TODAY.AZ / Politics

Armenia should ask us to open borders not to starve to death: Turkish MP

12 November 2009 [13:32] - TODAY.AZ
Day.Az interview with member of Turkey’s Grand National Assembly from the Nationalist Movement Party and member of the parliament’s Foreign Relations Committee Senol Bal.
Day.Az: Do you think that now Turkey talk less about protocols signed to normalize relations with Armenia?

Senol Bal: No, this question can not move to the background. Our country is experiencing a very serious period. We will face very hard times ahead. There will be a pressure from the EU and the U.S.. The EU and the European Parliament constantly urge Turkey to discuss the protocols in the parliament.

European Union Enlargement Commissioner Oli Rehn said that "the EU calls on Turkey to ratify the protocols with Armenia and begin their implementation.” This is not a statement, but delirium! This considerable pressure puts Turkey and Azerbaijan in a difficult position. We expect even greater pressure from the United States. The protocols will appear in parliament in this case.

I think that the parliament will demonstrate a strong resistance not to ratify the protocols.

Q: Do you think Turkey had no other choice but to sign protocols?

A: Ankara faced a pressure. Turkey is an independent country and it had to take risks. But the government decided not to risk. Today the government seeks to pursue policy of a "trouble-free neighborhood”. Of course, there is nothing wrong in seeking to establish good neighborly relations with neighbors.

However, Armenia has no right to talk about good-neighborly relations with Turkey.

It has occupied 20 percent of the territory of a Turkic state and expelled nearly one million Azeri Turks from their homes. Armenians killed tens of thousands of Turks. Khojaly Massacre is not forgotten. However, the state which committed it sits down at the negotiating table with Turkey and we are even urged to help them. It's insulting, it is a historical mistake.

Q: Many say Karabakh problem remained unresolved for 17 years that have passed since the closure of Turkey-Armenia border and that, on contrary, warming of Turkish-Armenian relations may have a positive impact on resolution of the Karabakh conflict.

A: Turks need to better know Armenians historically. Today everybody says that once ties are established, Armenia will give up "genocide" claims and Karabakh conflict will be solved. One should bear in mind that Turkey has done a lot for Armenia. Turkey was one of the first to recognize Armenia's independence following the collapse of the USSR. Turkey extended a helping hand to disaster victims in Armenia. Taking into account the poor condition in Armenia, Turkey agreed to admit this country to the BSEC while it could also veto it. Turkey opened its airspace for Armenia.

Currently, there is no production in Armenia. People head to other countries to earn money. Nearly 50,000-60,000 Armenian migrants work in Turkey. They support their families with their income back in Armenia. Today Armenia has to make concessions to Turkey, but not Turkey to Armenia. In fact, Armenia should ask us to open borders not to starve to death and abandon its claims. But today everything is so different.

Any country thinks about its benefits while establishing relations with another country. If relations with Armenia bring no benefit to Turkey, what is a need for such a senseless friendship which causes tension in relations with Azerbaijan?

This is a strange diplomacy in which we get in fights with our brothers in order to please the West and America.

Each time the EU creates a new obstacle to prevent Turkey’s admission. Relations with Armenia is another obstacle removal of which will not lead to Turkey's membership in the EU. Turkey will not lose much even if it does not accede to the EU. But the loss of Azerbaijan would be costly for us. We, Turks easily forgot all that they had done to us. Armenians soiled our history responding us by “genocide."

Q: Is Turkey likely to become co-chair of the OSCE Minsk Group?

A:  By logic, if the Minsk Group includes Russia, Armenia’s ally, Turkey should also be represented as an ally of Azerbaijan. The balance of forces is disrupted in the Minsk group. All three co-chairs defend Armenia’s interests. Officials of these countries say they recognize territorial integrity of Azerbaijan in words. But when it comes to Karabakh, the things are somewhat different.

That is why I do not believe this conflict will be resolved through the Minsk Group mediation.

With regard to Turkey’s mediation, the two other co-chair will still view the problem through Armenia’s interests. Therefore, it is necessary to find other solutions. Azerbaijani and Armenian presidents have met on several occasions after the Minsk Group was set up.  

Despite this, we know that Armenia stiffened its stance on resolution of the Nagorno Karabakh conflict after discussions on Turkish-Armenian protocols began and even before they were signed.  Serzh Sargsyan held even more rigid position in the Chisinau meeting.

We predicted this such development of events. We urged the government not to rush to establish relations with Armenia until some progress happens in resolution of the Karabakh conflict. Secondly, Turkey has problems with Armenia not only because of Karabakh. Armenia does not renounce its territorial claims against Turkey. Moreover, Armenia accuses Turkey of "genocide.”

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