Today.Az » Analytics » Opening borders with Turkey promises Armenia only bankruptcy
23 November 2009 [17:34] - Today.Az

By Nurani
Day.Az writer

Normalization of Armenian-Turkish ties have been officially stalled. Ankara states outright that Turkey has passed its part of a path to peace and one should not expect new steps in the "Armenian direction” and above all, ratification of the Armenian-Turkish protocols signed in Zurich.

However, opinions in Armenia are differrent in this respect. Representatives of medium and large scale local political "elite” regularly make very loud and emotional statements for media with the meaning shaped in a simple formula: “superpowers” allegedly force Turkey to ratify the very protocols.

Of course, one can mock at Armenia’s preference to stake not at its own power in all cases, but at support of international public opinion. It is clear that Armenia has little power, but it has strong and influential diaspora which has extremely popularized the issue of "Armenian Genocide"  and constantly reminds the world about the Treaty of Sevres. But I wonder whether one can hope that the world will really switch to tactics of "arm-twisting” as in case of the Zurich protocols. This is really a question.

There will be long whispering whether there was a "diplomatic pressure" before the signing of the Zurich protocols, if so, to whom it was targeted and to what extent it was made. But they are unlikely to say it in full voice. A note Lavrov sent to Nalbandian "Edward! Agree to the ceremony without statements!" serves as fair amount information to ponder over.

Meanwhile, the world could get assured that the Armenian-Turkish rapprochement is a very "sensitive" process for many countries, above all, for Azerbaijan. It is not just "sensitive" - too swift "normalization" Turkey-Armenia relations by ignoring Azerbaijan’s interests and opening of the border without resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict can undermine Turkey-Azerbaijan partnership. The very partnership goes beyond the Turkish high schools, concerts of pop stars and T-shirts depicting the heroes of the "Valley of the Wolves" serial. The main point primarily is routes of oil and gas exports to Europe via Turkey bypassing Russia. Nabucco project, main hope of Europeans to get rid of Russian energy dependence, is “tied” exactly to this transit route.

Anyway, now many analysts ranging from Joseph Far to the British Chatham House unanimously warned that if Turkey is "pushed" too much to normalize relations with Armenia, it is possible to break its brotherly ties with Azerbaijan. In this case the West will have to bid farewell to hopes for the alternative oil and gas routes from Central Asia. Finally, US aspirations for Armenia-Turkey rapprochement originated from a strong desire to make oil and gas export routes more safer. In short, the world is unlikely to jeopardize exports for Armenia's interests.  

U.S. Undersecretary of State Philip Gordon’s statement in which he acknowledged that Turkish parliament is unlikely to ratify the protocols prior to settlement of the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh suggests much. The West is also able to identify political risks, to weigh the cost and to make a decision based on its interests. Proufound underdstanding into the matter does not necessarily require an access to secret documents, to decipher codes, to open safes and to play "recruiting game" in the U.S. State Department's smoking-room. It is suffice just to read news. Of course, the Armenian lobby has some levers to influence public opinion and enjoys considerable influence, but that's not enough to make Europe and the United States to bury the Nabucco, the revival of the Silk Road and TRACECA simultaneously.

Then how to explain the confidence of Armenian political establishment that "the Armenian lobby" makes the whole world dancing to his own duduk? By the way, the word "duduk", which implies national Azerbaijani musical instrument, was borrowed from Azerbaijanis. One knows that each action of lobbyists is popularized in an unprecedented manner. There is quite different important reason which is announced rarely: Armenian political "gatherings” have too fresh memories of the World War I. More precisely, they still remember how European politicians launched a war against Turkey then, promising among other things to create "an independent Armenia" on the lands of Eastern Anatolia.

The other European capitals were sympathetically nodding, listening to stories about "pogroms in Adana" and "Abdulhamid massacre”. The European public was even ready to declare Dashnak terrorists who were hostage-takers in the Ottoman Bank in Istanbul in 1896 as heroes. But they prefer not to think and remember fact that Armenians were simply sort of "PR-chip" for Europe.

They try not to hear the same Armenian political scientists who warn that Armenian people have simply stuck in the past and pulls methods and political strategies of the early 20th century to the 21st century in the best case. They continue to believe that it was the"public opinion" loyal to the Armenians that made the New Zealanders and Australians, who could hardly find  Kars and Van on the map, storm chalky slopes of Gelibolu peninsula. Once it happened at that time, it can happen today as well.

However, something different happened during the First World War. Entente without hesitation and trepidation sacrificed interests of its recent "wards" when it became too important to negotiate with Turkey. Popularizing its own version of the 1915  events, Armenia has failed to make one main conclusion - external support and sympathy of public opinion is good of course.  But recent "patrons" may suddenly turn out to have their own interests at a decisive moment. The interests and promises which were generously heard quite recently may not coincide with that of Armenian politicians. In this case, Armenians will be thrown away as a dead battery together with a "genocide" and "Treaty of Sevres".

Meanwhile, professional lobbyists will try to leave it unnoticed. Otherwise, how to collect a five-percent tribute for the "Armenian cause", which, of course, is much more comfortable to defend in Paris and Marseilles rather in Yerevan?

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