Armenia-Turkey Relations: Where are we heading?

Over the past three years there have been some initiatives by Turkish and Armenian authorities to start some type of dialogue. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan suggested Armenian President Robert Kocharyan to establish a joint commission on Armenian Genocide issue, which was met with cautions response of the official Yerevan. On a more recent example, Armenian president Serzh Sargsyan has invited Turkish President Abdullah Gul to visit Armenia on September 6, 2008 to watch the World Cup qualifying match between Armenia and Turkey.

While the officials on both sides have not achieved any substantial results, a conductive environment has been created, at least in Armenia, for discussing possibilities of Armenian-Turkish reconcilliation. Strangely enough, reactions of the political forces on all sides of the political spectrum have so far been very disappointing. The pro-government parties have been reluctant to speak, with Kiro Manoyan of Dashnaktsutyun being a rare exception to speak up. The opposition, on the other hand, have been taking a rather strange stance, mostly ridiculing the attempts of President Serzh Sargsyan to do something that Levon Ter-Petrossian was suggesting in his pre-election program: start dialogue with Turkey.

Frankly, I don’t think anything will come out of this, considering the current political situation in Turkey – they have much bigger worries now then the Armenia-Turkey relations. However, I would have expected the political forces in Armenia, and especially the pro-government parties to start more logical and grounded discussions on the possibilities of improving Armenian-Turkish relations, especially as ‘their’ president – Serzh Sargsyan has come forward with the initiative.

Well, I guess we have what we have… or to be more correct, we don’t have what we don’t have – which is – political parties and political idiologies. This is just one more illustration, that there are no political parties in Armenia whatsoever.

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13 thoughts on “Armenia-Turkey Relations: Where are we heading?

  1. Politics makes for strange bedfellows and no where is this truer than in Armenia. What do njdehakans, dashnaks, a rule of law party, and criminal oligarchs have in common is anyone’s guess. To be fair, same goes for communists, conservatives and HHSh-akans. There are unfortunately no ideological beliefs, just different groups of people who might as well get together to form parties based on eye color (I refuse to believe there are 75 ways to move the country forward.)

    Frankly, as you, I was disappointed by the reactions of all involved. Dashnaks’ halfhearted protestations were just embarrassing, and showed why it gets such weak support within Armenia. The (for a lack of a better word)opposition’s seeming stance 180 was no more than an American styled pouncing on the implications of Serzhik’s proposal (is he QUESTIONING the genocide?) as opposed to the spirit/purpose of it. Although LTP did denounce the idea of the joint committee in one of his pre-election speeches, so perhaps the indignation was genuine.

    I found another reversal interesting as well: those who not that long ago were calling LTP a Turk and a traitor for the same thing, readily welcomed Serzhik’s foray into reconciliation with Turkey. Hypocrisy and hot air from all sides, yet still no substantial change “on the ground”.

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  8. Congratulations to the good spirit of those who arranged this visit. This is our very real hope for a world in which all peoples may reconcile their differences to create a society dedicated to peace, respect, and dignity.

    Several years ago pianist Atakan Sari became the first Turkish soloist ever to perform with the Armenian Philharmonic Orchestra. He was performing music of the Armenian composer Alan Hovhaness and was given a warm and heartfelt welcome by both orchestra and the Yerevan public.

    Not long afterwards, I myself performed music of Alan Hovhaness in Adana, Turkey, birthplace of Hovhaness’ father, Haroutioun Chakmakjian. The music was received wonderfully by the Turkish public. A ceremony honouring Hovhaness and his father was held afterwards with a container holding the Armenian symbol-a pomegranate, the Turkish symbol-nazarlik (talisman to ward off evil,) and a compact disc copy of Alan Hovhaness conducting his own Symphony No. 11, “All Men are Brothers.” was symbolically buried on a hilltop overlooking Adana. An encouraginging exchange of correspondence developed between Armenian and Turkish sides.

    Thank you to all those of good heart and courage working for peace.

  9. I think Turkey should not make this crime against itself: once they hugged ARmenians, who betrayed them so easily and now causing TUrks in committing genocide?

    A couple of years after opening the border Armenians will claim for another 3 million Armenian genocide by Turks :)))

    Just stay away from Armenians. Keep your hands clean from them…

  10. We are heading to the future. It is obvious that there cannot be same situation in 20-50 years, we cannot leave in the blockade, and it is not normal to be closed from the rest of the world.

    So be prepared, we will live in peace with our neighbors, borders will be opened, and there will be intercommunication between all of them. A road and train from Baku to Istambul through Armenia. And there should not be winners and losers. The only thing is to know and understand your claims and priorities and stand up for them, not just be afraid that somebody will win or lose.

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