Turkey-Armenia relations: an eternal deadlock?
Görgülü, Aybars (2008) Turkey-Armenia relations: an eternal deadlock? In: Iskandaryan, Alexander, (ed.) Caucasus Neighborhood: Turkey and the South Caucasus. Caucasus Institute, Yerevan, Armenia, pp. 124-145. ISBN 9789994122202
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After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, the international community has witnessed the emergence of fifteen new states on the lands of the former Soviet Empire. The disintegration of the USSR expedited the recognition of Armenia’s independence as well as the independence of all other Soviet republics, including those that had not asked or campaigned for it. Armenia’s declaration of independence on September 23, 1991 was the fulfillment of an old aspiration for the Armenian society that had always dreamed of statehood. Turkey immediately recognized this new neighbor country on December 16, 1991; however, diplomatic ties were not established between two states in the past seventeen years. In the meantime, Armenian political leaders declared on all occasions that they do not have any preconditions to normalizing relations with Turkey.2 On the other hand, Turkish authorities have also conveyed their will to normalize relations with Armenia, but they have introduced some preconditions as follows:3 - The peaceful resolution of Nagorno-Karabakh conflict with Azerbaijan; - The recognition of the Turkish-Armenian border; - To call off “genocide” campaigns. The most acute problem among these questions is the ongoing Nagorno- Karabakh conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan, Turkey’s ‘brother’ state. The remaining preconditions such as the recognition of the border issue and the “genocide” claims are also problematic; however, Turkey’s priority is the peaceful resolution of the Karabakh conflict. Since its foundation, the Republic of Turkey has had quite problematic relations with its neighboring countries. In that sense Armenia is not an exception; however, the inexistence of diplomatic ties and the closed land border between two countries make the nature of the bilateral relations quite unique. The aim of this paper is to describe Turkey’s special relationship with Armenia. In order to do so, the study will try to identify the intricate problems that both countries try to get over, such as the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, the recognition of territorial integrity and the closed land border issues and finally, the “genocide” claims. Then it will discuss why a solution is necessary and evaluate the probable opportunities and outcomes that will be created if Turkey normalizes its relations with Armenia.
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