ASBAREZ ONLINE [10-12-2004]


1) Kerry Rep. Sets Record Straight on False Story in Turkish Press
2) Oskanian: Armenia Will Defend ‘Package’ Option of Settlement
3) Karabagh Prime Minister Meets with ARF-West Delegation
4) France ‘Free’ to Block Turkey’s EU Membership: Jacques Chirac
5) Could the ‘Deal of the Century’ Still Live Up to its Name?

1) Kerry Rep. Sets Record Straight on False Story in Turkish Press

Reinforces strong record on Armenian issues; stresses sharp differences with
President Bush

WASHINGTON, DC On October 9, John Kerry’s Spokesman Mark Kitchens issued a
statement in response to false reports in the Turkish newspaper Zaman about
John Kerry’s position on issues of importance to Armenia Americans. “There is
no truth to the report published recently in the Turkish newspaper “Zaman.”
“John Kerry’s record in the Senate and his statements during this campaign
have consistently supported US recognition of the Armenian Genocide,” noted
Kitchens. “John Kerry is a long-time leader on issues of concern to Armenian
Americans and is proud to have been endorsed by the Armenian National
of America.”
“We appreciate John Kerry’s quick action to set the record straight regarding
a blatantly fabricated attempt to misrepresent his 20-year record of
support for US recognition of the Armenian Genocide, strong US-Armenia ties,
and other issues of special importance to Armenian American voters,” said ANCA
Executive Director Aram Hamparian.
“Senator Kerry’s rapid response to this latest act of desperation by deniers
of the Armenian Genocide underscores the depth of his commitment to
the Armenian Genocide, highlights the importance he attaches to reaching
out to
Armenian American voters, and dramatically illustrates the contrast between
record of principled leadership and the President’s neglect and opposition
to a
broad range of Armenian American issues,” stated Hamparian.
“The choice for Armenian Americans is clear,” emphasized Kitchens’s
“They can either have four more years of neglect and even outright opposition
from the Bush administration, or a Kerry-Edwards administration that supports
the issues they care about and welcomes their input.”
The text from the original Zaman article is as follows:

Kerry Denies Acceptance of Armenian ‘Genocide’

The US Democratic Party’s Presidential Candidate, Senator John F. Kerry,
put a
damper on the expectations of Armenian lobbyists on the issue of genocide.

Zaman TurkeyKerry denied claims made by the Armenian lobby in late August
he will accept the Armenian Genocide resolution. The Presidential candidate
told Zaman that he contributed to Senator Robert Dole’s initiatives on the
subject in 1990, but said he has not made any statement that he would accept
the resolution either before the upcoming elections on November 2nd or within
the last 10 years. Kerry said, “Turkey is one of America’s oldest allies
and it
will remain so.”
In the first round of debates between the presidential candidates, Kerry
narrowed the gap between him and his Republican rival, US President George W.
Bush. Kerry, like Bush, gave his full support to Turkey’s accession to the
European Union (EU). The Massachusetts Senator added that Turkey’s
candidacy is
a must for both Europe and Turkey. He said if he is elected President, the
friendship between the two countries will be maintained as is.
At a Democrat Party committee meeting on October 2nd, the Senator paused when
he was told that his statement that he intends to accept the alleged Armenian
genocide deeply upset Turkish society and voters of Turkish origin. He asked
when he had made the statement and was told “last month.” Kerry responded by
absolutely denying it and stressed that he has said no such thing over the
ten years.
At a musical festival titled “Armenstock-Kef for Kerry” held on August 28,
2004 that was organized by the American National Committee for Armenians
in Massachusetts, a letter allegedly sent by Kerry was read by Democratic
Congressional member, Barney Frank. The letter conveyed that the Democratic
Presidential candidate would accept the resolution on April 24, 2005, the 90th
anniversary of the alleged Armenian genocide.

2) Oskanian: Armenia Will Defend ‘Package’ Option of Settlement

YEREVAN (Yerkir)–In an interview to Armenian Public Television, Foreign
Minister Vartan Oskanian said that even if Armenia were to relinquish
to Azerbaijan, that country is unlikely to abandon its current rigid position
on the Karabagh issue.
“It would be naïve to think that returning some of the territories [to
Azerbaijan], would lead to normalization of relations and the re-opening of
borders. Nothing will change,” Oskanian noted, adding he believes that the
viable solution for Armenia is the “package” option. “We should choose the
‘package’ option to ensure enduring peace and stability in the region.”
He also indicated that the international community must also realize that
Karabagh cannot be a part of Azerbaijan and that Armenia should not be
threatened by fears of isolation.

