Armenian Government To Revise Macroeconomic Forecasts For 2010


20 MAY, 2010

YEREVAN, MAY 20, NOYAN TAPAN. The Armenian government will revise the
macroeconomic forecasts for 2010. Prime Minister Tigran Sargsyan said
at the May 20 session of the government that it is already obvious
that the anti-crisis measures have produced positive results, and
the economic growth in the industry is gathering momentum. So, in
his words, it is necessary to consistently carry on working in this
direction and to focus more on economic growth in 2011 in order to
maintain high growth rates in 2011-2012.

On The Day Of The Last Bell Transport Movement Near The Republic Squ


May 20, 2010

On the day of the last day – May 21, transport movement in the
Republic Square in Yerevan will be blocked, said Norik Sargsyan,
Head of Road-Patrol service of Road Police of Armenia.

"Due to holiday events of the last bell and with the purpose of
provision of security on the roads, transport movement near Republic
Square will be blocked on Friday from 14.30 to midnight", he said.

Road-Patrol service of Road Police of Armenia moves into strengthened
regime of service related to the last bell from May 20. From Friday
morning there will be two-three groups of patrol service near all
the schools.

He also called the parents to be attentive and not allow their
teen-agers to drive cars.

European Parliament Resolution Contradicts EU Stance: Edward Nalband

13:29 21.05.10

Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandyan is dissatisfied with
the 2216 non-binding resolution adopted at the European Parliament
on Thursday.

According to Nalbandyan it runs counter to the EU stance.

"The provisions of that report about the Karabakh conflict are in line
neither with the Madrid Principles nor with the Moscow declaration …

There is an apparent chaos of formulations," Nalbandyan, said at a
press conference today.

At the same time he recalled that the EU made its approach public
in December 2009 in Athens. "That approach is fully in line with
Armenia’s approach," said Nalbandyan.

The document adopted by the European Parliament clarifies the EU’s role
in tackling the frozen conflicts in the South Caucasus, particularly
the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

"Members of the European Parliament welcome the dynamic process
of the Armenian-Azerbaijani negotiations, but call on the sides to
intensify the talks to achieve peaceful settlement for the conflict,"
proposed the EP.

Further it says that the European Parliament calls on making the
negotiation process more active and quit all the actions that are
aimed at preserving the status quo established by force and not in
line with international law – something not beneficial for Armenia.

Particularly, the European Parliament requires that the "Armenian
troops be pulled out of the Azerbaijani occupied territories to let
those displaced to return to their homes."

Further the European Parliament says it "insists on Armenian forces
to withdraw from all occupied Azerbaijani territories adjacent to
Nagorno Karabakh."

What the EP suggests is giving Nagorno Karabakh a temporary status
unless its final status becomes clear which will enable the sides to
ensure during that transitional period the peaceful coexistence and
cooperation of Armenian and Azerbaijani people.

Strategy Of Development

Gagik Harutyunyan

"Noravank" Foundation
21 May 2010

The stirring up of the issue connected with Armenian-Turkish relations
and the approximation of the centenary of the Armenian Genocide
occasioned to take new view of the current problems of the Armeniancy,
to turn to our political history and possible prospects. This tendency
should be perceived positively because both among us and in the
world the changes, which demand the elaboration of strategy adequate
to the new realities, are taking place. It is desirable, of course
that the discussions on the issues of the nationwide importance will
be of permanent character. Back in the 19th century English thinker
John Stuart Mill expressed the idea that the absence of the serious
discussions on fundamental principles corrupts and distorts that
very ideas and principles, and it is difficult to disagree with this
statement. It is obvious that without new approaches the solution of
the all-Armenian issues (and there many of them) is at least doubtful.

Let us try to cover some of them briefly.

