New round of talks with Turkey can succeed only in one case – if Ankara recognizes Armenian Genocide – scholar weighs in
YEREVAN, DECEMBER 27, ARMENPRESS. Expert on Turkey, academician Ruben Safrastyan sat down with ARMENPRESS to talk about the prospects of the new process of normalization of relations between Armenia and Turkey after the failed “football diplomacy”, whether or not Turkey is sincere in willing to reconcile with Armenia and what risks and benefits Armenia could have by entering this process.
Safrastyan, an academician at the National Academy of Sciences, noted that this is already the 4th attempt of normalization in 30 years, two of which were initiated by the United States – the "track-two diplomacy" (TARC) and “football diplomacy”. He believes that this new round is being advanced from one side the United States and from the other side Russia.
However, Safrastyan said he doesn’t have big expectations from this new round and is almost certain that the process will suffer the same fate like the previous ones, but on the other hand he believes that Armenia ought to participate in these negotiations due to certain strategic, political and diplomatic reasons.
Ruben Safrastyan underscored that the new Armenian-Turkish process can succeed only in one case – if Turkey – under the pressure of the US, Russia and France – recognizes the Armenian Genocide.
“This is the first time that prior to starting the process of normalization of relations between Armenia and Turkey all three main powers – Russia, United States and France, who have interests in our region, have recognized the Armenian Genocide. This wasn’t the case in the last times. The U.S. only recently recognized [the Armenian Genocide]. And we must use this. From the very beginning we must bring forward the following issue in the negotiations process that it is a major concession from our side to agree to negotiate with a country which is the successor of the Ottoman Empire which carried out the Armenian Genocide. And given the stance of the United States, Russia and France over the Armenian Genocide, we must achieve a point where they’d put pressure upon Turkey and that Turkey recognizes the Armenian Genocide from the very beginning so that this process advances. I think this opens a very interesting new sphere for us, we must try and use this opportunity,” Safrastyan said.
The scholar is sure that Turkey hasn’t changed its position on Armenia and will again bring forward its well-known three pre-conditions – that Armenia must reaffirm its commitment to the 1921 Kars Treaty and recognize the current borders with Turkey, abandon pursuing the policy of international recognition of the Armenian Genocide and refuse from Artsakh. And now a 4th precondition has emerged, the so-called “Zangezur corridor”, which President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan has frequently talked about.
Safrastyan said it is highly important for the Armenian government to remain adamant in the abovementioned principled issues and not abandon its approaches.
“Normal relations with Turkey are in the interests of both Armenia and the entire region. But this is about the cost of it, what’s going to be the cost of this. Turkey is demanding a very high price from us. The cost is these four preconditions, four demands brought upon us. This is a very big price and it is unacceptable for us. Do you know why this is unacceptable? Because both the issue of the Armenian Genocide, the issue of the Kars Treaty and the issue of Artsakh are part of our modern identity. We are Armenians because these issues matter for us. If we were to go for principles concessions in these issues, it would mean abandoning a part of our identity. That is why we must be unshakeable in principled issues, we should not make any concessions. While in other issues there could be compromise,” Safrastyan said.
Interview by Aram Sargsyan