Turkey was Naïve in Armenia Rapprochement, says US expert

ISTANBUL (Hurriyet)–Turkey acted with political naivety in its rapprochement with Armenia, an American expert on conflict prevention and peace building said over the weekend.

“Turkey acted on two assumptions. First, Turkey thought the reconciliation process would galvanize the Minsk Group to find a solution to Nagorno-Karabakh,” said David Phillips, director of the program on Conflict Prevention and Peace-building at American University. The Minsk Group, composed of diplomats from countries including Russia, the United States and France, mediates between Armenia and Azerbaijan to find a solution to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

Turkey, Phillips said, also acted on the assumption that efforts to gain international recognition of Armenian genocide would come to an end with the normalization of relations with Armenia. Both assumptions, he added, were wishful thinking.

“There was no linkage between the protocols and the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict,” said the former adviser to the U.S. State Department, adding that Turkey should not have signed the protocols based on that.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan had pledged Azerbaijan a few days after Turkey and Armenia had reached an agreement on the protocols that they would not be ratified unless a solution to the Nagorno-Karbakh was found. As the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), refrained from sending the protocols to Parliament, the Armenian administration suspended the ratification effort last month.

Phillips told Hurriyet that he believed Turkey was not serious about ratifying the protocols and therefore made no significant effort to see them ratified.

According to Phillips, who is pessimistic about the near future, Armenia was bound to freeze the protocols process as it could not wait for Turkey forever. “I don’t see what Turkey gains if it ratifies the protocols. They will loose support if they do it before the elections,” said Phillips, who is the author of many books and publications, including “Unsilencing the Past: Track Two Diplomacy and Turkish-Armenian Reconciliation.”

The US analyst was equally critical of the Turkish government’s efforts to reach out to its beleaguered Kurdish minority. The promise of reform for Kurds was merely rhetoric, according to Phillips, who was in Istanbul to participate at a seminar organized by Sabanci University. The government raised high expectations by initiating Kurdish broadcasting through the state television channel TRT 6. “But since then, the Kurdish opening has not gone anywhere, especially as far as the constitutional reforms are concerned,” he said.

The Kurdish problem needs to be addressed by a comprehensive approach, which should include an amnesty component. “The amnesty issue is a very bitter pill for the Turks. The PKK [Kurdistan Workers’ Party] has been responsible for so much misery for so long, and it has been demonized by the politicians and the media,” he said, adding that there should be a phased amnesty, based on rank and file.

“I do not believe the commanders will get amnesty. They should settle in the country where they stay,” Phillips said, recalling that this would require cooperation from Turkey’s neighboring countries.

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11 Comments

  1. manooshag said:

    Hye David Phillips, Turk’s have a policy, for many, many years to agree/disagree with so many of their
    agreements especially with the West) – but all these are on ‘hold’ing pattern for lo these many years.
    Turks cannot play by the ‘rules’ of civilized nations; Turks make their own rules, and change even their own rules midstream. Add to that the PLOYS which Turks have ’employed’ all these years – ongoing and repeatedly on to newer ones…
    As for the Kurds, the Turks have labelled them as ‘terrorists’ so that the Turkish actions against the Kurds
    shall be acceptable before the civilized nations. Sorry, Kurds as seeking relief from the Turkish tyranny –
    Kurds are seeking freedom from the Turkish yoke, as have been the Armenians – even until today, 2010.
    Manooshag

  2. John K. said:

    Turkey doesn’t do any diplomatic moves on naive assumptions. If Mr. Phillips thinks the turks walked into this protocols because naivety, he is the most naive person I’ve seen in my life, and from now on, his works aren’t worth reading. The turks did what they did for a reason, and as Armenian (and Turkish) proverb says, “The cucumber didn’t grow straight” or in Armenian: Խյարը ծուռ բուսավ. Mr Phillips has to grow up to the real world, to analyze the true level and acumen of Turkish diplomacy…

  3. Robert said:

    Manooshag,

    Yet more of your mindless rantings, I see!! Of course, Armenians never harmed a soul and were always the victims, weren’t they?!!

    You know what no one ever hears and/or see from you dashnaks in any public arena, your typical whining and bitching that you were all victims and never hurt anyone when you were all under the occupations of the Hittites, Romans, Byzantines, Soviets! Why do you think that is? Why are there no demands of restitution from anyof them? NOW can you all begin to understand just how the real world sees you dashnaks…for what you really are?!!!! I believe a South Korean friend of mine said it best after he learned all about you dashnaks from 1890-present day…”Liars and whiners! How can they even raise their heads in public without shame?”

    Pretty much says it all, doesn’t it!

