Moscow and Kars Treaties on Regional Agenda

NT Highlights #11(513)
22 March 2004

Moscow and Kars Treaties on Regional Agenda
By Haikaram Nahapetyan

During the recent week the international agreements signed 83 years ago,
which determined the present borders of the Armenian state came into agenda
twice. On March 13, on the 83 universary of Moscow agreement, Armenian
historians, clergyman, intelectuals met in Academy of Sciences and discussed
the historical document. They insisted the document has no juridicial bases
(see the details on page 2). The participants called for denouncing the
document, hence claiming that Armenia has the right to demand territories
from Turkey (Ardahan, Kars) and the Nakhichevan district from Azerbaijan.

By the Moscow agreement between Russia and Turkey Lenin and the founder of
the modern Turkish state, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk became allies. Two
historically confronting states became allies against imperialist Entant
states, a new North-Eastern border line of Turkey was established and some
provinces (Kars, Ardahan, Surmalu) which were under the Russian rule since
1877-1878 Russian-Turkish war also were passed to the newborn Turkish
Republic. Under the October 13 Kars agreements, the Soviet Russia forced the
Soviet Caucasian states to sign simmilar documents with Turkish
representatives, so Armenia was forced to sign its “caputulation” and to
leave the mentioned territories within Turkey’s borders and Nakhichevan
within Azerbaijan.

The efforts to denonunce this document stretch back to the Soviet era. Right
after the WW2, Vyacheslav Molotov, the Soviet FM declared “The Turkish state
made use of the temporary weakness of the Soviets and captured Armenian
territories of Kars and Ardahan. Armenians feel themselves hurt and the
Soviet governemnt rises the matter of returning territories”. Moscow and
Ankara were on the edge of war, but emerging American-Turkish alliance
prevented the Soviet invasion. West made clear: the war between USSR and
Turkey will turn into USSR’s war against US. Stalin stepped back.

The issue was discussed several times in Armenia after it re-gained
independance, the Diaspora was involved as well. On May 1st, 2002, the “Azg”
daily wrote that during the Levon Ter-Petrosyan era several MPs were eager
to denounce the document. In March 2001, Paruyr Hayrikyan, the former
Chairman of The Human Rights Commision at the President staff, leader of the
Self-Determination unit declared the neccasity of denounsing the agreement.
Russian ambassador to Ankara Lebedev told to “Turkish Daily News” on 18
March: “Kars teraty cannot be denounced”.

The question if the Moscow treaty is valid still or not any more, was
discussed last week not only by Armenians. During the crisis in Ajaria Mr
Unal Chevikoz, Turkish ambassador to Azerbaijan, declared that Ankara has
the right to intervene to Ajaria, according to that treaty. Obviously he
meant that Ankara might protect Muslim Ajarians from possible Georgian

Georgian ambassador to Moscow Konstantin Kemularia responsed Ajarians should
not rely on Ankara’s help. “The treaty has expired its’ validaty. That
treaty was made in a quite other terms, radically other kind of relations
exist between Turkey and Russia, Georgia and Turkey, Georgia and Russia
now”, the Ambassador told Interfax.

Why do Turkish state reppresentitve recall Kars? It’s hard to belive Ankara
can move troops into Ajaria, against US and NATOs’ ally Saakashvili, which
has fine realtions with Ankara as well (Saakashvili is to visit Turkey next
month). How would Turkish troops deal with the situation while the Russian
base is still in Batumi? While Moscow is as “jelous” when 3-rd parties enter
former USSR territory, would it tolerate a Turkish invasion? Moreover,
European structures would either deeply dislike such a step Ankara, the
mutual relations with EU would get a new huge problem, similar to the Cyprus

>From the other side, the Turkish ambassador could not have made such a
announcement without the consent of his governement in Ankara.

Really the logic of announcmenet for this part was non-realistic. But let’s
return to the top of our analysis. At the beginning of the week the
historical documents were discussed in Yerevan. Turkish ambassadors’ message
can be just a reply to Armenians. Ankara shows its goes on taking seriously
the Moscow and Kars treaties. Ankara hints Armenians that entirely defends
the treaties of Moscow and Kars, which concern to Turkey’s Eastern borders,
and also the Nakhichevan region.

Hence the Turks hint to Armenians not to rise any discussions over the
historical and juridicial aspects of those documents. If Ankara sees itself
competent for intervening Ajaria, it should see its right for doing the same
in Nakhichevan either, and much more easily. No Russian troops are based in
Nakhichevan. And Baku should be very glad for such an anti-Armenian step
from Turkey.

This can be the most essential in Mr Chevikoz’es announcment.