yerevan streets think that way. People simply say "we shouldn't open the boarder". This is a tragic perception probably due to very subtle brainwashing. People forget that it is Turkey that keeps the boarder closed while we are (or rather were) ready to have it opened without any preconditions which could be the recognition of Genocide by Turkey. Now Armenia will get all the blame and hence will be forced to do things without even a compromise.

On another note, simple and tiny things are good indicators to show the sorry state of the Armenian policymakers. They translated the term “Road Map” to «ճանապարհային քարտեզ» which looses the real meaning and hence creating the perception and confusing people (Cognitive dissonance ?). Even I was caught in it while I know the term very well. It creates the perception as if now diplomats are discussing that how cars will be moved between Turkey and Armenia. So as if we have the boarder open already and the only remaining thing is to put the road signs. I am not sure if this is a special move to play with peoples minds or is just a destructive stupidity which is as strong crime as the previous.

Ani said...

Well, this one's intriguing--did the WSJ reporter travel to Yerevan to "sit down" with SS, or did this happen somewhere else? Anyway, the translator did quite a job, must say (sorry tinyurl won't load):

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB
124041090806043783.html?mod=googlenews_wsj

Anonymous said...

As long as Armenia with mainly Russian forces invading the 20% Azerbaijan territory and expelled one million Azeris with all the war crime facts with Hocali massacre..With this bad record Armenians are folowing a brutal propoganda campaign blackmailing Turks everywhere..In this circumstance for that reason I see no reason to have any road any map anything constructve with Armenians...what we shall do is focus on our arguments not "defense"...We shall also open our past notes about armenians..I can not believe how passive our exterior minister and their officials is...Very sad...Second why what Obama says is thatmuch important?We know the facts and we can fight for the reality and we can also fight against US if he is the one who is blackmailing us..We shall not make any compromise to an enemy just because we are afraid of Obamas speech..It is very very sad..Are we an independent state or dependent to US?

artmika said...

Opposition Armenian National Congress (ANS) issued a statement today demanding from the authorities an immediate disclosure of the content of Armenia - Turkey deal. ANS says it will give its political assessment after the document is officially published.

Statement (in Armenian)
23.04.2008

Երեկ Հայաստանի, Թուրքիայի և Շվեյցարիայի արտաքին գերատեսչությունները համատեղ հայտարարություն են տարածել հայ-թուրքական հաշտեցման գործընթացի վերաբերյալ: Հայտարարության մեջ նշվում է, որ երկու կողմերը «համաձայնության են հանգել իրենց երկկողմ հարաբերությունների կարգավորմանհամապարփակ շրջանակի շուրջ երկու կողմերին գոհացնող կերպով», ինչը նշանակում է, որ ըստ էության ավարտված են հաշտեցման շուրջ բանակցությունները, և գոյություն ունի երկկողմ համաձայնեցված փաստաթուղթ:

Քանի որ խոսքը գնում է վերջնական համաձայնեցված շրջանակների մասին, Հայ Ազգային Կոնգրեսը պահանջում է Հայաստանի գործող իշխանություններից' անհապաղ հրապարակել ոչ միայն Հայաստանի, այլեւ ողջ հայության շահերին առնչվող այս փաստաթուղթը: Ինչ վերաբերում է Հայ ազգային կոնգրեսի՝ սույն փաստի քաղաքական գնահատականին, այն մենք կտանք նշված փաստաթղթի պաշտոնական հրապարակումից հետո։

iddewes said...

well leaving the border closed doesn't sound like normalisation...:(

Anonymous said...

Today armenians burned the Turkish flag..Very unfortunate that the flag is made up immitation of real one..As the border is closed the ultranationalists couldnt get the real flag...Todays scene is another indication of what is being handled is very difficult process.This scenery has make a great impact in ordinary people in Turkey..Even those of the ones who are neutral to make a step forward is confused with that scenery...

artmika said...

Yes, flag burning is an unfortunate incident which repeats over the last couple of years. I have always condemned it.

artmika said...

Obama 'recognised' the Armenian Genocide... for Armenians only

artmika said...

Interesting and telling quote from the Istanbul Calling blog:

"The details of the “roadmap” are still vague, but what is clear is that, for now, the Turkish-Armenian announcement had less to do with repairing the two countries’ relations and more to do with protecting Turkish-American relations."

artmika said...

Hurriyet: Implicit 'genocide' threat lies behind Turkey-Armenia breakthrough

[...] An implicit threat by U.S. President Barack Obama to use the word "genocide" in an annual April 24 address to Armenians, followed by increasing frankness from diplomats, was pivotal to strong-arming Turkey and Armenia out of their deadlock. [...]

In the run-up to the April 24 commemoration of the tragedy, which in recent years has included a presidential address, lobbying efforts by all sides converged on the White House to seek use of the word or oppose it. To date, Turks have largely been successful in the annual ritual. But the dynamics changed with the new Obama presidency because he had pledged to use the sensitive word during his campaign. It is now clear that his pledge, and ultimately his nuanced breaking of it by using the Armenian term for the events, "Meds Yerghern" (Great Catastrophe), was the key to the tentative reconciliation. [...]

In those talks the Turkish side insisted on a reference to Nagorno-Karabakh. Ankara specifically sought a pledge to withdraw from at least five of seven regions surrounding Nagorno-Karabakh that Armenia had occupied in addition to the enclave, to use as a bargain chip. Armenians refused to bow to U.S. pressure, however, the Turkish side was asked to accept the deal without reference to the Nagorno-Karabakh problem. Turkey only swallowed the package after it was made clear that in the absence of a brokered deal Obama would use the word "genocide."

Obama did not and that has angered many Armenians, including one political party that abandoned the coalition government in response. In Turkey, the alternative phrase, and his further words "one of the great atrocities of the 20th century," has not gone down well either, leading some to accuse the president of disingenuousness. [...]

Diplomatic sources told the Daily News that Armenia refuses to withdraw from five regions surrounding the enclave unless there is a complete deal. [...]