Al Jazeera: Turkey’s Davutoglu links Armenia rapprochement with Karabakh, makes case for history review

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu has again said that the ratification of the recently signed protocols with Armenia on establishing diplomatic ties and developing bilateral relations will be largely contingent on progress in the settlement of the Armenian-Azerbaijani dispute over Nagorno-Karabakh and called the Armenian case for the recognition of the 1915 genocide “a war of propaganda”.

The Armenian government has denied that progress in the separate peace talks with Azerbaijan over the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and a historical study of the World War I-era killings and mass deportations of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire are part of the deal to normalize relations with Turkey.

In a wide-ranging interview with Al Jazeera aired on Monday, Davutoglu said that the Armenia-Turkey protocols will have “a positive impact on the stability of the South Caucasus and particularly on the Armenian-Azeri dispute, to end the occupation of Azeri territories by Armenia.”

“Such progress will have a very positive impact on the ratification process in our parliament. But if there is deterioration of the situation or if there is no hope for such a development, then the members of our parliaments will have a negative tendency to vote,” said Davutoglu. “We want to prepare the political and psychological ground… We need to have some progress in the peace talks, because Azerbaijan is a strategic ally and almost a domestic issue in Turkish foreign policy… The occupation of 20 percent of Azerbaijani territory is illegal. The international community should ask this and should bring this to an end.”

The Turkish minister also referred to the Armenian Genocide as “war of propaganda” and argued that the intergovernmental sub-commission to be established between Armenia and Turkey as part of the procedures envisaged by the protocols will help achieve “a just memory”.

“I am a scholar and a historian. Historical facts should be searched based on historical documents. There is a historical fact and a war of propaganda. Until now what we’ve observed was a war of propaganda for political purposes. This new commission will take it to the right place - a research based on historical data… What we want to achieve through this commission is a just memory not one-sided memory,” said Davutoglu. “I am self-confident, I know the archives.”

Many in Armenia and its worldwide Diaspora fear that the provision of the protocols on the establishment of such an intergovernmental sub-commission with a vague mandate means opening a debate int the Armenian Genocide, which will eventually put an end to the broader Armenian push for the recognition, by the world governments, of the mass killings and deportations of Armenians in Ottoman Turkey as genocide. President Serzh Sargsyan and his political allies deny any preconditions were set by Turkey in the normalization process and vow not to make either Karabakh or the Genocide an issue for compromise in the future.