Talk of new Turkish-Armenian normalization roadmap activates ahead of Davutoglu’s Yerevan visit

The Foreign Ministry of Armenia has refuted the information published by the Aravot daily claiming that Armenia has drafted another roadmap for normalization of Armenian-Turkish relations and passed it over to Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmed Davutoglu through “diplomatic channels”.

The new roadmap allegedly rests upon three points: Turkey publicly admits the fact of the Armenian Genocide, its responsibility before the Diaspora Armenians scattered around the world; Turkey immediately opens the Turkish-Armenian border and establishes diplomatic relations with Armenia. In the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict settlement process Turkey assumes a peaceful settlement mediator’s role and becomes entitled to implement social projects aimed at controlling bellicose rhetoric, prevention of border incidents, sniper withdrawal and preparation of the conflicting societies to peace.

“Reportedly Davutoglu, during his visit to Yerevan, will get a chance to inform Edward Nalbandyan about official Ankara’s position on the roadmap submitted by Armenia,” writes the daily.

Foreign Ministry spokesperson Tigran Balayan has told several local media representatives that: “Our standpoint on the Armenian-Turkish relations is clear-cut and has remained unchanged over the past few years – ratification of the signed protocols and their practical implementation,” he said in reference to the Armenian-Turkish protocols signed on October 10, 2009, in Zurich.

This week three traditional Diaspora political parties – the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun), Social Democrat Hunchakian Party and the Ramkavar Azatakan Party – have made a reference to this issue in a statement which says: “We are urging the Armenian authorities to fully assess the potential destructive consequences of the Armenian-Turkish protocols and have the National Assembly of Armenia remove that issue from its agenda once and for all. We are urging the President of Armenia to annul his signature.”

Davutoglu’s visit is scheduled for December 12 for participation in the 29th session of the Organization of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC) Yerevan will host. Turkish media has circulated information that as part of the visit Davutoglu would reportedly put forward a demand to Armenia to open the border. Should at least two of the seven “occupied Azeri lands” be returned, the Armenian-Turkish border would open and that accepting this condition would spur the Armenian economy.

Nonetheless, Davutoglu himself told the press in relation to the motives of his visit that the session of the BSEC foreign ministers’ council is on December 12 and all the members are invited.

“There is no need to present it as special or different. Our desire and goal is to improve the Turkish-Armenian relations, as well as settle the issues between Armenia and Azerbaijan, ensure development and establishment of lasting peace in the South Caucasus,” said Davutoglu.

Expert in Turkish studies Andranik Ispiryan believes the Turkish foreign minister’s visit to Armenia comes in the highlight of dramatic regional developments.

“It is certainly not a secret that the main purpose of Davutoglu’s visit is related to the approaching 2015 [100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide], however there are also secondary issues. Its failed politics in the Middle East – Syria, Iraq, recently also Egypt, as well as Russian President Vladimir Putin’s recent visit to Armenia, have forced Turkey to remind of its existence,” says Ispiryan.

According to him, Davutoglu’s principle of “zero problems with neighbors” has turned into the “zero neighbors, multiple problems” reality, which will force the Turkish side to reconsider its political course.