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February 4, 2010


Yerevan—On February 4, Armenian Center for National and International Studies (ACNIS) Director Richard Giragosian spoke at a press conference at the “Hayatsk” press club and provided an updated, but critical assessment of the current state of Turkish-Armenian diplomacy.  Giragosian argued that in light of Turkey’s “latest display of political posturing and dubious attempt to pressure Armenia, the state of Armenian-Turkish diplomacy is no laughing matter.”

Giragosian noted that Armenian-Turkish diplomacy was “now stalled or deadlocked, as Turkey is attempting to create a new, unjustified political pretext to delay consideration of the Armenian–Turkish protocols.”  He argued that Turkey was seeking to maximize its power to prevent the US from recognizing the Armenian Genocide, as the US Congress is now set to consider new legislation calling on Washington to adopt a measure that would formally recognize the 95th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide on April 24, 2010.

He also stressed that “the real test of the protocols was the ‘price’ that Armenia would be forced to pay for Turkey’s decision to establish diplomatic relations and reopen the border that it illegally and unilaterally closed.”  He reminded the audience that “even in the best case scenario, if Turkey meets all of its commitments contained within the protocols, Turkey should not be praised or commended, as such steps are merely the basic minimum of normal behavior of modern states.”

Rather, he argued that “open borders and normal diplomatic relations represent only the first step toward forging basic, normal relations” between the two countries.

Giragosian further explained that “the entire process of ‘football diplomacy’ and subsequent protocols were limited to the ‘normalization’ or relations between Armenia and Turkey, but that the larger and more complex process of ‘reconciliation’ required much more from the Turkish side, starting with an honest and resolute acceptance of its legacy of genocide.”

Giragosian also noted that the recent Turkish criticism of the January 12 ruling by the Armenian Constitutional Court’s affirmation of the protocols was “the clearest evidence of the insincerity of this irresponsible Turkish strategy.”  He also explained that the Turkish Foreign Ministry’s statement alleging that the Armenian Court’s “decision contains preconditions and restrictive provisions which impair the letter and spirit of the protocols” was “a disingenuous and insincere ploy to try to shift the blame on Armenia for the stalled diplomacy.”

Turkey: An Unreliable Interlocutor?

The ACNIS director pointed out that while the Turkish attempt to “delay and stall the protocols” reflected a tactical move by Ankara to place the blame on Yerevan, “such a dubious tactic will not work, especially as both the US and Russia have each publicly and forcefully demanded that Turkey adopts the protocols within a reasonable time frame.”  But Giragosian warned that these latest developments only demonstrated that Turkey was an “unreliable and insincere interlocutor.”

The Angry American

Giragosian went on to say that “this Turkish tactic has already angered both Russia and the US, which both expect Turkey to fulfill its commitments to the protocols.”  He also argued that “if Turkey continued with this irresponsible policy toward Armenia, there would be a strong chance that the Obama Administration will punish Turkey and send a strong and clear message to Turkish leaders to meet expectations.”  Giragosian noted that the Armenian Genocide issue may “offer Washington the most effective and immediate way to express their displeasure with Ankara.”  And for President Obama, according to Giragosian, the “formal recognition of the Armenian Genocide on April 24 would offer an attractive opportunity to demonstrate his strong personal leadership and reaffirm his commitment to principles over politics.”

The Armenian Center for National and International Studies (ACNIS) is a leading independent strategic research center located in Yerevan, Armenia.  As an independent, objective institution committed to conducting professional policy research and analysis, ACNIS strives to raise the level of public debate and seeks to broaden public engagement in the public policy process, as well as fostering greater and more inclusive public knowledge. Founded in 1994, ACNIS is the institutional initiative of Raffi K. Hovannisian, Armenia’s first Minister of Foreign Affairs.  Over the past fifteen years, ACNIS has acquired a prominent reputation as a primary source of professional independent research and analysis covering a wide range of national and international policy issues.

For further information on the Center call (37410) 52-87-80 or 27-48-18; fax (37410) 52-48-46; email root@acnis.am or info@acnis.am; or visit www.acnis.am.

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The Armenian version of the press release:

Armenian version