3) Karabagh Prime Minister Meets with ARF-West Delegation

GLENDALEMountainous Karabagh Republic’s Prime Minister Anoushavan Danielian
with a delegation from the Armenian Revolutionary Federation of the Western
United States on Monday, in a meeting that spanned over two hours, and touched
on a variety of crucial issues about Karabagh.
The meeting between the ARF’s Avedik Ismirlian, Hovig Saliba, and Dikran
Sassounian and the Prime Minister, who was accompanied by Vartan Barseghian,
the representative of the Office of the Mountainous Karabagh Republic in the
United States, took place at the Hilton Hotel in Glendale, California.
Danielian addressed the economic, political, and social programs actively
implemented in Karabagh, while the ARF representatives focused on advancing
idea of a national dues payment system by way of the Hayastan All-Armenian
The ARF also proposed means to make the activities of the Hayastan
All-Armenian Fund run more smoothly in California, and addressed the
fundamental need to charge resettlement activities in Karabagh, the necessity
of 90th anniversary Armenian genocide commemorations to take on a Pan-Armenian
nature, as well as the possible dangers Turkish membership to the European
Union pose to Armenia, and more specifically to Mountainous Karabagh Republic.
According to participants, the discussions were lively and pleasant.

4) France ‘Free’ to Block Turkey’s EU Membership: Jacques Chirac

PARIS (AFP)France reserves the right to veto Turkey’s entry into the European
Union “at any moment,” President Jacques Chirac told state television
Sunday in
an interview during a state visit to Beijing.
The French parliament would be consulted on the issue of Turkey’s membership,
he promised, stressing that in negotiations with Ankara “at any moment France
can withdraw, can apply a veto, or can refuse.”
“At that moment, the negotiations end. We are thus totally free,” said
who has previously stated he personally favors Turkey’s eventual membership to
the European bloc.
“In any case, the French will have the last word through a referendum if it
goes to that point,” he said. “And it’s a matter that will not be discussed
another 10 or 15 years at the earliest, if it is at all.”
The ambiguity of Chirac’s stance on Turkey reflected differences between
deputies in his ruling UMP party on the issue.
The party has declared itself opposed to the idea of Turkey, a poor,
predominantly Muslim state, joining the European Union, which itself already
took on 10 new members this year, most of them former Soviet states from
eastern Europe.
Chirac has declared he would put the Turkey membership question to a
referendum, apparently in a bid to separate the controversy from efforts to
have the French electorate adopt an EU constitution.
In related news, a recent poll published by the French newspaper Liberation
showed that a projected 75% of the population oppose Turkey’s accession to the
EU and would vote against such a referendum.
Taken after the European Commission’s recommendation last week in favor of
accession talks, the survey indicated that, among the 25 member EU states,
France is the most firmly opposed to Turkey’s bid.
Compared to 75.3% figure projected by the poll, 64% of the supporters of the
opposition Socialist Party, and 75% of the supporters of President Jacques
Chirac’s Union for a Popular Movement (UMP) stated that they would opposed the
referendum. Voters between the ages of 18 and 24 stood as the only group,
majority65.1%would favor Turkey’s efforts.
The survey was published on Tuesday, two days before a debate in the national
assembly called in response to growing pressure from parliamentarians for a
chance to discuss the issue ahead of a final decision on starting Turkish
accession talks expected from EU leaders on December 17.
However, despite calls from many deputies, the debate will not be followed by
a vote. Both of France’s main parties are deeply split on the matter. Although
Socialist Party leader Francois Hollande has voiced his support for Turkey’s
accession, a large bloc within the party, led by former prime minister Laurent
Fabius who said earlier this month that “Turkey is geographically not part of
Europe,” stand firmly against it.

5) Could the ‘Deal of the Century’ Still Live Up to its Name?

On September 20, Baku staged major celebrations, with Turkish President Ahmet
Necdet Sezer and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Georgian president
Mikhail Saakashvily present among the guests of honor. The cause for the
festivities was the tenth anniversary of the first contract on delivering the
Azerbaijani oil to the world market, dubbed ‘the deal of the century’ by the
late president Heydar Aliyev. Many expectations were frustrated during this
decade but the fast-approaching inauguration of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC)
pipeline could make good on many of the old promises.


Ten years ago, on September 20 1994, the newly-forged consortium of several
international oil companies, called the Azerbaijan International Operating
Company (AIOC), signed the agreement with the government of Azerbaijan on the
development of three oilfields: Azeri, Chirag, and Guneshli. It was BP that
worked hardest and lobbied the smartest in preparation for this agreement, but
it had to cut in Amoco, Pennzoil, and Unocal from the US, Statoil from Norway,
and several minor operators (Exxon joined the next year). What was more,
seeking to secure a neutral or positive attitude from Russia, Azerbaijan’s
State Oil Company (SOCAR) invited Lukoil to join with a decent 10% of the
package, explaining the presence of a representative of Russia’s Ministry for
Fuel and Energy at the signing ceremony.
In those days, however, powerful bureaucrats in the Yeltsin government were
not accustomed to inform one another about their policies, so Foreign Minister
Evgeni Primakov was furious at being kept in the dark. Three months later,
first Chechen War was unleashed and this unfolding disaster made Moscow even
more nervous and disagreeable about Western plans for the Caspian. That
a chain of setbacks for the AIOC: a sharp drop in oil prices, downwards
re-evaluations of the oil reserves in the Southern Caspian, disagreements
export routes, and endless quarrels about maritime borders and even an
(fortunately, a single one) involving Iranian patrol crafts.
In retrospect, three key sources of troubles for the project, as well as
several other contracts signed in its wake, can be identified. The first was
the (sometimes unnecessarily rude) rejections of Iran’s proposals to channel
some of the prospective oil flows towards the Gulf through its territory. The
second was the failure to give Russia a meaningful stake in the project, thus
making a partner with a clear interest in the success. The third and most
complex Pandora box of troubles was full of local conflicts, and the oil
contracts, excitingly promising as they were, failed to make any contribution
towards their resolution. All these shortcomings are still present but at the
start of the second decade of implementation, the situation looks
more promising for AIOC and its local partners. It is not only the unstoppable
rise of oil prices that improves the overall prospects, but also the
in the coming months, after many delays and complications, of the strategic
Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline that could deliver as much as one million barrels
of Caspian oil a day to meet steadily growing world demand.


