Turkey’s Railway Announcement ‘Aimed to Appease Baku’

ARF political affairs director Giro Manoyan

ISTANBUL (Hürriyet Daily News)—Giro Manoyan, director of the international secretariat of the ARF, says Turkey’s consideration of reopening the railway link between Turkey and Armenia is aimed at “opening a position in negotiations with Azerbaijan.” Manoyan was in Istanbul to attend a Socialist International meeting.

“I believe Mr. Davutoğlu’s announcement was more like a negotiation maneuver with Aliyev, rather than with Armenia. I’m not sure what Turkey is expecting from Azerbaijan, but I think Davutoğlu’s not so secret announcement, which was made during a closed door session in Parliament, was actually made public for the Turkish side to have a sort of opening position in negotiations with Azerbaijan,” Manoyan said on Nov. 12 in an interview with the Hürriyet Daily News.

Manoyan was in Istanbul to attend a council meeting of the Socialist International (SI), representing the ARF, which is an opposition party in the Armenian parliament, holding 5 of 90 seats. He was commenting on recent news reports that Turkey is considering reopening the Kars-Gyumri section of the Kars-Gyumri-Tbilisi railway line, which has not been operational since 1993, when Turkey closed the border with Armenia, amid its war with Azerbaijan for Nagorno-Karabakh.

The idea to reopen the railway came as a question to Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu during a closed-door Parliament briefing on Nov. 6. The minister said opening the border with Armenia and reopening the railway could be brought to the agenda under the framework of a peace plan that includes the resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

Rapprochement between Turkey and Armenia stopped after signing the protocols in 2009, and there is nothing that has happened since then, Manoyan said. “So I don’t think what Mr. Davutoğlu said has anything to do with reality.”

“Consensus for moving on from recognition efforts”
Manoyan, who is also a member of the State Commission for the Coordination of the Armenian Genocide Centennial, expressed his views on 2015 preparations. “There’s a certain consensus among the Armenian community that they should move on from efforts to push Turkey to recognize the 1915 killings as genocide for the 2015 centennial campaign,” according to Manoyan. “That doesn’t mean there should be no recognition effort,” he maintained, adding that they “should go further and start presenting claims regarding Armenian rights.”

“Discussions, studies are going on regarding what reparation claims should be made and there’s some approach that regardless of whether Turkey recognizes the genocide or not, there are certain claims which can be made against Turkey as a state or those who have benefitted from Armenian properties, et cetera,” Manoyan said.

In further comments on the protocols signed between Armenia and Turkey in 2009 in an effort to normalize relations, Manoyan reiterated his party’s position and suggested that Armenia should withdraw its signatures because “it has already given too much to Turkey.”

Instead, Armenia should put a very short draft on the table, with three to four paragraphs saying, “The two countries have decided to establish diplomatic relations, the two countries have decided to establish land links and develop economic and other ties, and the two countries have decided to resolve all outstanding issues between the two countries peacefully, based on international law,” according to Manoyan. “We should put this on the table and wait. If there’s ever any government in Turkey that is really in a position to establish relations with Armenia, without any preconditions, then they sign it, we sign it and we start. Because the position Turkey has taken regarding Armenia, especially the blockade, is really, according to international law, an expression of hostility,” he said.


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  1. Avetis said:

    Ankara is attempting to engage Yerevan because Russia and Armenia now have a long term, strategic pact which is seen as a serious regional threat by Turks and Westerners.

  2. John Evans said:

    This is really quite reasonable. The Protocols are dead. At a minimum the two countries ought to have diplomatic relations, which are simply a vehicle for official communications and do no harm to either side’s legal position. There is not even any need to open embassies if that is deemed too costly or dangerous: relations can be conducted in a third capital or at the U.N. Azerbaijan ought not to object.

  3. GeorgeMardig said:

    It is long due that the Armenian Government withdraw his signatures from the 2009 Protocol, what would the Armenian government do if Turkey ratifies it?, the ball will be in his court

  4. GB said:

    Turks planning to open the railway just before Armenian Genocide Centenary, and for EU talk purposes, after few months the Midnight Express railway will be closed, due to flood in Western Armenia!

  5. Alex Postallian said:

    GIRO: wait till it happens the COWARD jerky turkeys,always talk,but nothing happens….They have oil reserves,too deep,to pump out,so they ,like beggars,on their knees,get their money,from their little bastard brother; azerbaturk…

  6. Ararat said:

    Folks, make no mistake about it, whenever Turks consider doing anything that is even remotely beneficial to the Armenians, rest assured they are up to something evil. We witnessed a prime example of such behavior from the Turks back in 2009 when they signed the Turkish-Armenian rapprochement protocols knowing in advance they will put preconditions for their ratifications. Bribed by cheap oil and energy contracts in billions of dollars and pimped out by the artificial state of Azerbaijan they did exactly that.

    Then came all the lies and excuses that they can never bring themselves to ratify such protocols because they consider the fabricated state of Azerbaijan an “extension” of Turkey, which by the way is a euphemism for the good old anti-Armenian pan-Turkism, and that Armenians must withdraw from the liberated and ancient Armenian province of Artsakh, all the while they themselves are occupying 90% of the Armenian homeland, not to mention the occupation of Northern Cyprus since 1974.

    Turks are wolves in sheep’s clothing and especially when it comes to their affairs with the Armenians. Should we expect anything different from these backward nomadic people who are foreigners in the lands they occupy and have established themselves on the lands of the indigenous people in the region through invasion, occupation, mass extermination and genocide thousands of miles away from their ancestral homeland?

    Don’t ever be fooled by the opportunist, two-faced and cunning Turkish leaders of today in suits and ties. At their core, they are no different from their genocidal, illiterate and backward Asiatic ancestors who wore Arabic robes with daggers on their sides.

    • James said:

      Bravo Ararat

      Ararat said it mouthful. You’ve got the whole truth, what more could be said.
      Thank you Ararat.

  7. Stephen T. Dulgarian said:

    Well said Ararat. No better words can be brought out of the evil Turk whom has devastated the civilized people of Europe, Armenia, Asia Minor, the Middle East, & Northern Africa. The world has yet to wake up to what the Seljuk Turks, the Mongol Turks, & the Ottoman Turks did to the civilized world.

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