Diaspora: traditions and new imperatives Even if you cast a glance
at the situation in the Diaspora it becomes clear that alongside with
the separate achievements there are really serious problems and losses
in that sphere. The general impression is that the strategy directed
to the survival of the "Armenian communities" is not enough today to
respond adequately to the various challenges faced by the Armenian
communities. The formed mode of life is breaking up under the influence
of different external and internal factors and it is not possible to
soften, not to say to avert that influence. It is not a secret that
those realities are partially characteristic of the situation in
the RA, NKR and Javakhq too. One can state that its is time for the
Armenian elite to try to reconsider both existing traditional formats
and content of family, communal, partisan, religious self-organization
and to elaborate new national concepts. At the same time if there
are political innovations carried out in the mentioned directions,
we should avoid the "destroy the old, build the new" Bolshevik
principle (especially in case when there are obscure ideas of that
"new", and when there are no preconditions for passing to that "new"
formed). Such quasi-revolutionary approaches cause the so-called
"gaps" in the national spiritual and intellectual sphere which hamper
the development of the society.

Particularly, today the opinions can be heard that the Genocide issue
has been "settled" and it is time to unite Armeniancy not round the
events of the "tragic past" but round the "timely and positive" ideas.

Such a statement of the question is, of course, dilettantish. It
is necessary to differentiate clearly the issue of the national
memory, political processes of the international recognition and the
elaboration and implementation of the new all-Armenian projects.

>>From the spiritual point of view the Genocide and "depatriation"1
(and probably it would be useful to put that term into circulation
and, alongside with the "genocide", to give its political and
judicial evaluations) are a part of the national consciousness and,
according to that formulation, they cannot be a point at issue (if,
of course, there is no total "brainwashing" through the manipulative
technologies). Let us also mention that from the psychological point
of view the memories of that tragedy contain the motivation for the
compensation processes and one of its manifestations is the political
process of international recognition.

The issue of the recognition of the Genocide This process is not
only of moral but also of political significance for Armeniancy. The
approaches regarding this issue formed within the international
community affect the "rating" of Turkey and its ally Azerbaijan
characterizing them "genocidogen" countries. Thus, the international
recognition of the Genocide is a kind of "restraint jacket" which
increases the level of the national security of Armenia in case of
the probable Turkish-Azerbaijani encroachments. This factor once
more substantiates our stance at the negotiations on the NKR issue
and within the framework of the recent Armenian-Turkish diplomatic
developments the international discussion of the issue at some
extent favoured policy carried out by Armenia. It should also be
mentioned that the derivatives of the processes of the recognition
of the Genocide, i.e. the issues of the preservation of the cultural
heritage and the trials on separate property and material values,
as it is known, are rather efficient and deserve special attention.

At the same time, up till now the political factor of the Genocide is
more used by others. E.g., the long-awaited word "genocide", as it can
become clear from the article by H. Nahapetyan2, was pronounced by the
US president back on April 22, 1981. In the US President’s Proclamation
4838 Ronald Reagan mentioned: "Like the genocide of the Armenians
before it, and the genocide of the Cambodians which followed it —
and like too many other such persecutions of too many other peoples —
the lessons of the Holocaust must never be forgotten". Such a statement
implied the logic of the Cold war and was directed against the USSR,
because support of the national movements which began to rise in
the Soviet period in Armenia (as well as in other republics) was in
the national interests of the United States3. Today the situation
is different, and in the near future the US president would hardly
pronounce word "genocide" because it contradicts to the policy of
the United States.

But it is clear that even if the whole world recognizes the Genocide,
it does not mean that the Western Armenia will be returned to the
Armenians. In this issue, nevertheless, it is necessary to refuse
from the overestimating the Jewish precedent. The recognition of
the Holocaust and repatriation by Germany were determined by its
defeat – the armies of the allies were in Berlin. It should also be
mentioned that the Jews "prepared" the creation of their state by
committed intellectual and ideological and organizational-economic
activity which had been carried out for centuries. In our case the
recognition of the Genocide by Turkey (this is more than hypothetical
scenario and it is not associated with the current authorities of
that country), most probably, will approximately look like the regret
which was expressed by the Serbian parliament concerning the actions
implemented against Bosnian population. Ankara would agree to make
concessions only if it has a status of the disorganized state.

Thus, it can be stated, that the process of the international
recognition of the Genocide, having a positive meaning in general,
has some restrictions and it cannot be an ultimate goal for Armenia
and Armeniancy. In other words, if the Armenian Genocide is totally
recognized, the further political strategy of the Armeniancy after
that becomes rather obscure. The absence of a definite answer to that
question proves that there are no necessary resources of the strategic
thinking in our society; meanwhile those resources directly correlate
with the notion of the National Security (NS).

