Ankara begins to backpedal on normalization talks during Davutoglu’s visit.
ANKARA/YEREVAN (Combined Sources)—Ankara officially announced that Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu had not plans to visit the Armenian Genocide Memorial Complex while visiting Yerevan on Thursday, reported Hurriyet Daily News.
On Saturday, Armenia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Shavarsh Kocharyan told Armenpress news agency that instead of making “provocative statements” regarding regional issues, Davutoglu should visit Dzidzernagapert Memorial Monument and pay respect to the victims of the Armenian Genocide.
“The minister is going to Yerevan within the framework of a BSEC meeting. Visiting the monument is not on his agenda,” a senior Turkish diplomat told Hurriyet Daily News.
Turkish press reported that Davutoglu was going to Armenia with a message to normalize ties with its neighbor, however preconditioning that Armenia “cede” at least two of the so-called “occupied territories” in reference to liberated regions around Artsakh.
On Tuesday however, the Turkish government and media were singing a difference tune.
Hurriyet Daily News reported that officials in Ankara have cautioned against high expectations for Davutoğlu’s visit to Armenia, but indicated that there was a chance for “normalization” to follow in the future.
The Dec. 12 visit will take place on the occasion of a meeting of the Organization of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation.
Turkish officials, speaking to the Hürriyet Daily News, said it was still not clear whether Davutoğlu and his Armenian counterpart, Edward Nalbandian, would hold a bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the BSEC gathering.
“We are not going there with a specific proposal,” a senior Turkish diplomat told the Daily News, in an apparent reference to several news reports in the Turkish media suggesting that Turkey would offer a proposal to the Armenian side in exchange for reopening the border. “Furthermore, such a proposal would also be premature and wrong,” added the diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity.
“However, if such a bilateral meeting takes place, we will explain our vision with regard to regional peace, including normalization of our bilateral relations. Then, the steps that could be taken may come on the scene,” he said.
The Armenian Revolutionary Federation Political Affairs Director Giro Manoyan told RFE/RL’s Armenian Service on Tuesday that Davutoglu’s visit to Armenia is merely a ploy by Turkey to create the illusion that there are advances in Turkey-Armenia normalization before 2015—the centennial of the Armenian Genocide.
The only way to normalize relations, Manoyan said, “is to ratify the Protocols, although as a party we are opposed to the documents.”
Manoyan was referencing the US-led effort in 2009, which yielded in signing of the dangerous Protocols by Armenia and Turkey. The latter, however, opted to pre-condition a solution to the Karabakh conflict—in favor of Azerbaijan—to normalizing relations with Armenia.
Manoyan added that Azeri Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov has decided to not attend the BSEC summit because “he has not intention of showing good intentions and as such he has no need to come [to Armenia]. However, Davutoglu feels the need to create the false impression that there is some sort of [normalization] movement.”
“On the occasion of [Davutoglu’s] visit, we should remind Turkey that it has obligations—lift the blockade of Armenia and recognize the Armenian Genocide,” Manoyan told RFE/RL.
He also added that a protest was being planned against Davutoglu’s visit to Armenia by the Armenian Revolutionary Federation Nigol Aghbalian Student Organization. The protest is scheduled to take place in front of the Armenia Marriott Hotel, where the BSEC meeting will be held.