Real outcome of Nagorno-Karabakh conflict to depend on how Turkey solves contradiction in its own foreign policy: Armenian expert Richard Giragosian

Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict Materials 9 December 2009 10:26 (UTC +04:00)

Azerbaijan, Baku, Dec. 8 / Trend E. Tariverdiyeva /

At this late stage, after Turkey removed any and all references to Nagorno-Karabakh from its diplomatic protocols with Armenia, it is increasingly difficult, and perhaps even impossible, for Ankara to now demand some new concession from Yerevan over Karabakh, Armenian Center for National and International Studies (ACNIS) director, Richard Giragosian, said.

"This is a basic contradiction between official Turkish foreign policy, which makes no such demand, and Turkey's unofficial language threatening to halt the process with Armenia unless there is progress. Thus, the real outcome for both Armenia and Azerbaijan will depend on how, and if, Turkey solves this contradiction in its own foreign policy," Giragosian told trend News via E-mail. 

Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan and Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu are on an official visit to the United States. During the visit, meetings between the Turkish side, President Barack Obama and other members of the U.S. administration were held. During these meetings they discussed issues concerning Iran, the normalization of Armenian-Turkish relations and the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

Turkish and Armenian foreign ministers Ahmet Davutoglu and Edward Nalbandian signed the Ankara-Yerevan protocols in Zurich Oct. 10. Diplomatic relations between Armenia and Turkey were broken in 1993.

During the recent visit to Washington of a senior Turkish delegation led by Prime Mister Erdogan, Turkish officials reiterated that progress over Nagorno-Karabakh was essential if Turkey was to move forward on opening its border with Armenia and extending diplomatic relations with Yerevan, Giragosian said.

Expert said that Turkish officials now have a serious problem of trust-with both the Americans and the Armenians, as well as with the Azerbaijanis increasingly distrustful of Turkish motives and sincerity. This problem of trust centers on Turkey's earlier decision to no longer link Turkish policy toward Armenia to any direct progress over the Nagorno Karabakh conflict.

In fact, this contradiction has only bolstered the American and European positions of demanding that Turkey fulfill the protocols with Armenia without adding any last-minute demand, he said.

And the US goes even further in calling on Turkey to adopt the protocols within "a reasonable" timeframe, only adding further pressure on Turkey, in addition to the pressure on Ankara already evident from Baku's expectations, expert said.

The conflict between the two South Caucasus countries began in 1988 when Armenia made territorial claims against Azerbaijan. Armenian armed forces have occupied 20 percent of Azerbaijan since 1992, including the Nagorno-Karabakh region and 7 surrounding districts. Azerbaijan and Armenia signed a ceasefire agreement in 1994. The co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group - Russia, France, and the U.S. - are currently holding the peace negotiations.