The contemporary interpretations of the national security Today,
the notion of the NS is being transformed and, further to the old
concepts about the resources necessary for the national security
provision, the possibility for the development of the society has
become one of important criteria of the NS4. Particularly, it is
supposed that the "challenge-adequate response" system which was
believed to be efficient, under current situation is not enough and
the usage of that very principle may bring to a dead end. According
to A. Vladimirov’s fundamental work the new approaches assume that
"the paradigm of the development and security coordination maybe
implemented within the dialectics of "security through the development
and development through the security" principle". Scrutinizing the
issues of the security with the help of such a methodology one can
come to a rather simple conclusion that the human being and the human
society are "the responsible" or in other words are the critical
substructure of the process of the development (i.e. the security).

And the level of their development (in our interpretation the ability
to organize, to acquire knowledge and to implement it) determines
the security of the nation and state. It follows from this that
the development is one of the manifestations of the strategy which
supposes both the strategy of the "small steps" and strategy of "leaps"
(after the accumulation of the critical quantity of the achievements by
"small steps") which, according to the Chinese formulation, provides
"the conquest of the future and its usage for your own purposes".

Considering the issue of the future of the Armenia and Armeniancy in
the aforementioned context, we should respond that we have serious
problems from the point of view of the development. It is known that
the intellectual potential of Armenia has reduced for the recent twenty
years and the projects of the development of that sphere are not very
optimistic and, furthermore, they are of theoretical character. The
worst situation is in the Diaspora where the acknowledgments of the
national science necessity, the appropriate thinking and culture
have not been formed yet5. As it is known there are thousands of
social and political organizations working abroad, which, however,
(and the exception is the Galouste Gulbenkian Foundation) rarely turn
to the scientific and educational sphere (here we do not consider
the communal and Sunday schools which activity is mostly directed
to the preservation of the Armenian identity but which have also
appeared in rather critical situation). Let us also mention that
other nations, which have Diaspora, have created many foundations
sponsoring scientific and educational activity.

In our opinion the aforementioned strategic oversight is conditioned
not by the comparative scantiness of the means but by the conceptual
vision of the Armenian elite6. Very often the process of the
recognition of the Genocide is perceived as the ultimate priority,
and for its lobby – for example in the US – rather vast means are
spent; great importance is attached to the building of the churches
and monuments. Of course, indisputably, it is very important but at
the same time such things of paramount importance as the formation
and the development of the human capital are overlooked, i.e. our
national security is endangered. At the same time here the question
to what definite purposes the strategy and development of the national
security should serve is grounded.

Possible scenario: "In the third cold war" In modern history the key
events for Armenia and Armeniancy were connected with geopolitical
shifts. World War I and revolution caused the Genocide and loss of the
Western Armenia, creation of the First and the Second Republics. After
World War II there was a big possibility of the collision between the
USSR and Turkey which could have mostly solved the Armenian issue. As
a result of the Cold war and the collapse of the two-polar world the
RA and NKR were created.

Meanwhile at present the political situation, which may cause
new global shifts conditioned by the formation of the multi-polar
system, is formed. According to some analytical viewpoints based on
the tendencies, which are outlined today, the current processes of
"division" will be followed by the formation of the new associations
based on civilizational characteristics. In some schematic scenario
developments, in particular, the formation of Europe-Russia military
and political association (in some versions together with the US)
directed against the expected dangers from the East is not excluded7.

In case of this "Third Cold War" with new features most probably the
place of Armenia will be in the conventional Europe-RF block and the
place of our Turkish speaking neighbours in the conventional "East".

In this case Armenia may acquire the status of a "boarder" state (the
one of Israel in the Middle East) with all the risks and advantages
deriving from it. In case of some positive developments for us those
"advantages" may include the breakup of Turkey and at least partial
reclaiming of Western Armenia.

Of course the aforementioned scenario is of theoretic character but
one should always remember that back in 1980 it was almost impossible
to imagine that in a decade a war would outbreak and two Armenian
republics would be formed. At the same time it is known that the
implementation of any "positive scenario" is possible only in case of
being prepared to those developments in advance and making efforts for
the implementation of the advantageous scenarios which, in its turn,
is possible only under the strategic development.

