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Turkish gambit2010-01-14 17:45
The meetings of the Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin with the Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan in Moscow and the heads of the foreign policy administrations of Armenia and Russia in Yerevan became one of the momentous events in the Caucasian political area. The set of issues and problems that were solved in the course of these meetings have been accumulating for many years. For instance, the negotiations between the governmental heads resulted in discussing the issues of collaboration in the field of nuclear power engineering, construction of the South Stream pipeline and the Samsun - Ceyhan oil pipe line, as well as eliminating visa limitations between Russia and Turkey.
Besides such purely economical issues, the negotiators touched upon the much more complicated topics, such as the situation in the Caucasus, relationship between Armenia and Turkey and the problem of Nagorny Karabakh.
The discussion of the existing problems was not accidental, for Russia is currently acting as a mediator in settling relationship between Turkey, Armenia and Azerbaijan. The meeting with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Russia Sergey Lavrov resulted in a statement made by his Armenian colleague Edward Nalbandyan that Armenia will make every possible effort to ratify the Armenian-Turkish protocols about the settlement of the diplomatic relations and the development of bi-lateral relations within a reasonable period of time. These documents were signed by the heads of MFA of Armenia and Tukey on 10 October 2009 in Zurich, while this year, on January 12 they were approved by the Constitutional court of Armenia.
Russia is also deeply interested in normalizing the relationship between the two countries, so long as the ratification of agreements will lead to opening the Armenian-Turkish border that has been closed since 1993 on Ankara's initiative and, consequently, a land road from Russia to Armenia is going to be available instead of the track passing through Georgia. Besides, the opening of the border and settling relationship with Turkey may improve the complicated socio-economical situation in Armenia. However, one should note that things are not as simple and innocent as one may think at first. The Dashnaktsutun Armenian Revolutionary Federation and ten other parties believe that the Armenian-Turkish protocols imply a threat to the safety of Armenia and Nagorny Karabakh. These parties have already tried to attain the full or partial recognition of the documents signed in Zurich as contradicting the current Constitution of Armenia. Obviously, the parties will take every effort to block the positive decision of the problem in the course of the parliamentary meetings dedicated to the documents ratification.
On the other hand, in his speech delivered on January 13 in Moscow State University of Foreign Affairs Prime Minister of Turkey Tayyip Erdogan stated that "it is necessary to put an end to the occupation of the Azerbaijani territories", meaning the current problem of settling a conflict with Nagorny Karabakh. Such strong pro-Azerbaijani position will hardly contribute to enhancing the process of setting up normal Armenian-Turkish relationship. One should not forget about the current problem of Turkey's recognition of the fact of the genocide over the Armenians in 1915. Let us remind you that such recognition is an obligatory condition of Turkey's joining European Council.