Why Are We So Anxious About Armenia?

Turkish Press
Published: 5/19/2005


RADIKAL- There has been a great revival in Turkey's initiatives
concerning Armenia with recent efforts from both Prime Minister
Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the Foreign Ministry. The reason for this
revival isn't developments in Armenia or on the international stage,
but Ankara's initiatives. Actually, Turkish-Armenian relations are
the same as they were, for example, five years ago. In other words,
at that time both Armenia and other countries under its influence
wanted Turkey to open its border with Armenia, and today the same
thing holds. At that time, Turkey said the reason for the closed
border came from the Nagorno-Karabagh issue and Armenia's invasion
of Azerbaijani territories; it's saying the same thing today.

Armenian President Robert Kocharian has been emphasizing the
so-called Armenian genocide since the day he took the office. Former
Armenian President Levon Ter Petrosyan talked about the same thing
as well. The word 'genocide' makes the relations of two countries
more difficult. Indeed, since Kocharian became president, Turkey's
embargo on Armenia has grown harsher. The Armenian people are
suffering under this embargo and there are great economic problems
in this small country. Besides, Kocharian's uncompromising stance
has brought the country to a serious economic collapse, because the
population is fleeing the country. Turkey used to only watch this
situation. However, recently Turkey started to seek dialogue with
Armenia, maybe in order to impress European Union member countries,
or due to other reasons. In the past, Armenia was pursuing Turkey,
but now there's an impression that the situation is just the opposite
due to the ignorance and carelessness of certain columnist in the
Turkish press. However, there's nothing new in this confusion. The
key for Turkish-Armenian relations is the Nagorno-Karabagh issue
and Armenia's occupation of one-fifth of Azerbaijan's territory. If
the occupation ends and Armenia and Azerbaijan reach an agreement,
this situation would relieve Turkish-Armenian relations as well. At
least, both countries would be able to talk about their bilateral
relations. The issue of the so-called genocide is a political matter
not only between Turkey and Armenia, but also between Turkey and the
Armenian diaspora living in the West. If one day Turkish-Armenian
relations were normalized, the pressure of the genocide allegations
on Turkey would be lighter.