1Some researchers offer term "patricide".

2Õ~@Õ¡&#xD5 ;µÕ¯Õ¡O~@Õ¡&#xD 5;´ Õ~FÕ¡Õ°Õ¡Õ ºÕ¥Õ¿ÕµÕ&# xA1;Õ¶, Â"Ô±O~@Õ¤Õ&#xB5 ;Õ¸O~D
Õ~DÕ"Õ¡O ~AÕµÕ¡Õ¬ Õ~FÕ¡Õ°Õ¡Õ ¶Õ£Õ¶Õ¥O~@&#xD5 ;¨ Õ¹Õ"Õ~^ Õ³Õ¡Õ¶Õ¡&# xD5;¹Õ¥Õ¬
Õ~@Õ& #xA1;ÕµÕ¸O~A O~AÕ¥Õ²Õ¡Õ&#xBD ;ÕºÕ¡Õ¶Õ¸O ~BÕ©ÕµÕ¸O~BÕ&#x B6;Õ¨Â",
Ô³Õ&#x AC;Õ¸Õ¢Õ¸O~BÕ&# xBD;. Ô±Õ¦Õ£Õ¡&# xD5;µÕ"Õ¶ Õ¡Õ¶Õ¾Õ¿&# xD5;¡Õ¶Õ£Õ¸O~B& #xD5;©ÕµÕ¸O~BÕ¶ , #2
(12), Õ§Õ" 19, 2010, ;nid= 2429

3On this occasion it is necessary to mention that the availability of
the national movement patronized from "abroad" in the Second Republic
mostly contributed to the success in Karabakh conflict.

4Ð~PÐ"еРºÑ~Aанд Ñ~@ Ð’Ð"адÐ& #xB8;миÑ~@о& #xD0;²,
Â"Ð"о& #xD1;~AÑ~CдаÑ~@&#x D1;~AÑ~Bво и войн&# xD0;°Â",
Ð~_оР"иÑ~BиÑ~G&#xD 0;µÑ~AкиÐ&#xB 9; кÐ"аÑ~AÑ ~A, #2 (50), Ñ~A. 95, 2009.

5The example illustrating this phenomenon is that the only one of its
kind in the region Â"H2 ECOnomyÂ" laboratory established under the
patronage of American Armenian Gafeschian and dealing with hydrogen
energy and fuel cells was closed due to the "low profitability".

6Let us mention that the scantiness of the material resources is also
conditioned by the underdevelopment of the scientific and educational
sphere of the Armeniancy. In particular, the Armenian capital (both
in Diaspora and in Armenia) is poorly presented in the sphere of
high-tech which is supposed to be the most profitable today.

Ashot Gizirian Appointed Shirak Region Governor


MAY 20, 2010

YEREVAN, MAY 20, NOYAN TAPAN. By RA government’s May 20 decision
Lida Nanian was relieved of Shirak region governor post, according
to her application. By RA government’s another decision of the same
day Ashot Gizirian was appointed Shirak governor.

It should be mentioned that on May 19, RA President Serzh Sargsyan
signed a decree on relieving A. Gizirian of the RA Justice Ministry
Penitentiary Department head post.

F18News: Azerbaijan – Nakhichevan – "No trial – they were just held"


The right to believe, to worship and witness
The right to change one’s belief or religion
The right to join together and express one’s belief

========================================== =====
Thursday 20 May 2010

Four readers of the works of the late Muslim theologian Said Nursi were
held for three days without trial by Azerbiajan’s NSM secret police in
Nakhichevan, Forum 18 News Service has learned. "There was no
administrative trial – they were just held there," Muslims complained.
Restrictions in Nakhichevan – an exclave between Armenia, Iran, and Turkey
– are even tighter than in the rest of Azerbaijan. No officials, whether in
Nakhichevan or in the capital Baku, were prepared to explain why the four
Muslims were held without trial. The NSM denied the incident, claiming that
they "didn’t arrest anyone for reading books. That would be absurd."
Trouble began for the Nursi readers when one of them was arrested at
Nakhichevan airport after Nursi literature was found on him. Five other
local Nursi readers were then arrested at home, and eventually late at
night two of them were freed. The remaining four were held in the NSM
cellars for three days, a Nursi reader told Forum 18. Like Bahai’s and
Adventists, Nursi readers have also told Forum 18 that a number of them
have left Nakhichevan, to live in other parts of Azerbaijan where pressure
on them is not so intense.