  4. Rafi said:

    Robert,

    lolwut?

    You’re absolutely right. We’ll take up the demands for restitution with the Hittites, asap. Are you serious? You’re linking conflict 2500 years ago with the planned near-annihilation of the Armenian people by the Turkish government? And as for “how the world sees us,” considering more and more countries are recognizing the genocide, and that Turkey’s increased islamization under the JDP is causing it to fight with its allies, we’ll revisit this issue in 20 years. If Turkey hasn’t crumbled into a religious civil war by then.

  5. Abbe said:

    John K. I agree,
    This is just a game from someones side. The bigest dream of Turkey in this game is that they come up with something very easy so that they can make big pressure on Armenia so that they get what they wan’t for exemple the ” Recognition of the Boarders today”. Thats just one way to harm the inpact of the Armenian Genocide Recognition impact that they know they have to recognize.
    If Turkey didn’t know all this then why isn’t Eastern Turkey as modern as western ?
    The know that van is going back as well as Erzerum and other places. And kudistan is a junkward if you comare it with Antalya, Ankara, Istanbul, Izmir and so on.
    “What is Erzerum, Van, KArs and the other cities for, if we are going to give them back anyway sooner or later”

    Very clear. It is therefore Turkey hates the diaspora because they can’t make preasue on us, but unfortenatly they can on Armenia.

  6. MihranK said:

    Mr. Phillips knows full well what Turkish policy has been to date, there is no need to find excuses for Turkey, as for Mr. Phillips, his pro Turkish bias speaks volumes.

    Mr. Phillips should never be trusted just like Turkey two of the same kind just different faces of the coin.

  7. john papazian said:

    Regardless of “wishfull thinking” of both American and Turkish politics,the protocals were never intended to be signed.It was a show and not a very good one.When are we going to wake up? Armenia can not depend on the west.I think Iran has been more help economicly than America. Turkey knows that there is no support for Armenia in the west.They also know for a fact that they do not have to ackowledge historical fact either.They also know how to keep their own Islamic veiws secret from Americans. I wonder if any Americans will be able to connect the dots when the next “long time trusted Muslim allie turns on them overnight? Maybe Mr. Phillips can anylize that.

  8. Edward Mouradian said:

    Dear Robert,the Hittites,the Romans ,the Byzantines ,even the Soviets had some civilization to offer unlike half-witted brainless gay morons like you and your Corean friend.Did you tell him you were HIV-positive with 3 months left to live? Your Corean friend told me you offered him all your dowry consisting of 3 second-hand condoms to sodomize you so that you become the mother of New Turan-ANATURK.That`s how the mongol race was begotten:from the true and ever-lasting friendship between two or three feeble-minded female pigs.THEN a moron monkey joined the orgy and gave birth to all your fathers.Dear Robert :It`s evident the AIDS virus has eaten all of your one and a half brain cells,which were obviously transplanted to your empty mongol head or ass where your bright ideas seem to come from.

  9. Aram said:

    Dear Friends at Asbarez — Do the comments made below meet with my favorite paper’s ethical standards? How did it pass your site’s censors? Armenians are better than that — aren’t they?
    XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
    Edward Mouradian says:
    May 12, 2010 at 3:01 pm

    Dear Robert,the Hittites,the Romans ,the Byzantines ,even the Soviets had some civilization to offer unlike half-witted brainless gay morons like you and your Corean friend.Did you tell him you were HIV-positive with 3 months left to live? Your Corean friend told me you offered him all your dowry consisting of 3 second-hand condoms to sodomize you so that you become the mother of New Turan-ANATURK.That`s how the mongol race was begotten:from the true and ever-lasting friendship between two or three feeble-minded female pigs.THEN a moron monkey joined the orgy and gave birth to all your fathers.Dear Robert :It`s evident the AIDS virus has eaten all of your one and a half brain cells,which were obviously transplanted to your empty mongol head or ass where your bright ideas seem to come from.

  10. Barkev Asadourian said:

    ROBERT, YOU BETTER CHECK YOURSELF BY DOCTORS
    =YOU HAVE MENTAL DEFECT=

  11. john papazian said:

    Are you poeple for real? I’ve read way to much ignorant emigrant commentary. When my grand parrents came to America in the good ol days proper english was essential.Now it seems we are just expected to be dumb emigrants.I’m 2nd generation born American and even though I served in this countrys millitary and lived my whole life here I’ve never felt a kin to it.Armenians are not place bound and we have to ask ourselves, Is America,the EU,or the U.N. really on the side of truth or politics?.In the mean time lets leave the ignorant emigrant commentary to the Turks.

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