The intensity of geopolitical competition for Caspian oil has visibly
since the late 1990s when Russia and the US appeared to be at loggerheads over
the control of prospective Caspian pipelines. The present-day relative calm,
however, might be misleading and the absence of any Russian guests at the
celebrations in Baku (as well as the total silence about them in the Russian
media) is a warning signal. While the technicalities of the ten-year-old deal
are mostly resolved, its implementation is still threatened by three regional
risks and three external challenges. The former are the uncertainties about
President Ilham Aliyev’s ability to control infighting among interest
groups in
Azerbaijan’s ruling elite, the desperate efforts of President Mikhail
Saakashvili to keep Georgia mobilized around his program of reforms, and the
fragility of the ten years old cease-fire in Mountainous Karabagh with a
perfectly deadlocked peace process.
The external challenges are the disgruntlement of Iran, which seeks for means
to reduce the international pressure focused on its nuclear program; the
overstretched US, which is stuck in the quagmire of Iraq and seems to have few
political resources left for the Caucasus; and the confused Russia, which
to expand its regional influence but remains unable to contain the war in
Chechnya. Recent Russian efforts at re-orienting its foreign and security
policies towards the ‘war on terrorism,’ triggered by the horrible tragedy in
Beslan, are particularly worrisome. The doctrine of military prevention has
been made an integral part of these efforts, and there is a visible desire to
show the ability to deliver on the promises made by Minister of Defense Ivanov
and Chief of General Staff Baluevsky. The Pankisi Gorge in Georgia has long
been identified as the most probable area for a Russian ‘counter-terrorist’
operation, but it is entirely possible that targets for ‘surprise attacks’
could be found further south in Georgia and in Azerbaijan. The military
base in
Akhalkalaki, Georgia, would then prove its value and the radar station in
Qabala, Azerbaijan, may provide a useful pretextand if such a penetrating
‘counter-terrorist preventive strike’ would also prevent oil from flowing to
the West by damaging some of the BTC infrastructure, nobody in Moscow would be
greatly upset.
Such a scenario might appear entirely hypothetical, and its repercussions
could be far more serious then a post-factum exchange of stern diplomatic
notes. Every balanced assessment of immediate consequences and further
implications would warn against reckless use of military instruments in the
Caucasus, but the Russian leadership has been departing further and further
away from its trademark pragmatism and increasingly shows the
predisposition to
inadequate responses in crisis situations.


The renewed enthusiasm around the decade-old ‘deal of the century’ is fueled
by record-high oil prices and pinned on the forthcoming unveiling of the
high-capacity pipeline. In unstable areas like the Caucasus, however, huge
profits tend to attract big trouble. The recent cancellation of NATO
Partnership for Peace exercises in Azerbaijan was certainly not an isolated
diplomatic incident; the lack of real partnership is certainly an open secret
but the absence of real peace needs to be addressed urgently. The list of
things that might go wrong with delivering the Caspian oil to the world
is excessively long, from implosion of regimes in the South Caucasus to
Russia’s aggressive move in reasserting its dominance. The deal would have
deserved the pretentious name if it was used for promoting stability in the
region. It may not be too late to give this emphasis to the oil policies, but
the currently prevalent benign neglect is not the way to proceed.

Dr. Pavel K. Baev is a Senior Researcher at the International Peace Research
Institute, Oslo (PRIO). The Central Asia Caucasus Analyst is a publication of
the Central Asia-Caucasus Institute at the Nitze School for Advanced
International Studies, at Johns Hopkins University, in Washington, DC.

All subscription inquiries and changes must be made through the proper carrier
and not Asbarez Online. ASBAREZ ONLINE does not transmit address changes and
subscription requests.
(c) 2004 ASBAREZ ONLINE. All Rights Reserved.

ASBAREZ provides this news service to ARMENIAN NEWS NETWORK members for
academic research or personal use only and may not be reproduced in or through
mass media outlets.