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10 Major Concerns Regarding Armenia-Turkey Protocols

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  • 10 Major Concerns Regarding Armenia-Turkey Protocols

    http://www.aysor.am/en/news/2009/09/22/armturkprotocol/



    In earlier columns, I had described the major negative aspects of the already initialed Armenia-Turkey Protocols made public on August 31. The concerns I had expressed dealt with two unacceptable preconditions -- recognizing the territorial integrity of Turkey and establishing a joint committee of experts to study historical archives, a not so-veiled reference to re-examining the Armenian Genocide.

    Below is a more comprehensive evaluation, providing 10 reasons why the Armenian government should not have initialed, and should not sign and ratify these Protocols:

    1) Armenia's leaders made the misjudgment of trying to resolve a large number of emotionally-charged Armenian-Turkish issues all at once, through a single agreement. Decades of antagonism cannot be dealt with in such haste. Armenian officials should have proceeded cautiously and gradually, starting with the simple step of establishing diplomatic relations, followed by the opening of the border. More complicated issues should have been left for a later date.

    2) Since the declared purpose of these negotiations is the opening of the border with Armenia -- which Turkey shut down 16 years ago -- there was no reason to conduct such protracted and complex negotiations, and draft an elaborate document that included many unrelated and unacceptable conditions. It may have been wiser to draft a one-sentence agreement that would have simply stated: "Armenia and Turkey agree to establish diplomatic relations and declare their mutual border open on January 1, 2010." In fact, such a one-line agreement was adopted by the United States and Turkey in 1927, when establishing diplomatic relations.

    3) Armenia did not have to make any concessions in order to entice Turkey to open its border. Since Turkey has been desperately trying to join the European Union for several decades, it has no choice but to open its border with Armenia. The EU requires that all member states have open borders with neighboring countries.

    4) By rushing to shut down the border in 1993, Turkey deprived itself of an important leverage over Armenia. Should Turkey reopen the border, it would once again repossess that leverage, holding the threat of closing the border as a Damoclean Sword over Armenia's head. This threat becomes particularly potent, once Armenia's population is increasingly dependent on imported, cheap Turkish foodstuffs and goods. Should Turkey decide to close the border in the future under some pretext, Armenia's leaders would not be able to reverse the damage done to the nation's interests, even if they abrogated the Protocols!

    5) Prime Minister Erdogan said once again last week that Turkey would not open its border with Armenia, unless the Karabagh (Artsakh) conflict is resolved. Armenia's leaders should announce that they will not sign these Protocols, since Turkish officials have made it crystal clear that they have no intention of keeping their side of the bargain.

    6) Retired Turkish Ambassador Yalim Eralp made an important disclosure during a recent interview. He stated that the Turkish Parliament, while ratifying the Protocols, could declare them to be valid only after the resolution of the Karabagh conflict. Should the Turks advance such a condition, the Armenian Parliament could retaliate by requiring that the Protocols go into effect only after Turkey acknowledges the Armenian Genocide and Azerbaijan recognizes the Republic of Artsakh!

    7) The Protocols do not include any requirement that they be signed and ratified by a particular date. The oft-mentioned October 12 or 13 signature dates are not mentioned in the text of the Protocols. The Armenian government should not rush to sign and ratify these Protocols. Armenia's leaders may yet be saved from damaging their country's interests by Turkey's reluctance to ratify the Protocols. Turkey may blink first!

    8) Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian admitted last week that there is no legal requirement to submit these Protocols to Parliament for ratification. However, such ratification would unnecessarily compound the damage done to Armenia's national interests.

    9) The Armenian government made no attempt during the lengthy negotiations with Turkey to consult with Diaspora Armenians, despite the fact that the Protocols addressed vital pan-Armenian issues. Months ago, when organizations and individuals expressed serious concerns regarding the preliminary text of the Protocols, they were simply ignored by the Armenian authorities. Attempts to hold discussions at the eleventh hour are futile, since the Armenian Foreign Minister has declared that the Protocols cannot be amended.

    10) When the Armenian President met with leaders of more than 50 political parties in Yerevan last week, the five-hour-long "consultations" were held behind closed doors. Regrettably, only the President's remarks were publicized. One would hope that when Pres. Sargsyan goes on his planned trip in early October to Paris, New York, Los Angeles, Moscow, and Beirut, his discussions with Diaspora leaders would be more open and transparent, and preferably televised.

