Joined: 25 Oct 2003
| Posted: Tue Dec 23, 2003 7:08 pm Post subject: [E] Swiss recognition may damage fragile ties with Turkey
|Mediamax news agency | Yerevan | 22 Dec 03
Swiss recognition of Armenian genocide may damage fragile ties with Turkey
Armenia welcomes the recognition of the Armenian genocide [by the
Ottoman Turks in 1915] by the Swiss parliament, Armenian Foreign
Ministry spokesman Gamlet Gasparyan said in Yerevan on 17 December.
At the same time, he noted that "the international recognition of
the Armenian genocide is a separate process, and we would not like
it to be correlated with the existing Armenian-Turkish dialogue".
Perhaps, for the first time the Armenian Foreign Ministry expressed its
attitude towards another international recognition of the Armenian
genocide with such a proviso. Although, we should mention that
Gamlet Gasparyan made this statement in reply to a corresponding
question of Yerkir (Country) newspaper, the official newspaper of
the Dashnaktsutyun party.
However, according to Mediamax's sources in the Armenian Foreign
Ministry, the recognition of the genocide on the part of the Swiss
parliament forced Armenian top officials to think over possible
consequences that this decision could have for the Armenian-Turkish
dialogue, which, if we believe Armenian Foreign Minister Vardan
Oskanyan, can yield first real results within the next few months.
[Passage omitted: Armenia's previous efforts to have 1915 events in
Ottoman Turkey recognized as genocide]
Why did in this case the recognition of the genocide by the Swiss
parliament cause some anxiety among Armenian diplomats? Most likely,
the reason is that for the first time in the last 13 years Armenia
and Turkey were about to make the first step towards normalizing
bilateral relations, and the stakes are high today as never before.
[Passage omitted: recalls meetings between the Turkish and Armenian
Thus, at present Armenia and Turkey are facing a dilemma. On the one
hand, the Turkish Foreign Ministry, having sharply criticized the
Swiss parliament's decision, did not accuse the Armenian authorities,
as it had done before when the genocide was recognized by other
countries. However, such statements may still follow - the issue of
normalizing relations with Armenia is perceived rather ambiguously in
Turkey, and the decision made in Bern can cause additional problems
for the leaders of the ruling Justice and Development Party in Turkey.
Most likely, Yerevan's slightly prudent reaction to the Swiss
parliament's decision is conditioned not so much by the fact
of recognition itself, but by the fact that this is somehow
"inappropriate" now. It is obvious that if Armenia's leaders ease
their position towards the international recognition of the genocide,
they will, first, immediately set the diaspora against themselves,
and second, bewilder the international community.
We must not rule out that Yerevan will try to use the current and
future recognition of the Armenian genocide to make Turkey take
more drastic steps to improve relations. On the other hand, in
order to make more or less real forecasts, we must find an answer to
the main question - are [Turkish Prime Minister] Recep Erdogan and
[Turkish Foreign Minister] Abdullah Gul sincere in their aspiration
to normalize relations with Armenia?