Experts: Turkey is unlikely to continue normalization of relations with Armenia

Experts: Turkey is unlikely to continue normalization of relations with Armenia

Azerbaijan, Baku, Feb. 18 / Trend E. Tariverdiyeva /

Despite the possible rapid ratification of the Armenian-Turkish protocols in the Armenian parliament, Ankara is unlikely to continue the process of normalization the relations with Yerevan, experts said.

"Spirit of the protocols after changes made by the Constitutional Court of Armenia, does not correspond with the policy of Turkey. The Turkish government is unlikely to continue the topic of the Armenian-Turkish protocols in future, Head of the Turkish Center for International Relations and Strategic Analysis Turksam, Sinan Ogan, said.

The protocols on the normalization of Turkish-Armenian relations will be submitted for a preliminary discussion in the Armenian parliament's Standing Committee on Foreign Relations on February 19, the National Assembly Committee on Foreign Relations chairman Armen Rustamian said, PanARMENIAN.Net. reported.

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 due to Armenian claims of an alleged genocide and its occupation of Azerbaijani lands. Their border closed in 1993.

On January 12 Armenia's Constitutional Court confirmed that obligations reflected in the Armenian-Turkish protocols correspond with the basic law of the country. However, there is no need for a joint commission that will investigate the events that occurred during the Ottoman Empire in 1915, and that Armenia would never back down the requirement of recognition of the so-called "genocide."

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned if the Armenian Constitutional Court does not reverse its decision on the protocols between the two countries, the relations between Ankara and Yerevan may be corrupted.

According to experts, the reason that the procedure for ratifying the protocols was so prolonged, is that the party most likely will not continue the process of normalization, despite external pressure.

Four months have passed since the signing of Armenian-Turkish protocols in Zurich. Hope for the normalization of relations between the two neighbors has already disappeared, commentator Guillaume Perrier told Le Monde, InoPress reported.

Turkish foreign policy was very naive with regard to Armenia. They believed that they can trust Armenia in the issue of protocols, and built the entire foreign policy on this assertion, Ogan said.

"However, Armenia does not agree with resolving of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, and has not tried to maintain the spirit of the protocols in general, amending the item on genocide. Afterwards, Turkey is unlikely to continue the process of normalization with Armenia", Ogan told Trend over phone from Istanbul.

The fact that the Armenian-Turkish protocols have not been ratified and discussed in the Turkish Parliament, will only deepen the already existing "crisis of confidence", Armenian Center for National and International Studies Director Richard Giragosian said.

"There is a deep gap between the two sides, as Armenia is quite prepared to execute the conditions of the protocols. Turkey now seems to be striving to find political reasons to get away from this," Giragosian told Trend via e-mail.

However, according to observers, even if the Armenian parliament ratifies the protocols, one can hardly expect the same action from Turkey.

According to Ogan, Armenia will do its utmost to continue to put pressure on Ankara and gain time. However, Armenia does not agree with resolving of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, and has not tried to maintain the spirit of the protocols in general, amending the item on "genocide". It was a reason for Turkey to think about the advisability of talks, experts said.

"Right now, Armenia is trying to hold out until April, by ratifying the Protocols in its parliament. Afterwards, the pressure will be made on Turkey by Western observers, Ogan said.

Despite the fact that the Armenian political elite called Turkey for ratification prior to the procedure in its parliament, I am sure that Armenian parliamentarians will do it sooner. 

However, now foreign observers will not be able to influence Turkey's decision, Giragosian said.

"Status of the Protocols is now a hostage of Turkey's domestic policy. The fact that the fate of the protocol now depends on progress in Turkey's domestic policy, also means that neither the Americans nor the EU, Russia, even Armenia can affect the outcome," Giragosian said.

Even if the Armenian parliament ratifies the Armenian-Turkish protocols, we can hardly expect an equivalent response from the Turkish parliament, Central Asia-Caucasus Institute at Johns Hopkins University Director Svante Cornell said.

According to Cornell, one must take into account the fact that if the Armenian parliament ratified the protocols, it will be another step to increase pressure on Turkey, which seeks Yerevan.

"Pressure on Turkey will grow, but despite this, Ankara is unlikely to continue the process of normalization of the Turkey-Armenia relations without solution to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict," he said.

R. Hafizoglu contributed to this article.

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