Turkey can Establish Relations with Armenia not Awaiting Settlement of Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict

Azerbaijan, Baku, November 29/ Trend , corr B. Hasanov, V. Zhavoronkova/ If Armenia makes some "concessions", Turkey can establish certain ties with Armenia not awaiting settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

"If Armenia gives up its "genocide" claims and announces good neighborly relations and recognizes territorial integrity of Turkey, Turkey can establish relations with Armenia on a certain level," Kamer Kasim, expert at the International Center of Strategic Studies of Turkey, said by telephone from Ankara.

Official Yerevan says that Armenia's position regarding the so-called "Armenian genocide" has changed.

Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandyan stated that it is possible to investigate "Armenian genocide" together with the Commission of Historians to be set up by Armenia and Turkey, Turkish Zaman newspaper reported.

Armenia argues that the Ottoman Empire, predecessor of Turkey, committed genocide against Armenians in 1915. Armenians and Armenian lobby are staging anti-Turkey campaign all over the world to persuade the world of the "genocide".

Armenia has not yet accepted Turkey's proposal to set up a joint Turkish-Armenian Commission to investigate Armenia's genocide claims on the basis of historical facts. Armenia announced that the so-called "genocide" is historical truth and rejected suspicions about it.

Armenian-Turkish ties have been severed since 1993 because of Armenia's false "genocide" claims and occupation of 20% of Azerbaijani lands. Turkish President Abdullah Gul visited Yerevan on September 6, 2008 at the invitation of his Armenian counterpart Serzh Sarkisyan to watch Armenia-Turkey football match within the European Cup. Efforts have been made since then to normalize ties between the two countries. The last bilateral meeting between Armenian and Turkish officials took place on November 24 between Turkish and Armenian foreign ministers within the meeting of foreign ministers of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation Organization (BSEC) held in Istanbul.

Though Armenia's normal relation to setting up joint historical commission is of great importance from the viewpoint of relations between the two countries, it is not enough to open borders, European expert Amanda Akcacoca said. "In order to open border and normalize diplomatic relations Armenia will need to recognize in writing Turkey's eastern border," Akcacoca, expert of European Policy Center, said by e-mail from Brussels. She said Turkey does not have a power to put pressure on Armenia in the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. "Resolution of Karabakh is far more in the hands of Moscow," Akcacoca said.  

European expert Nicolas Tavitian says Turkey will not wait solution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict to establish ties with Armenia. "Turkey has no reason to wait further and Turkey as other countries will pursue its own interests in normalizing relations with Armenia," Tavitian, director of Brussels-based Inside Europe Armenian Studies Center, said to Trend by e-mail.

To what degree the process of the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict will be decisive in opening Turkey-Armenian border will be determined by the agreement between Azerbaijan and Turkey, Turkish expert Kamer Kasim said.

"In order to open land borders with Armenia, Turkey should insist on not changing preliminary conditions related to "genocide", Armenia's recognition of borders and fair solution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict," Kasim said. 

The correspondent can be contacted at:  [email protected]

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