Armenia faces a critical choice

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Araz Aslanlı

Statements by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on regional cooperation and relations with Armenia at a dinner given on his behalf to the heads of foreign missions on the occasion of the 950th anniversary of the Victory in Malazgirt on August 25, and the ensuing response from Yerevan, re-actualized discussions on the possibility of deepening Turkish-Armenian relations …

Although Turkey was one of the first countries to recognize the independence of Armenia, it did not receive a positive response from this country, on the contrary, Ankara faced the territorial claims of Yerevan and accusations of the so-called “genocide”.

In fact, Turkey’s approach to the development of relations with Armenia has always been based on open and fair judgments. Turkish officials generally stated that the development of relations between Turkey and Armenia is based on the solution of three issues: “occupation of 20 percent of Azerbaijan’s lands”, “actualization of the so-called” Armenian genocide “and” Armenia’s territorial claims to Turkey. ” In different periods, a desire was also voiced to take the necessary steps to ensure land communication between the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic and the main territory of Azerbaijan.

One could expect that a country like Turkey, capable of determining the balance of power in the region, would put forward conditions for Armenia to officially declare the following: refusal of the expression “Western Armenia” in relation to the Eastern Anatolian region of Turkey, which is used in the 11th article of the Declaration of Independence dated August 23, 1990; refusal from the image of Mount “Agrydag” on the coat of arms of Armenia, the corresponding point is contained in the 2nd paragraph of the 13th article of the Constitution of Armenia; the signing of a legal text that will contain clear binding provisions on the borders and put an end to statements calling into question the legitimacy of the Gyumri Agreement of 1920 and the Treaty of Kars of 1921 on the borders between Turkey and Armenia; Yerevan’s promise not to put forward territorial claims against neighboring countries.

In fact, unlike the demands of Armenia and some states, none of these conditions contradicts good neighborly relations, the main provisions of international law and the goal of creating a suitable environment for regional peace and cooperation. On the contrary, it would undoubtedly contribute to lasting peace and stability.

Meanwhile, Armenia today may take a softer stance, taking into account factors such as the efforts of some foreign powers to re-transform the region into a hotbed of tension.

But in any case, the main condition for regional cooperation should be full respect for mutual territorial integrity and sovereignty, rejection of all types of aggressive attitude and new provocations, the return of people who left their homeland (including the Azerbaijani Turks expelled from Armenia), and the opening of all transport routes.

Undoubtedly, the fulfillment of these conditions will lead to the strengthening of regional cooperation with all countries, including with Armenia, the transformation of the Caucasus into a region of peace, stability and prosperity. Otherwise, this will mean the continuation of negative scenarios both for Armenia and for the region as a whole.

In this context, the South Caucasus is faced with a historic opportunity, the main condition for the realization of which is for Armenia to show sincere will and not succumb to the games of foreign forces that have their own ambitions in the region.

Full text (in Turkish):

Araz Aslanlı

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