Today.Az » Analytics » Armenia's constitutionally approved strategy of rapprochement with Turkey and Azerbaijan
15 January 2010 [12:13] - Today.Az

On Jan. 12, Armenia's Constitutional Court ruled that the Armenian-Turkish protocol signed in Zurich Oct. 10 to establish diplomatic relations and open borders between the two countries conforms with the country’s Constitution. The court's final decision cannot be appealed.

The announcement of the decision was followed by cries of "Traitors!" and "You Are Not Armenians!” right inside the courtroom.

At the same time, ARF Dashnaktsutyun members were protesting outside the Constitutional Court building. Opposition Dashnaks who once were members of Armenia ruling coalition are unhappy with foreign policy implemented by President Serzh Sargsyan.

Opponents of the Armenian-Turkish rapprochement believe that the protocols lead to the collapse of a multi-year efforts to impose "the fact of the Genocide of 1915” to country’s people, Turkey and all over the world and involve major concessions in the Karabakh issue.

It is worth noting that Armenia’s Constitutional Court reviewed the protocols on the backdrop of two landmark visits. The same day, Turkish PM Erdogan arrived in Moscow and Russian FM Sergey Lavrov (author of a note or order to Armenian FM Edward Nalbandian "Agree to the ceremony without statements") arrived in Yerevan in his turn. It would be naive to consider this a trivial coincidence. Coincidence is a rare phenomenon in big politics especially when the dates of visits and meetings of the court are discussed and appointed in advance. It turns out that the current situation is well planned especially in an emphatic manner.

The Armenian authorities have clearly indicated to domestic opponents their intention to bring the case to the end. And it is quite logical: why it was necessary to negotiate with Ankara and put a signature in Zurich, if not try to enforce the agreements reached? Another thing is that the Armenian authorities were in time trouble because of Azerbaijan’s rigid position which prompted  post-Zurich preconditions by Turkey: ratification of the protocols is possible if only there is progress (withdrawal from some Azerbaijani regions) in the Karabakh issue. Yerevan tried to play up, allowing leaks of information about its intention to legislate the right to withdraw a signature, but the decision of the Armenian Constitutional Court said that even President Serzh Sargsyan’s administration considers the "feedback game" not promising.

The background is really serious. Erdogan in Moscow urged Putin and Medvedev to take a more active position resolving the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Azerbaijan starts gas supplies to Russia. Gazprom managers expressed willingness to buy the entire volume of Azerbaijani natural gas. Baku symbolicly keeps silent. Sergey Lavrov visits Armenia. Armenia’s Constitutional Court endorses the protocols. Karabakh Armenians are building a new defensive line, which cannot attributed to anything but withdrawal of troops (by the way, no Armenian official has denied building of this defensive line which is impossible) ...

Certainly, each of these steps have their own reasons. Exports of Azerbaijani gas to Russia does not mean immediate liberation of the ocourtupied territories. Likewise, as Baku's tough position regarding the Armenian-Turkish protocols does not mean signature of a peace agreement on Nagorno-Karabakh any time soon.

But if you have a complex look at the events, you can notice quite clearly negotiated and phased process.

Armenia’s Constitutional Court made a decision on the three issues approving Sargsyan’s policy in the following areas:

- Giving up policy of "genocidal blackmail" against Turkey;
- Renunciation of territorial claims against Turkey;
- Start of a real process to settle the Karabakh conflict, taking the first step towards partial "deoccupation."

The next steps are predictable. The protocols will be approved by the parliaments of Armenia and Turkey as soon as efforts are made to solve Azerbaijan’s problems.

Although one should not exclude Armenia's ability and desire to organize coups or shootings of state officials in the crucial moments of settling the Karabakh conflict.

Kanan Guluzade
Day.Az writer

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