Why Should Kocharian Go To Istanbul?


2 June 04

Turkey’s Official Position and the Position of the Armenian Opposition
Inadvertently Coincide

The policy adopted by the official Ankara towards Yerevan is
anti-Armenian and hostile and it wasn’t changed since 1991. Perhaps,
the strategy of the anti-Armenian policy has changed. If before
1994 Turkey was obviously making military threats to Armenia it
has blocked, after the Karabagh war, feeling the uselessness of the
abovementioned strategy transferred the anti-Armenian struggle to
the sphere of propaganda. Turkey still keeps refusing to establish
diplomatic relations with Armenia, conditioning this with several
preconditions. Hence, on conditions of the current Armenian-Turkish
relations (read: absence of relations) RA President doesn’t find
it expedient to participate in NATO’s regular summit envisaged in
Istanbul on June 28-29.

Firstly, the press secretary of RA President, then RA Foreign Minister
Vartan Oskanian explained the decision of the president not to leave
for Istanbul: notwithstanding the numerous statements made by the
Armenian side to improve the relations with Turkey no positive results
are fixed. Particularly, Oskanian repeated that Yerevan is ready to
establish diplomatic relations with Ankara without any pre-condition.

Abdullah Gul, Turkish Prime and Foreign Minister, commenting on the
decision of the Armenian president on May 20 in Moscow, reminded,
“this is a NATO summit”. “Armenia has an office in Istanbul within
the framework of the Black Sea economic cooperation. Perhaps, Armenia
will close it?” Gul said.

In fact, the Turkish Foreign Minister tries to condition the current
Armenian- Turkish relations by the refusal of Kocharian to go to
Istanbul. On the other hand, Giul keeps reminding that the opening of
the Armenian-Turkish border is possible only in case Armenian forces
liberate “the occupied Azerbaijani territory.”

The Gumhuriet, one of the Turkish central newspapers reminds in one
of the articles of May 30 issue (“The Relations with Yerevan are
Stuck”) that “the process of naturalizing expected in Ankara â^À^Ó
Yerevan relations can’t begin, as Armenia takes no positives steps
in Nagorno Karabakh’s and Turkey’s issues. Ankara defines that on
current conditions the establishment of diplomatic relations and
opening of the borders will not be included in the agenda.”

The Gumhuriet also emphasizes that in Istanbul Turkey, Armenia and
Azerbaijan envisaged to discuss the issue of Nagorno Karabagh and the
suggestion of Baku to call off the Armenian forces (from the territory
of Azerbaijan: editor). “Thus, Kocharian makes us think that he is not
going to discuss the topic,” the newspaper writes. Whatever comments
are made, one thing is obvious. In the international practice, when
the two states have no diplomatic relations, according to the given
situation, one can participate on a lower level on one or more stages
in the arrangement taking place in the country with no relations.
Thus, the refusal of Kocharian to go to Istanbul is no queer phenomenon
for the diplomatic practice.

More likely, the queer is the coincidence of the official Turkish
and Armenian opposition’s (that of its part) positions.

If the Turkish officials and the Press use the refusal of Kocharian
to go to Istanbul for Ankara’s political agenda, as if Armenia is
unwilling and doesn’ t establish relations with Ankara, the Armenian
opposition uses this fact to remind of its existence to the home and
foreign political forces. What would be the achievement of Kocharian
if he went to Istanbul? We merely have to remember that since 1991
the visits of the Armenian high ranked officials to Istanbul or
Ankara didn’t yield anything. On the contrary, Turkey demands more
preconditions for the establishment of diplomatic relations with

By Tatoul Hakobian.