By Felix Corley, Forum 18 News Service <;

Four readers of the works of the late Turkish Muslim theologian Said Nursi
were held for three days from 11 May in the cellars of the National
Security Ministry (NSM) secret police in Nakhichevan [Naxçivan] city,
fellow readers who asked not to be identified have complained to Forum 18
News Service. "There was no administrative trial – they were just held
there." Nursi readers are frequently detained and fined in Azerbaijan,
including in Nakhichevan, an Azerbaijani exclave wedged between Armenia,
Iran, and Turkey. Restrictions on religious activity in Nakhichevan are
even tighter than in the rest of Azerbaijan.

Meanwhile, President Ilham Aliev has bowed to local and foreign pressure
not to allow the demolition of the Fatima Zahra mosque in the Azerbaijani
capital Baku. The Mosque, along with other mosques as well as Christian
churches, has been forcibly closed by the authorities (see F18News 7 May
2010 < 1441>). President Aliev
has made no move towards allowing the reopening of other places of worship
(see forthcoming F18News article).

Officials refuse to discuss detentions without trial

No officials – whether in Nakhichevan or in Baku – were prepared to explain
why the four Muslims were held without trial. The press officer at the NSM
secret police in Baku – who refused to give his name – insisted to Forum 18
on 18 May that no such arrests had happened. "The National Security
Ministry didn’t arrest anyone for reading books," he claimed. "That would
be absurd." He declined to answer any other questions and put the phone

The authorities have frequently confiscated "illegal" religious literature,
and detained the books’ owners (see F18News 11 May 2010
< e_id=1443>).

Equally unresponsive was the NSM secret police in Nakhichevan. An officer
who would not give his name listened to Forum 18’s questions on 18 May and
promised to look into it, asking Forum 18 to call back in an hour. Each
time Forum 18 called back, the phone was immediately put down.

The man who answered the phone of Idris Abbasov – the senior local
religious affairs official who answers to the Nakhichevan government, not
to the State Committee for Work with Religious Organisations in Baku – told
Forum 18 on 18 May that he was away on a work trip. He said no-one else
could answer Forum 18’s questions.

Nakhichevan’s Human Rights Ombudsperson Ulkar Bayramova, who reports to the
exclave’s parliament, put the phone down on 18 May as soon as Forum 18
introduced itself and asked about the detentions of the four Nursi readers.
Officials refused to reconnect Forum 18 with her when it called back.

Three-day detentions

Trouble began for the Nursi readers on 11 May when one of them, Rahman
(last name unknown), who comes from Nakhichevan but now works in Baku,
arrived back in the exclave at Nakhichevan airport. He was arrested when
the NSM secret police found in his luggage two full sets of Nursi’s
14-volume work Risale-i Nur (Messages of Light), as well as religious CDs,
Nursi readers told Forum 18. He told them that one set was his and the
other was a gift for a friend. The books were confiscated.

The NSM secret police then went to the homes of five other local Nursi
readers, Ramin Ibrahimov, and four others, Ali, Kadir, Parviz and Khakani
(last names unknown). "Pray the namaz [Muslim prayer], but you mustn’t read
these books," the Nursi reader quoted officers as telling the six readers.
The six were then taken to the NSM headquarters in Nakhichevan city.

Late at night, Ali and Parviz were freed. However, the other four were held
in the NSM cellars for three days, the Nursi reader told Forum 18. The
Nursi reader added that the four were not maltreated during their detention
and, unlike in other jails, were given food. At least one of the four
intends to write a formal complaint against the detention.

Nakhichevan’s severe human rights limitations

Islam in Nakhichevan remains under tight state control, along with all
other religious faiths and other civil society groups. Shia Muslims faced a
crackdown as they commemorated the festival of Ashura in December 2009,
with young men being turned away from mosques in Nakhichevan city and a
massive crackdown in the village of Bananyar in Nakhichevan’s Julfa
District the day after a large Ashura commemoration. Three young men who
attended the Turkish-led Sunni Juma Mosque in Nakhichevan city were
reported to have been imprisoned for 15 days in November 2009 (see F18News
21 January 2010 < 1397>).

