Will "Football Diplomacy" Continue Into The Autumn?

Karine Ter-Sahakyan

08.08.2009 GMT+04:00

The agreement signed on April 22 between the Ministries of Foreign
Affairs of Armenia and Turkey is almost the same as the Madrid
principles: a regular stillborn document for internal use.

The farewell visit of Mathew Bryza to the region in the position
of an OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chair was, as usual, a bit scandalous and
unequal; in a word, nothing new except for a new "imperative" used
by the Department of State, claiming immediate handover of the five
regions of Nagorno Karabakh to Azerbaijan, and after a while also
that of the remaining two. It is simply interesting who from the
State Department will this time deny what Bryza said.

/PanARMENIAN.Net/ On the one hand, we understand the position of
the American diplomat: if he really becomes the US Ambassador to
Azerbaijan, he will simply have to look "no stranger" in Baku. And for
the sake of it, anything can be said in Yerevan. The positive point
is that Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh have long ceased to comment on or
even listen to what Bryza says, which is not true about Azerbaijan that
with rapture picked up the "new" idea, giving it out as truth. However,
in reality, even Baku knows that no agreement will ever be signed on
the notorious Madrid principles. Moreover, Ilham Aliyev will not even
be allowed to launch a war, and hinderers will be the very patrons who
are interested in the normal operation of gas and oil pipelines. All
this has been spoken and written about more than once and therefore
is not worth repeating.

One can say that conversations around the Madrid principles
filled up the summer, which this year was rather tense and rich in
events. Similar political activity is, in our opinion, expected also
in autumn: change of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs from the USA and
RF, football match Turkey-Armenia, another Sargsyan-Aliyev meeting
in Chisinau. Though until recently called into question, the meeting
will most likely be held, and will have the same outcome as all the
previous ones. However, the highlight of the fall in the region could
become the refusal of the Armenian President to attend the football
match in Turkey. The Armenian-Turkish relations will remain in the
same limbo if Ankara is not able to find the strength in herself
and desist from interfering in the Karabakh conflict. Better to
say, either Turkey will return the "pass" or the football diplomacy
will come to an end, without even starting. It’s no secret that the
agreement signed on April 22 between the Ministries of Foreign Affairs
of Armenia and Turkey is almost the same as the Madrid principles:
a regular stillborn document for internal use, accepted in view of
certain obligations before the USA, EU and Russia.

Autumn can also set certain equilibrium in Iran, which has been shaky
since the presidential elections. Even if the reformers should succeed
in repeating the revolution of 1979, it will by no means mean that
Iran will go along the way of democracy in the western understanding
of this term. In fact, the struggle in the neighboring country goes
for spiritual leadership, not for ideas. So, nothing will change in
Teheran and the only thing the USA can count on is that Iran will
limit itself to a peaceful nuclear program.

As for Turkey, it will still have to deal with the case of "Ergenekon",
but will also make attempts to bring to life Erdogan’s program on
the Kurdish issue resolution. The latter is highly improbable since
the entire Eastern Anatolia Region, populated with Kurds, waits for
relaxation of the Government to express their desire of autonomy. After
it, not much time will be required for the establishment of the State
of Kurdistan with all its negative consequences for Armenia. In that
case we should be expecting unpleasant course of events, to say no more
of it. Thus, it is much better for Armenia if Ankara solves the Kurdish
problem the way it considers necessary, i.e. by periodically conducting
raids and attacking the RSC bases. Armenians should never forget that
in 1915 they were massacred by the hands of Kurdish troops…

As far as the Georgian-Russian relations are concerned, apparent
deterioration is not foreseen: there will again be recriminations in
aggression, border violation and similar "trifles". Mikhail Saakashvili
will all over again complain to the West, enlist the support of NATO
and the USA, which no more care about Georgia and find it much more
important to normalize relations with Russia, which is not going to
let the gas control valve out of their hands. Talks on South Stream and
Nabucco could last until the end of the year, although no one can know
in advance what course of events should be expected in these issues.