Analysis: Turkey continues to “earn dividends” on Armenian theme

According to the Turkish Hurriyet, speaking at a recent international forum entitled “Turkey’s Policy of Initiative in the Modern World” in Istanbul, Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said that within the next two-three months, a Turkish scholar of Armenian descent, economist by training will be dispatched to Paris as Turkey’s permanent representative to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in France.

The man in question is Daron Acemoglu who is currently professor of applied economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Acemoglu has delayed a decision on the proposal, saying, however, it was a big honor to him. Meanwhile Armenian experts have already stated that Turkey continues “to earn political dividends” on Armenian issues.

Both political and expert circles in Armenia argue that if Ankara indeed wants to normalize relations with its neighbors, then it should ratify the Armenian-Turkish protocols that have been in the Turkish parliament for already more than a year. Turkish leaders have repeatedly linked Armenian-Turkish relations with the Karabakh settlement, something that official Yerevan disagrees on.

“If Turkey wants to show itself as a reliable player in the international arena, a player whose signature has value, then it should open its border with Armenia this year and ratify the Protocols on the normalization of Armenian-Turkish relations in the coming months,” stated Secretary General of the European Friends of Armenia (EuFoA) organization Michael Kambeck.

If Turkey does not want the failure of this process, it must immediately demonstrate its willingness to ratify the protocols and move towards the settlement of relations, stated Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandyan at a press briefing in Washington.

Moreover, the Armenian parliamentary opposition represented by the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF) Dashnaktsutyun is calling on the current administration in Yerevan to withdraw Armenia’s signature put to the protocols in October 2009.

“Armenia must abandon the Armenian-Turkish protocols before the anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, April 24, to avoid grounds for speculation,” warns representative of the ARF Executive Council of Armenia, Director of the International Secretariat of the ARF Bureau in Yerevan Giro Manoyan.

Meanwhile, for the first time one can hear resolute calls in Armenia for nullifying the Moscow Treaty of 1921, according to which the Armenian territory was divided between Kemalist Turkey and Bolshevist Russia. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that the treaty defined the eastern borders of his state. ARF, meanwhile, insists that the treaty was signed without a representative of Armenia, by a Turkey that did not exist on the world map and by an unrecognized Bolshevist Russia. Press secretary and senior member of the ruling Republican Party of Armenia Eduard Sharmazanov has backed this opinion.

Earlier this month, the ARF Youth Union and the Nikol Aghbalian student union held a protest at the Russian Embassy in Yerevan, demanding that Russia recognize the Moscow Treaty null and void. The protest was timed to the 90th anniversary of the treaty and the concurrent visit by the Turkish prime minister to Moscow.

Since independence in 1991, Armenia has not declared its recognition of the validity of the Moscow and Kars treaties that defined its Soviet predecessor’s borders.

According to some experts, now, apparently, the Turkish state has seen a real threat to its territorial integrity and will make every possible step to prove its tolerance toward the Armenian people.