Mediation Between Armenia And Turkey Would Be A Multi-Dimensional Ga


26.07.2008 16:46 GMT+04:00

While Turkey has intensified its mediation efforts in the Middle
East, Iran has volunteered to take on a similar challenge to break
the ice between Ankara and Yerevan.

"The possibility of such an initiative by Iran is highly optimistic,"
Arif Keskin, a specialist on Iran at the Eurasian Strategic Research
Center, or ASAM. Explaining that a possible mediation would be a
multi-dimensional gain for Iran, Keskin said this is what has likely
driven the country to make such an attempt. "Iran is the sole country
rescuing Armenia from its isolation within the region. Armenia is
currently under geopolitical siege, surrounded by countries like
Turkey and Azerbaijan with whom it has long-standing problems."

"For Iran, Armenia has major strategic importance as well," he
said. "Iran wants to establish good relations with non-Turkish
elements in the region, especially with Armenia. Its Azeri minority is
a major concern. Therefore to alienate Turkey from Azerbaijan through
an Armenian-Turkish reconciliation would be to its benefit," he said.

"Iran could not solve the problems between Turkey and Armenia. Moreover
it is not clear how sincere Ankara is for a rapprochement with
Yerevan. The establishment in Turkey does not want any change in
bilateral relations," he said. "Previous mediation efforts by Iran
between Azerbaijan and Armenia resulted in Baku’s losing territory. It
is disputable how impartial Iran can be, or to whose advantage it
would work. It is unlikely that it would defend the Turkish thesis
against Armenia," he said.

"Iran wants to give the message to the West that it can act within
their parameters, that it is a stability factor in the region,
not vice versa," said Keskin. He said, however, that the initiative
raises many questions in terms of Turkey. "I do not think that it
was Ankara who asked for such a move from Iran. Turkey is disturbed
by the depth of Iran-Armenia relations. Therefore it is definitely
Iran’s own initiative."

According to Keskin, the Turkish government has to explain itself
publicly in terms of its recent relations with Iran. "It is not
just this mediation effort. Let’s take Ahmedinejad’s planned visit
for example. What could Turkey gain from the visit of such a radical
figure? Sure AKP (Justice and Development Party) would have gains in
domestic terms. But it is a very risky visit otherwise," he added,
the Turkish Daily News reports.