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In an interview published by Hurriyetdailynews.com, Ex-US Ambassador to Azerbaijan, Former US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs and US mediator in Nagorno-Karabakh talks made a number of remarks, which sound quite sympathetic of Turkey.
I’m not sure, if it is acceptable for such a senior former US official to make such public statements so soon after leaving office. Here are some extracts:
Q: How Turkey should tackle the Armenian lobby’s efforts?
A: Truth is on everyone side, especially on Turkey’s side. The debate about this issue is really one-sided right now. Anybody who voices a different view is attacked as a genocide-denier, which immediately means you are against human rights. If you believe there was a genocide committed, you can equally argue looking from a narrow definition of the word that genocide was committed to many others, against Turks or Muslims, in eastern Anatolia. Let’s have a dialogue of the multiple atrocities that [were committed against] many groups. Let’s talk about it all. Let’s be fair and not forget the suffering of others.
Q: What has failed in Turkish-Armenian reconciliation? Is it because the NK dimension was neglected in the protocols?
A: The Turkish leadership realized that by opening the border with Armenia totally outside the context of NK, Turkey was moving in a new direction because Turkey closed the border in the context of the NK conflict. Azerbaijanis will never forget that. Azerbaijanis have significant political influence in Turkey.
In Azerbaijan there is no country that is as loved as Turkey. It is overwhelmingly the most popular country in Azerbaijan. It was always painful for me to see [the U.S.’] approval rating in the 20s and 30s while Turkey was well into the 90s. So if anybody takes a step that Azerbaijan is extremely uncomfortable with, that step will never succeed in Turkish politics. It’s impossible.
PS: The California Courier’s Harut Sassounian has published a highly critical piece on the issue.