Oskanian Says Armenia-Turkey Relations May Get Worse

YEREVAN–Armenia’s longtime former Foreign Minister, Vartan Oskanian, has said Turkey and Armenia will not be able to make progress in their efforts to normalize relations if Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan continues to bring the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict to the table, the Turkish Today’s Zaman newspaper reported on Thursday.

Oskanian’s remarks came during a discussion with a group of Turkish journalists who are in Yerevan this week participating in the International Hrant Dink Foundation’s Turkey-Armenia Journalist Dialogue Project.

Speaking to the journalists, Oskanian warned that Ankara could make relations with Armenia even worse if Turkish officials continue to politicize the negotiations.

“The moment we leave Karabakh out, we can improve Turkish-Armenian relations. If we bring Karabakh in, I really don’t see this happening. Karabakh is a separate issue,” Oskanian was quoted by Zaman as saying. “My conviction is that if Turkey normalizes its relations with Armenia first, then the Karabakh solution will be much easier.”

Oskanian said the Turkish Prime Minister began bringing the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict to the forefront of Turkey’s negotiations with Armenia three months ago.

“Until that time, I was really hoping that there was a change of policy on the part of Turkey and we would get results,” he said.

Visiting Baku last week, Erdogan reaffirmed his government’s intention to link the two issues. “Occupation of Karabakh is the cause here and closing of the border is the effect. It is impossible for us to open the border unless that occupation ends,” he told a joint press conference in Baku with Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev.

Turkey, a non-actor in the Karabakh conflict, has been seeking to boost its role in the peace process by conditioning its own negotiations with Armenia to a resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict being mediated by the US, France and Russia through the OSCE Minsk Group.

The French co-chair of the group, Bernard Fassier, on Monday warned Ankara to drop efforts to link the two unrelated issues. He said that linking the Karabakh peace process with the normalization of Armenia-Turkish relations can jeopardize the new momentum in the Karabakh talks.

Armenia’s Government has also criticized Erdogan for the statements, saying they could hamper both processes.

Oskanian reiterated those warnings, stressing also that Erdogan’s threats to Armenians deport Armenians working in Turkey were also not helpful to fence-mending efforts between the two countries.

“I am beginning to be concerned that not only will Turkish-Armenian relations not improve, but they may even get worse,” said Oskanian, who founded the Yerevan-based Civilitas Foundation late last year to advocate peace and stability in the Caucasus.

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3 Comments

  1. Frank said:

    Why have not one our esteemed Armenian politicians called for Turkey to end its occupation of our territories and why are we not linking any normalization of relations conditional on Genocide recognition and liberation of territories and restoration of all damaged and destroyed Armenian churches.

    A bit of nerve is required here gentlemen.

    We have given in too much too soon, the Turks are playing us very skillfully.

  2. HARUT said:

    Hello to my Armenian people.

    I like to to make my first point—–> Turkey wants to open the borders with Armenia whos borders? our s or theirs? for the record those are our own borders to begin with so we dont need to even except that move.

    I like to make my second point—–> Today Turkey is losing $ 500.000.000.00 million in comerce becuae they dont have a corridor thru Armenia so even if they want us to open a corridor for them they must pay for it.

    My third point is—-> The time for exceptance of the Armenian genocide is coming very close of being recognised by the USA and this is Turkeys last attempts to distract every one and any one for the issue
    of the Armenian Genocide, we came long ways my friends and time is on our side.

    My fourth point—-> Is resetling Armenian people in the liberated areas should have been done yesterday not tomorrow we all know that those areas are very vital for Armenia and Kharabagh bolth governments should get more active in helping people to get land their and start fresh construction and start offering people from Armenia – Diaspora – Kharabagh to come and live their.
    Thank you:
    From: Harut

  3. Messerschmitt said:

    One is talking about re-settling people to the territories. First, where to find these people. There are even not enough people to fill homes of abandoned Azeris in no less strategic regions like Geghargunik or Megri.

    Second, even people are found, how to finance it.

    Third, I think it enough to seek salvation from far distances. The countries that Diaspora use to press on Turkey, have excellent relations with their own neighbours. So it is obviously, one needs good neighbourly relations as in Europe. And it needs mutually acceptable solutions.

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