Time in Yerevan: 11:07:36,   17 July

Initiative to annul Russia-Turkey treaty is aimed at pressing Turkey: Opinions

YEREVAN, FEBRUARY 16, ARMENPRESS.  The initiative of Communist faction of the Russian State Duma to annul the 1921 Treaty of Friendship and Brotherhood signed between Turkey and Russia has caused a major resonance in Armenia’s social and political circles. Different opinions and comments are heard over the initiative. A part of analysts believe that this is just a means to pressure Turkey and nothing more should be expected, some other believe that the treaty can really be annulled, if Russia-Turkey relations intensify further, which cannot be ruled out. There is also an opinion that the annulment of the Treaty of Friendship and Brotherhood between Turkey and Russia can have dangerous consequences for Armenia, as in that case Turkey can speculate on Treaty of Alexandropol.

In an interview with “Armenpress” First Secretary of the Communist Party of Armenia Central Committee Tachat Sargsyan, referring to the initiative of his Russian comrades, mentioned that their steps are not welcomed, as this will give Turkey an opportunity to reveal the shameful Treaty of Alexandropol, signed between the First Republic of Armenia and Kemalist Turkey in December, 1920. According to that treaty, Armenia’s territory would cover only 10 thousand square kilometers. “Russian-Turkish Treaty of Friendship and Brotherhood was signed on March 16, 1921, between Kemalist Turkey and Soviet Russia. That treaty defined Armenia’s territory at 30 thousand square kilometers. The same borders were determined for Armenia according to the Treaty of Kars, which was signed also by the representatives of the government of Soviet Armenia. But during the negotiations on both Moscow and Kars treaties, Turkey insisted on implementation of the conditions set by the Treaty of Alexandropol. Great efforts were invested to deny Turkish demands. And now, if our Russian comrades have come with such a proposal, this means that now Turkey can bring forward the Treaty of Alexandropol. Hence, I do not hail this initiative for clear reasons”, Tachat Sargsyan mentioned.

National Assembly RPA faction member Khosrov Harutyunyan holds the opinion that the initiative of the Russian Communist Party was announced in a period when Russia-Turkey relations are strain. Hence, it pursues a specific goal.  In the words of the MP, the main objective of the initiative is not to annul the treaty, but rather apply this possible threat of "the Sword of Damocles" in Russian-Turkish relations. “To be honest, Russian political circles would never remember about that treaty, as it is quite vulnerable in terms of international right. If it still operates for some people, the only reason is that it was beneficial for them. I do not hold the opinion that, apart from the announcement, Russia will go deeper in that issue. I assume that this is merely another means to pressure Turkey”, Khosrov Harutyunyan mentioned.

He does not share the opinion of the First Secretary of the Communist Party of Armenia Central Committee that the annulment of the treaty will give Turkey an opportunity to bring forward the Treaty of Alexandropol. He noted that the Treaty of Alexandropol is not so valuable in legal-political terms as the treaties of Kars and Moscow. But, according to Harutyunyan, the most important point here is that the mentioned initiative cannot go so deep in any case. He added that it can have no significance in the context of Armenia-Turkey relations and we cannot shape our policies based on it.

Expert of Turkish studies Ruben Safrsatyan also shares the opinion that the step of Russian Communists pursues a goal of pressuring Turkey, as well as aims to demonstrate the Russian public that Russian-Turkish relations can easily change. Safrastyan, on the other hand, does not rule out that the treaty may really be annulled.  He considered the initiative as a positive one for Armenia.

Members of Russia’s State Duma (lower house of parliament) Valery Rashkin and Sergei Obukhov (Communist Party faction) have sent a letter to the country’s leadership and the Foreign Ministry proposing to denounce the Moscow Treaty of Friendship and Brotherhood signed on March 16, 1921, by the government of Soviet Russia (RSFSR) and the Grand National Assembly of Turkey.

“We should consider a possibility of legal review of all Russian-Turkish agreements that are unfavorable for our country and its allies. Ankara must understand what the escalation of the conflict could be fraught with for it. Only this can bring it to earth and prevent it from carrying out new provocations," Obukhov told Izvestia.

The initiative has been supported by the Just Russia faction. According to State Duma member Oleg Pakholkov, the Moscow treaty was signed to the detriment of Russia’s interests.

Obukhov noted that "two of the three Transcaucasian republics - Georgia and Armenia - did not recognize the terms of the treaty considering it unfair.


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