The exclave’s authorities have long had a de facto ban on religious
activity by non-Muslim communities. Small groups of Baha’is, Seventh-day
Adventists and Hare Krishna devotees were banned from meeting several years
ago. Faik Farajov of the state Religious Affairs Office told Forum 18 in
January 2010 that no non-Muslim communities exist. "The Adventists and
Baha’is have all left," he claimed (see F18News 21 January 2010
< e_id=1397>). The small numbers of
religious minority believers in Nakhichevan cannot worship openly,
communities told Forum 18.

Nakhichevan has no Russian Orthodox church, and there are only Orthodox
churches in the whole of Azerbaijan. A spokesperson at the Russian Orthodox
diocese in Baku told Forum 18 on 20 May that, although a few Russian
Orthodox live in the exclave, no regular services take place and no priest
has visited at least in the past year.

Human rights defenders and journalists have long complained that
Nakhichevan is even more authoritarian and restrictive than the rest of
Azerbaijan (see F18News 21 January 2010
< e_id=1397>).

Nursi readers leaving Nakhichevan

Like the Bahai’s and Adventists, Nursi readers have also told Forum 18 that
a number of Nursi readers have had to leave Nakhichevan to live in other
parts of Azerbaijan where pressure on them is not so intense. They say
police officers told them in 2009: "We’re Shias – why don’t you pray like
us?" They were told not to go to pray at the Sunni Juma Mosque in
Nakhichevan city.

Detentions of up to 15 days were common in Nakhichevan until late 2009,
Nursi readers told Forum 18. But in what they say was a deliberate tactic,
the sentenced Nursi readers were not given the court verdicts in writing,
thereby preventing them from lodging appeals. "We wrote a complaint to the
President, and after that they stopped persecuting believers," one Nursi
reader told Forum 18.

Nursi readers have told Forum 18 that in other cases elsewhere in
Azerbaijan, appeals and complaints have led to a lessening of official
harassment of them (see F18News 11 May 2010
< e_id=1443>). (END)

For more background information see Forum 18’s Azerbaijan religious freedom
survey at < 1192>.

More coverage of freedom of thought, conscience and belief in Azerbaijan is
at <; religion=all&country=23>.

A compilation of Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe
(OSCE) freedom of religion or belief commitments can be found at
< id=1351>.

For a personal commentary, by an Azeri Protestant, on how the international
community can help establish religious freedom in Azerbaijan, see
< _id=482>.

A printer-friendly map of Azerbaijan is available at
< s/atlas/index.html?Parent=asia&Rootmap=azerba& gt;.

© Forum 18 News Service. All rights reserved. ISSN 1504-2855
You may reproduce or quote this article provided that credit is given to

Past and current Forum 18 information can be found at

Yerevan To Host Armenian Domino Championship


May 18, 2010 – 15:41 AMT 10:41 GMT

The RA Domino Federation will host the first Armenian Open Championship
May 29.

Championship winners will be accepted as Armenian team members to
further qualify for international domino tournaments. The championship
is open to all who wish to participate.

Winners will be awarded money prizes.

The Armenian Peacekeepers Were Awarded


17. 05.10

Lately 20 servicemen of the Armenian peacekeeping unit participating
in the activities of the ISAF in Afghanistan were awarded with medals
and certificates by the German command of the RC North in Afghanistan.

The award-giving of the Armenian peacekeepers who were active in the
process of realizing the peacekeeping mission took place near the
Kunduz airfield in front of the Armenian chapel built by them.

Man Sentenced For October 27 Case Dies Suddenly In Prison


Hamlet Stepanyan, an Armenian national sentenced to 14 years in
prison in relation to the October 27, 1999 case, died suddenly on
May 15 in the Nubarashen prison, Justice Minister of the Republic of
Armenia informs.

The preliminary examination of Stepanya’s body has not revealed any
sign of violation on it. A forensic investigation is underway to find
out the reason of his sudden death.

A group at the Justice Ministry that conducts public monitoring in
the prisons has been notified about the incident and has been invited
to take part in the examination.

