Time in Yerevan: 11:07:36,   14 December

Turkey will not stop in Afrin – Turkologist sees danger of Turkish move to Armenian-populated Gamishli

YEREVAN, MARCH 20, ARMENPRESS. The Turkish operation in Syria code-named “Olive Branch” is an act of disrespect towards the territorial integrity of sovereign state of Syria, since the Turkish troops freely invaded the Syrian territories and carries out military operations under the pretext of fight against terrorism, ARMENPRESS reports turkologist, Dean of YSU Faculty of Oriental Studies Ruben Melkonyan said during a press conference on March 20.

“Erdoğan’s steps have domestic and external components. The external component is, naturally, increasing Turkey’s influence in the region and the reinforcement of its position as a key regional power. Turkey tries to show that in this region issues should be solved not by the countries located thousands of kms away, such as the USA, but the regional countries and first of all Turkey”, Ruben Melkonyan said.

Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s steps ahead of the elections of 2019 also include propaganda goals.

“I think Erdoğan’s steps also contain a very important domestic component, since Turkey approaches a very important electoral stage that will grant Erdoğan unlimited powers as the president of the country under the already established constitutional basis. It’s true, Erdoğan had succeeded in a number of spheres in terms of improving the social situation of the country and neutralizing his political opponents, but he had a very important shortcoming – he had not passed through a war and his reputation lacked the military component. With this operation Erdoğan also solves this issue. Apart from all these, Erdoğan “continues the Ottoman traditions”, he conquers new territories. I am convinced this will be one of the key points of his pre-electoral campaign. It will be noted that Erdoğan is the first president who manages to bring back, at least de facto, some of the parts of the Ottoman territories”, Melkonyan said.

Referring to the geography of Turkey’s military operations, the turkologist noted that Turkey will not be limited only with Syria’s Afrin. The Turkish president has announced that the his army will invade also Gamishli, which is Armenian populated.

“Gamishli is an Armenian-populated area and here we will see the encounter of Turkish troops and the Armenian Diaspora, and naturally Turkey will not be engaged in humanitarian acts here, but it will do what it usually does”, Melkonyan said, adding that it will be naïve to think that Turkey will withdraw its troops from the mentioned territories later. “Those territories will remain under de-facto influence of Turkey”, he said.

Ruben Melkonyan added that starting from last year Erdoğan often speaks about “historical problems”. He announces that the Lausanne Treaty was not a foreign policy achievement for them and sooner or later they will reconsider it. “I think Erdoğan carries out steps that will “destroy the boundaries drawn by Lausanne”. The Turkish president refers to a document that existed before Lausanne by which Mosul, Nakhichevan and some other territories belonged to Turkey”, the turkologist said, adding that not far in the future Mosul will become the target of the Turkish troops.

English – translator/editor: Tigran Sirekanyan

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