    The one unintended outcome of this heated controversy is the coming together of diverse Armenian organizations to take a common stand against these Protocols. It is everyone's earnest hope that the intense intra-Armenian discord would not last long and Armenia's leaders would find the courage and wisdom to stand down from their decision to sign and ratify these Protocols detrimental to the Armenian Cause.

    By Harut Sassounian
    Publisher, The California Courier


    TODAY, 17:21

    Aysor.am
    "All truth passes through three stages:
    First, it is ridiculed;
    Second, it is violently opposed; and
    Third, it is accepted as self-evident."

    Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860)

  • #2
    Re: 10 Major Concerns Regarding Armenia-Turkey Protocols

    This author makes the same mistake that most others seem to be making, he doesn't understand that Armenia needs the open border more then turckey does. Armenias leaders are not going to sign anything against Armenias interest, if they do sign something it will be for its interest.
    Hayastan or Bust.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: 10 Major Concerns Regarding Armenia-Turkey Protocols

      Originally posted by Haykakan View Post
      This author makes the same mistake that most others seem to be making, he doesn't understand that Armenia needs the open border more then turckey does. Armenias leaders are not going to sign anything against Armenias interest, if they do sign something it will be for its interest.
      Can you explain to us in solid terms what exactly you are expecting out of the opening of the borders with Turkey?
      I was taught how to think.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: 10 Major Concerns Regarding Armenia-Turkey Protocols

        Originally posted by Haykakan View Post

        Armenias leaders are not going to sign anything against Armenias interest, if they do sign something it will be for its interest.
        There is no doubt there is a lot pessure being applied to the Armenian side ( and dare I say to the Turkish side).

        The reason I am suggesting this is the fact that it is taking so long for a "no precondition" agreement to be aceived. Otherwise this would have been only a formality.

        One would only apply pressure if the other side is resisting, because it regards certain conditions against its interests. (Sorry the unconditional is out of the window by now).

        Your statement suggests that those powers who are applying the pressure will walk away and say " sorry folks I did my best but I give up".
        No chance.
        Last edited by londontsi; 09-22-2009, 10:56 AM.
        Politics is not about the pursuit of morality nor what's right or wrong
        Its about self interest at personal and national level often at odds with the above.
        Great politicians pursue the National interest and small politicians personal interests

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: 10 Major Concerns Regarding Armenia-Turkey Protocols

          Actualy if you wana look at it optomoisticly it could be a lot more but lets keep things real.
          1. End our reliance on Georgia as the only transit route.
          2. Pressure on Azerbadjan to make peace over kharabagh.
          3. Inclusion of Armenia in international projects (oil pipelines, highways, railways..)
          4. Excess to Turckey's market (selling and buying) and the markets of many other countries will become more easy and cheaper to do business with.
          5. Cheaper shipping and airline flights to and from Armenia.
          6. The end of two countries demonizing eachother and opening up of honest dialogue even genocide recognition eventually.
          It does not take a genious to see how given Armenias location free borders could make it a hub of asia/europe/middle east economics and transportation activity. It also is not hard to see how all this can transform Armenia into a economically and strategically very important country which i think should be our goal to begin with. And the price for this according to the protocals is a joint study of the genocide and recognition of borders which already exist. In conclusion we have a lot to gain by giving up things we do not have anyways and are not going to get anytime soon. Sure the genocide is a proven fact and if they want to question it well let them, the proof and the facts are on our side. There are lots of good reasons why we need the border opened and there are more reasons for Armenia then Turckey eventhough Turckey has plenty to.
          Last edited by Haykakan; 09-22-2009, 08:42 PM.
          Hayastan or Bust.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: 10 Major Concerns Regarding Armenia-Turkey Protocols

            Originally posted by londontsi View Post
            There is no doubt there is a lot pessure being applied to the Armenian side ( and dare I say to the Turkish side).

            The reason I am suggesting this is the fact that it is taking so long for a "no precondition" agreement to be aceived. Otherwise this would have been only a formality.

            One would only apply pressure if the other side is resisting, because it regards certain conditions against its interests. (Sorry the unconditional is out of the window by now).

