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April 15, 2010

ACNIS Again Looks at the Prospects for the Normalization of the Armenian-Turkish Relations

Yerevan—At the threshold of the Armenian Genocide’s 95th anniversary, the Armenian Center for National and International Studies (ACNIS) today convened yet another roundtable discussion regarding the prospects for the normalization of the Armenian-Turkish relations against the backdrop of the most recent developments.

Extending his greetings to the participants, ACNIS Administrative Director Dr. Karapet Kalenchian noted that such discussions, which are devoted to the most important aspects of the Armenian-Turkish diplomacy and the possible scenarios for this problem’s resolution, greatly help clarify Armenia’s current foreign policy trajectory. “The ‘Road Map,’ which came into being exactly one year ago, and then the well-known ‘Protocols,’ are documents that were signed behind the backs of our people, they were a shock to the Armenian people, and they have caused dramatically opposing views to this day,” Kalenchian stated, underscoring the need to shed further light on this matter. In his view, instead of signing debatable documents, it will be correct to simply exchange notes and thus to establish diplomatic relations and open the borders, as it was rightly stated by Raffi K. Hovannisian, Armenia’s first Minister of Foreign Affairs.

ACNIS Senior Analyst Manvel Sargsian presented his analysis concerning the general context of the “Washington” phase of the Armenian-Turkish talks. He maintained that Turkey continues to act irrationally and to posit preconditions upon Armenia, but, at the same time, its efforts toward linking the Karabagh issue to this process are not comprehended by the United States. “Turkey has to reconcile with the fact that, since its obstinacy is to its own detriment, the Western countries, and particularly the Unites States, in the first place, have intensified the efforts to recognize the Armenian genocide of 1915, and are using this issue as an additional leverage to put pressure on Turkey,” Sargsian remarked. “Even Azerbaijan has come to understand that, with its absurd demands, it is paralyzing the political policy of its ‘big brother.’” Sargsian concluded that Turkey is now standing before the imperative of reviewing its stand with respect to normalizing relations with Armenia.

For his part, ACNIS Director Richard Giragosian noted that following the recent meeting in Washington between Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian, there are renewed expectations of hope that the process of Turkish-Armenian “normalization” is back on track. He explained that while the meeting represented the “last chance” for Turkey to meet expectations, new obstacles are coming, including the April 24th anniversary of the Armenian genocide, which affirms that the real test for this latest round of Turkish-Armenian diplomacy is only beginning.

The presentations were then followed by a series of questions and answers, and featured a lively exchange among several analysts, experts and journalists.

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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