Gordon Urges Turkey to Drop Karabakh Condition For Armenia Ties


Philip Gordon , assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs at the US State Department.

WASHINGTON (Today’s Zaman)–Within days of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan clearly linking the normalization of relations between Ankara and Yerevan to a resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, a senior US State Department official urged Turkey to make progress on normalization efforts without setting preconditions.

Philip H. Gordon, the assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs at the US State Department, who participated in White House talks between US and Turkish officials, said the two issues should not be linked Wednesday during a meeting at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR).

Reiterating US support for the process of normalization between Armenia and Turkey, Gordon added: “We would like to see the protocols ratified. We think this would benefit Turkey and Armenia and help peace and stability throughout the region.”

On Monday Erdogan said: “We have also discussed relations between Azerbaijan and Armenia, which are of great importance. This is important in the context of Turkish-Armenian relations. We have discussed the Minsk Group and what the Minsk Group — the United States, Russia and France — can do to add more impetus to that process. I can say that to have more impetus in the Minsk process is going to have a very positive impact on the overall process, because the normalization process between Turkey and Armenia is very much related to these issues. As the administration in Turkey, we are determined to move forward in this area.”

In response to a question about Erdogan’s call for more momentum in the Minsk process, Gordon said: “We are actively engaged in the Nagorno-Karabakh issue. Not because we see it linked to the Turkey-Armenia relationship, but because we think it could be also contributing to peace and stability in the region that both Armenia and Azerbaijan would benefit from. [A] Minsk group co-chair is in the region right now because we think this is hugely important. But it has long been hugely important, and it’s hugely important independently of any other issue. It’s something we care [about], and we would like it to succeed. If both of these processes were to succeed, it would really be a historic development for the region.”

Underlining US expectations of seeing a “move forward as quickly as possible,” Gordon said the US has been asking both the Armenian and Turkish governments for the ratification of the protocols “as soon as possible, without preconditions and independently of any other issue.”

Gordon, meanwhile, called what appeared to be the diverging approaches of the two NATO allies toward Iran’s nuclear program “a tactical difference.” Yet, he also noted that the US told Turkey about their “disappointment” over the fact that Turkey had abstained in a vote on a resolution in the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), passed on Nov. 27, which censured Iran for covertly constructing a second enrichment plant near the city of Qom, demanding a halt to construction.

There “could be problems” if measures such as sanctions are taken against Iran without seeking a diplomatic solution, Erdogan said on PBS’s “Charlie Rose” show following his meeting with Obama.

Voicing gratitude for Turkey’s support in Afghanistan, Gordon underlined that Richard Holbrooke, Obama’s special envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan, “cares deeply about the special cooperative relationship” between the US and Turkey in Afghanistan.

Ruling out arguments that Turkey has been drifting away from the West, Gordon said what he has observed is a Turkey that is aspiring to become a full European Union member, a goal supported by the US administration.

When reminded of Washington’s silence on the influence of the military in Turkish politics, Gordon said: “I think we have always made clear that first of all we respect Turkey’s democracy and the need for appropriate civilian-military relations in Turkey. And when the prime minister comes here, we believe he is speaking for Turkey and the Turkish government. And we are satisfied with that relationship.”


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  1. Kisul said:

    gordon, you lost! just accept it and move on! there will be no a-la young-turk-driven return of ottoman empire. read some other books for difference. or, try your scenario to hollywood. it might have some success. might get oscar, some day (can not promise nobel, sorry).

  2. Albert G said:

    Gordon, and better yet, the Obama Administration is gradually finding out that the Turks are unpredictable and unreliable “partners”. This realization comes after many decades of Armenian lobbying efforts to show the real face of Turkey.

  3. Barkev Asadourian said:

    you forget ARMENIANS most important declares
    1-Negoro Garabagh is 100% Areminian land(mentioned) been occopied by azeris for 70 years
    another word no preconditons no more promisis like Mr. President

  4. Lusik said:

    Suppose that the OSCE Minsk group made a “good” offer to azeris. At the same time a signal is sent to Turkey to relax. Another signal is sent to Sarkisian speak aggressive. So all politicians remain where they are (Gordon does not lose his job), Armenians are fooled. Only Armenians of Artsakh I trust.

  5. GregMelkonyan said:

    Either way Artsakh is not giving up a centimeter of liberated Armenian lands. In response to Philip Gordon as far as stability and peace in the region is concerned, there is one thing for United States to do and that is to reaffirm the fact of Armenian Genocide. After recognition of the Armenian Genocide andTurkey coming in terms with its crimes of Genocide then there will be peace and stability in the region. Enough of supporting Genocidal Turkey!

  6. Garo said:

    Gordon’s statement is simply trying to save face after Erdogan
    ‘s visit to washington and claim to link Karabakh to Protocols. Gordon’s call for unconditional protocols is a repetition of Clinton’s statements in Zurich; and is very weak.  There is no force or stick to his statement, just a carrot in front of the horse.

  7. H Der Stepanian said:

    Turkey declared war on Germany during WWI & WWII days before Germany surrendered after being on German side during both war periods. If you read their history books now you will get the feeling that Turkey was on the Allied side all along and won both wars.
    You have to give credit where credit is due. Turks are very good politicians and have an incredible ability to rewrite history as they please. They closed their borders during Iraqi war to US troops but came out smelling like roses. They do not provide any combat troops in Afghanistan but you can bet that they will claim credit for most victories.
    It is true, the world has a lot to learn from Turks.

  8. Vahe M said:

    You’re all washed up Gordon. We understand your pain but get over yourself and move on.
    If obama had an ounce of respect for Armenia or Armenians (which we all know he doesn’t) he would open his own mouth publicly to condemn Turkey for imposing illusory preconditions.
    But why would he do that? Erdogan has him on a tight leash.

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