            Your statement suggests that those powers who are applying the pressure will walk away and say " sorry folks I did my best but I give up".
            No chance.
            I hope your right and something does get done vs nothing. The pressure is on both sides and this is one of the few moments in history where we can apply pressure on turckey via super powers. Lets hope its not the last.
            Hayastan or Bust.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: 10 Major Concerns Regarding Armenia-Turkey Protocols

              Originally posted by Haykakan View Post
              Actualy if you wana look at it optomoisticly it could be a lot more but lets keep things real.
              1. End our reliance on Georgia as the only transit route.
              2. Pressure on Azerbadjan to make peace over kharabagh.
              3. Inclusion of Armenia in international projects (oil pipelines, highways, railways..)
              4. Excess to Turckey's market (selling and buying) and the markets of many other countries will become more easy and cheaper to do business with.
              5. Cheaper shipping and airline flights to and from Armenia.
              6. The end of two countries demonizing eachother and opening up of honest dialogue even genocide recognition eventually.
              It does not take a genious to see how given Armenias location free borders could make it a hub of asia/europe/middle east economics and transportation activity. It also is not hard to see how all this can transform Armenia into a economically and strategically very important country which i think should be our goal to begin with. And the price for this according to the protocals is a joint study of the genocide and recognition of borders which already exist. In conclusion we have a lot to gain by giving up things we do not have anyways and are not going to get anytime soon. Sure the genocide is a proven fact and if they want to question it well let them, the proof and the facts are on our side. There are lots of good reasons why we need the border opened and there are more reasons for Armenia then Turckey eventhough Turckey has plenty to.
              Thanks Haykakan. What is the present situation considering Turkish goods in the Armenian market, is Armenia flooded with them whether or not the border is opened? Does this positively or negatively affect Armenian entrepreneurs? Under what conditions do you think trade relations between Armenia and Turkey be optimal for Armenian consumers and entrepreneurs? Do you consider that entrepreneurship in Armenia would not improve or decline regardless of trade with Turkey due to the Oligarchical situation of Armenian business today?
              I was taught how to think.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: 10 Major Concerns Regarding Armenia-Turkey Protocols

                Originally posted by Haykakan View Post
                4. Excess to Turckey's market (selling and buying) and the markets of many other countries will become more easy and cheaper to do business with.
                Right again. They say "Armenia would be under an invasion of Turkish goods" however; they forgot that it would not be the Turkish government who would be selling those goods. It would be Turkish businessmen and at the end; they would also stand against re-close down of the borders. They would not want a bad relationship with Armenia again and this would be a pressure over Ankara.

                Also, Turkish construction sector (business) is one of the leading ones of the world. Huge Turkish companies are nearly everywhere, building airports, governmental sites, malls, thousands of apartments... Those guys are powerful and they are more effective than the small traders. Obviously they'd start constructing Armenia too; just to give an example; most of them are currently doing business in Northern Iraq (aka Iraqi Kurdistan). You know Turkey is not friendly to that region; however those construction giants do not care and more, they take off the pressure between Turkey and Iraq.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: 10 Major Concerns Regarding Armenia-Turkey Protocols

                  Originally posted by Haykakan View Post
                  Armenias leaders are not going to sign anything against Armenias interest, if they do sign something it will be for its interest.

                  Originally posted by Haykakan View Post
                  I hope your right and something does get done vs nothing. The pressure is on both sides and this is one of the few moments in history where we can apply pressure on turckey via super powers. Lets hope its not the last.
                  Haykakan
                  My point was that if a leader is under pressure it means that he is being made to agree to something which instinctively he would not agree to.

                  And if we agree that Armenia is under pressure it means that it will be made to agree against its will to the issues which are very dear to our nation.
                  Last edited by londontsi; 09-22-2009, 05:48 PM.
                  Politics is not about the pursuit of morality nor what's right or wrong
                  Its about self interest at personal and national level often at odds with the above.
                  Great politicians pursue the National interest and small politicians personal interests

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: 10 Major Concerns Regarding Armenia-Turkey Protocols

                    Iondontsi both leaders are under pressure thus your argument applies to both sides. JK3 Armenia is already flooded with turckish goods, just go to the market in yerevan and see for yourself. The oligarks along with everybody else will have a chance to compete in turckeys market which is way bigger then Armenias, Armenian companies produce some good stuff which they can sell in turckey and profit from it (ice cream, chocolates, certain fruits...). Army Armenia also has a strong construction industry which can compete in Turckey and i agree that once borders are open no one will want to close them again. I am sure there will be businesses which will suffer because of competition on both sides because of open borders but there will be many more that benefit.
                    Hayastan or Bust.

                    Comment

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