TODAY.AZ / Analytics

Armenia lost on a way to Turkish border

13 November 2009 [13:34] - TODAY.AZ
By Nurani
Day.Az writer

Many experts claim that censorship can not actually exist in an era of internet, satellite television and mobile phones. The air, namely information, will “find a hole” to leak out. In this case, there are few ways out - either to admit publicly that they tried to mislead their own citizens, to be exact, cheated them, or ... try to "censor" the rest of the world.

Something similar firstly occurred in Iran, who made claims about the Hollywood movie “300”. Now Armenia seems to take over the experience since it tries to make it clear for Azerbaijani and Turkish politicians what they can comment and what they cannot. Often Armenian officials do it in full accordance with ethics of Armenian political "gatherings" where half of members of the parliament have quasi-rogue nicknames.

Obviously, "Karabakh" aspects of the negotiations with Turkey are one of the most debated topics today. Moreover, there is something to talk about: Turkey’s demand to withdraw troops from occupied Azerbaijani lands without which the border will not open and Ankara’s chances to assume a role of mediator in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and much more.

But these discussions have acquired a new specific character in Armenia as evidenced by Armenian officials’ efforts targeting to withhold their true positions from citizens and calling people not to trust anyone, especially the Turkish and Azerbaijani politicians who have also commented on the negotiations and even revealed what they were about.

Thus, an activist of Armenia’s ruling Republican Party, who was much concerned on the statements claiming that Armenia has informally agreed to withdraw its troops, even resorted to an expression like a “morbid imagination". They say Turkey will never become an OSCE Minsk Group co-chair and Yerevan has given no consent to withdraw troops. In general, members of Azerbaijani and Turkish parliaments should only comment on statements of their own politicians.

One can feel for Armenian activists. Obviously, their vision of freedom of commentary is too "adjusted" under very low level of democracy in Armenia. But one can not ignore the fact that the statements by Turkish and Azerbaijani politicians about real state of affairs in negotiations on settlement of Karabakh conflict or the Armenian-Turkish dialogue have made Yerevan really nervous long time ago.

Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandyan keeps on repeating it like a mantra that the opening of border with Turkey is not dependent on withdrawal of Armenian forces from occupied Azerbaijani territories and calls on his countrymen not to trust the Azerbaijani and Turkish politicians while officials ranking from president to prime minister and MPs in Ankara reiterate that border will not open until withdrawal of troops and that Turkey does not participate in Karabakh negotiations. Meantime, Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan stated bluntly at the first round of "soccer diplomacy" during Abdullah Gul’s visit to Yerevan that he was ready to accept help from Turkey in settlement of the Karabakh conflict.

By a similar move, Armenia takes its utmost to prove that the negotiations are held "without preconditions". But opposition analysts continue to be ironic in Armenia: the ruling "team" continues to believe in the "Turkish miracle" that Armenian-Turkish border will be opened without preconditions in spite of everything. They suppose that Armenian officials and president's party fellows have serious ear problems, because they do not hear or did not want to hear increasingly strong demands by the Turkish leadership about the impossibility of opening the border without settlement of Karabakh problem and withdrawal of Armenian forces from occupied territories of Azerbaijan.
More recently, Armenia claimed that Zurich protocols do not allegedly imply even recognition of existing borders of Turkey and Armenia and the Kars Treaty. Those in Yerevan still have no courage to declare that no one will allow to "move" the border with Turkey regardless of to what extent the Agri Dagh, which Armenians call Mount Ararat, is visible in Armenia’s emblem. 

Frankly speaking, this is not the very case to be at lost and to ask in tears, "Whom to believe?" Because if everything were just as Yerevan assures, the border would have been not only opened long ago, but also "moved" not in accordance with Treaty of Sevres, but ancient manuscripts of Matenadaran.

Meanwhile, much more serious point is a tradition of lie in Yerevan both to world community (suffice it to recall the appalling number of myths around the "genocide" and Sumgait) and its own citizens. Suffice it to recall how the Armenian Foreign Ministry openly advised the ambassadors of Western countries, who said their governments do not consider the 1915 events to be "genocide" and believe that these disputes will not yield good results, "to approach this sensitive issue with caution and sensitivity.” To be more exact, just to avoid telling Armenian citizens the whole truth about their position.

However, Armenian politicians are obliged to worry about those unpleasant questions that "concerned” Armenian citizens ask about those "Zurich protocols.”  More active people turn to Armenian attorney general asking to institute criminal proceedings against Edward Nalbandyan due to his breach of constitutional order and committing a series of official crimes that threaten national security, defense and security of the country. Let head of the Armenian diplomacy answer by whom and where the Armenian-Turkish protocols were initialed, who designed the so-called press release on behalf of foreign ministers of Armenia, Turkey and Switzerland, and why it lacks the signature of the parties, whether the Armenian president had texts of press release and initialed protocols in three languages on August 30, 2009 and why protocols are not made public.

Meanwhile, Yerevan does not hurry to respond. Any option in this case is similar to national suicide. Today the alignment of forces in the region implies that Armenia has no even a theoretical chance to impose its scenario of behavior on Azerbaijan and Turkey. There is no need to hope that Turkey will sacrifice relations with Azerbaijan - the only way to Central Asia - for the sake of illusory chance to come to terms with the tiny impoverished Armenia. Besides, the world is finally beginning to realize that the main obstacle to normalizing the situation in the region is Karabakh, more precisely, Armenia’s unwillingness to pass a way to peace - from Horadiz and Agdam to the Armenia-Azerbaijan border. 

Armenia is no longer able to stand diplomatic pressure. It is impossible to "freeze" a dialogue on the backdrop of economic catastrophe, to delay “point of decision making” as long as possible and act under principle of “days and nights will hold on.” Armenian government officials can not afford to openly declare under which specific conditions they are negotiating with Turkey and Azerbaijan as the hysteria around the "genocide", “miatsum” and "Western Armenia" in Turkish lands has reached its peak. 

Obviously, Yerevan has just two positions - one for internal use, and another for outside diplomatic contacts. However, in an era of the Internet and satellite television it would be hard to “close" national information space to prevent Armenian citizens to hear statements by the Turkish and Azerbaijani politicians. It will also fail to play a game “on two fronts” for a long for the very same reason that one cannot fool all the people forever. Better to say, Yerevan became entangled between two positions.

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