‘Armenia-Turkey protocols dead, not buried’

‘Armenia-Turkey protocols dead, not buried’

“One day the intergovernmental relationships between Armenia and Turkey will be regulated and we have to be ready for that”

The “Regulations of the relationship between Armenia and Turkey: challenges and perspectives” program, that takes place thanks to the “Civic consent” non-profit organization and the Embassy of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland in Armenia, with the help of the UK ministry of Foreign Affairs, started last September, has been progressing with conferences in Tsaghkadzor and will end in May.

It should be noted that young representatives of the political parties presented in the National Assembly of Armenia (except RPA) and social organizations were taking part in the dozens of seminars.

At the end of the program, a group of 18 people from Armenia left for Istambul, and next week young people from Turkey, led by Stambul’s Kadir Has University’s Rector Mustafa Aydin, will come to Yerevan. The latter went to Tsaghkadzor in December and came up with a report in front of the Armenian group.

The first meeting of the Armenian group in Istambul was at the Kadir Has University, where the Turkish students and professors were waiting for the Armenians. First of all the rector of the university Mustafa Aydin informed the young people that one of the buildings of the university was owned by a cigarette factory and the architect of it was an Armenian. In 1995 the ruined building was turned into a big and beautiful university.

When greeting the Armenian guests, Mustafa Aydin reported that within the program, they indeed had several interesting months of discussions about the chances of development of the Armenia-Turkey relationships.  Afterward, he talked about the inner political situation in Turkey after the latest voting of the constitutional changes, and the priorities in the foreign policy issues.  

“We don’t know what changes take place in the government, or what is going to change in Turkey after the constitutional referendum. The relationship between Russia and Turkey concerning the problem of Syria and Kurds is taking an interesting turn.

In future, the president of Turkey will go to the States and meet their president and we’ll get clarification on some issues. The relationship between Turkey and UN was tense, but there was hope for that relationship to have a positive turn.”

Referring to the topic of Armenian-Turkish relationship the rector of the university said: “Armenia-Turkey protocols are dead, but not buried.”

The former head of the National Security Service of the Republic of Armenia, the former ambassador of the Republic of Armenian’s president’s special assignments, a leading expert of the Center for Regional Studies David Shahnazaryan welcomed  the meeting of the Armenian and Turkish young people in Istambul, noting that it will help the resolution of the relationship between Armenia and Turkey, then he presented the inner political situation of Armenia after the NA elections, saying that they were predictable elections with predictable results.

“The Karabakh conflict resolution has never been as far as it is right now. Russia is in the leading position in the process of the resolution, and the policy toward the region of South Caucasus isn’t clarified yet among the new administration of US. Maybe soon at the NATO summit, where the president of the USA Tramp will make a speech, things will be a little clarified,”- said David Shahnazaryan.

About the Armenian and Turkish relationships, David Shahnazaryan mentioned, that the situation remains unchanged; however, this program is a chance, within which the young people can communicate.

The civil and political advisor of the NA Programs Gegham Sargsyan, first of all, presented the program and then the discussions that took place within it amongst the representatives of the Armenian political parties and social organizations.

“The condition of the relationship between Armenia and Turkey is not very impressive. It’s not only about the relationship between those two countries; it’s a question of regional security. We are not talking about a reconciliation process; we are highlighting the importance of the Armenian- Turkish relationship.

Sadly, the Armenia-Turkey protocols, born as a result of the football-like diplomacy, are dead, and it’s not clear who will restore that process.  But the young people change bearers and they can contribute to reconciliation, they have their ideas about the establishment of the diplomatic relations between those two countries and about the opening of the borders. The governments are not interested in that problem; it’s not a primary issue.

I think that we can push this process forward with the help of the young people of the political parties and social organizations. The communication between young people is very important in this, and the program, as a start, can only have a positive effect on this process.

Despite everything one day, the intergovernmental relationships between Armenia and Turkey will be regulated and we have to be ready for that and with this kind of programs we aim to make that process more realistic and try to agree on the issues, around which there are not different opinions. One day those efforts, I think, will have a positive effect on the establishment process of the relationship between Armenia and Turkey,”- said Gegham Sargsyan, adding that the program will have a continuation.  

Afterward, young people of Armenia and Turkey asked some questions to each other and talked about the Russia’s influence on the region. Armenians were especially interested in the opinion of the Turkish young people about the impact of the Azerbaijani factor on the relationship between Armenia and Turkey.

Turkish students talked about the strategic relations and the economic factor between Turkey and Azerbaijan. It was also registered that another reason for the failure of the Armenia –Turkey protocols is the attitude of Azerbaijan. The Turks thought that despite everything there are visible differences between Turkey and Azerbaijan on the level of democracy. Although they were sure that if on the public level the effect of the Azerbaijan is not noticeable, then on the political level their effect on the Turkish policy definitely is visible.  After the meeting, Mustafa Aydin and the students invited the Armenian group to the open concert of the “Merlyn” rock band at the university backyard.

Emma GABRIELYAN

 

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