The October 27, 1999 armed attack on the parliament by a group headed
by Yerevan-based journalist Nairi Hunanyan left several high-ranking
officials dead, among them also the then Chairman of the National
Assembly Karen Demirchyan and Prime Minister Vazgen Sargsyan and
several others.

Turkey Linking Armenian Protocols to Azerbaijan Eased The Gas Deal, SC
May 15 2010

Turkey Linking Armenian Protocols to Azerbaijan Eased The Gas Deal

On May 16 Turkey and Azerbaijan will sign the much negotiated natural
gas deal. It sells Azeri natural gas to Turkey at a favorable and
discounted price. One political observer from Azerbaijan says Turkey
linked the protocols to normalize relations with Armenia to progress
in Nagorno Karabakh to make the gas deal easier.

Gas price dispute between Turkey and Azerbaijan took nearly two years.
The protocol negotiations with Armenia took about the same period of
time. They were announced one year ago and signed on October 10 in
2009. Assuming it took some silent diplomacy before they were
announced a year ago, it roughly equals the same time Turkish-Azeri
gas dispute was going on.

Now Turkey and Azerbaijan are very close to conclude their deal. On
Mary 16 the prime minister of Turkey Mr. Recep Tayyip Erdogan will be
in the capital of Azerbaijan Baku to conclude the two years old gas
dispute and sign the deal. this was a dispute that to a serious degree
strained the relations of Turkey and Azerbaijan, two close allies.

Yet, Turkey kept dragging the protocols to normalize relations with
Armenia and artificially linking it to progress on Nagorno Karabakh.
The protocols don’t say a word about Nagorno Karabakh or Azerbaijan.
Eventually Armenia, realizing Turkey is not interested to ratify the
protocols, suspended them from from its parliament’s agenda. Turkish
Foreign Minister Mr. Ahmet Davutoglu yesterday said there is no
"turning back" from the Armenian protocols. However, his country is
not making a single official move. Lately, realizing how difficult it
may be to go ahead with the Protocols without linking them to
Armenia-Azerbaijan issue Turkey suggested to take some time for
"silent diplomacy."

Today the Prime Minister of Turkey Mr. Erdogan is in Greece. With his
counterpart Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou they pledge to
improve ties and solve historic difference. One wonders how come
Turkey does not condition its Greek relations with progress on Cyprus,
but conditions its Armenian relations with progress on Nagorno
Karabakh dispute?

Turkish border with Greece is not closed. The trade is being conducted
and two leaders meet and pledge to further boost bilateral ties. It is
assumed that when two societies know each other better it will be
easier to solve the Cyprus problem.

The question is how come this is not the case when it comes to
Armenia. Turkey has closed its border with Armenia supporting
Azerbaijan’s position in Nagorno Karabakh conflict. Turkey denies the
Armenia Genocide and has not even apologized or shown sympathy to what
it labels 200-300 thousand deaths. Turkey signed the protocols last
year in Switzerland to normalize its relations with Armenia, but has
not done a thing to move it forward.

The answer to these questions comes from Azerbaijan. According to one Baku-based political analyst, Rauf Mirgadirov,
political columnist of the Russian-language daily Zerkalo (The
Mirror), believes that Ankara insisting on the link between
rapprochement with Armenia and concessions on the Nagorno-Karabakh
conflict "restored the trust between Azerbaijan and Turkey and made
agreement on the gas issues easier."

Thus, what’s in the gas deal for Turkey. According to Eurasianet the
transit tariff will be about $2.00-$2.50 per 1,000 kilometers.
Eurasianet obtained these numbers from Azerbaijan’s oil giant SOCAR
executive. Turkey will pay $250 per 1,000 cubic meters to Azerbaijan.
Baku had earlier sought 300 dollars per 1,000 cubic meters of natural

Turkey paid the price burying the protocols with Armenia and made it
easier to get a favorable natural gas deal from Azerbaijan. What will
Azerbaijan offer in return after the deal is signed? Will Azerbaijan
offer a political dividend to Turkey by taking a more realistic and
constructive position on Nagorno Karabakh, remains to be seen in the
upcoming months.

Written by Armen Hareyan