YEREVAN (Yerkir)-"The real reason of the current crisis in Armenian-Turkish relations is hidden in the preconditions Turkey sets for establishing relations with Armenia," said Chairman of the National Assembly's Standing Committee on Foreign Relations and ARF Supreme Body Representative Armen Rustamian during Wednesday's parliamentary hearings on Armenian-Turkish relations. Those preconditions, he said, include the recognition of Turkey's territorial integrity with a unilateral, double ratification of the Kars Treaty, assurance of the territorial integrity of Nakhijevan within Azerbaijan, an end to the pursuit of Armenian Genocide recognition, and the settle of the Karabakh conflict with a withdrawal of Armenian troops from Karabakh and adjacent territories. Rustamian said that Turkey is calling into question the only Armenian-Turkish treaty ratified, by demanding a double ratification of the Kars Treaty. Nakhichevan is mentioned because it was given to Azerbaijan as a territory under its protection, not as a part of the country, said Rustamian. By demanding that the Armenian Genocide issue not be raised, Turkey aims to avoid any responsibility--territorial or material. By putting forward the Karabakh settlement issue, Turkey is becoming an unofficial party to the conflict, he added.Rustamian considered the precondition connected with the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict as the most illogical one. In the contemporary world, he said, it is not common to associate the relations of two states with a third one. "With this position Turkey is an unofficial party to the conflict rather than a neighboring country that refuses to establish diplomatic relations with Armenia. And this goes fully in line with the logic, according to which Turkey and Azerbaijan are two states of the same people, therefore, the conflict of the one is the conflict of the other," he noted. The need to establish relations with Turkey stems from the existence of a traditional pan-Turkic vision shared by Turkey and Azerbaijan, Rustamian said. Pan-Turkism poises a threat not only to Armenia but also to the security of the entire region. He said that Turkey's admission into the European Union could be favorable for Armenia if becoming a European country is a sincere goal and not a means to give new force to its Pan-Turkic claims. Arthur Aghabekian, an ARF parliamentary faction member and the chairman of the National Assembly's Standing Committee on Defense, National Security and Interior Affairs also commented on the establishment of relations between the neighboring countries. Armenia stands for the establishment of diplomatic relations with Turkey without preconditions, he said. A positive involvement in the South Caucasus on the part of Turkey will continue bring Armenia closer to normalizing its relations with Turkey, Aghabekian stressed. The current level of cooperation that exists between the two countries is "imposed," Aghabekian added. "It is imposed, because the elements of cooperation have do not stem from a social demand, but rather, from commitments both countries have made to other institutions or nations," he said. The closed border between Armenia and Turkey represents more than just a blocked border between the two countries, Aghabekian noted. The Armenian-Turkish border is also a border between Armenia and a NATO member state. According to Aghabekian, Armenia and NATO would become closer if it weren't for the blockade. The opening of the border would provide a greater opportunity for Armenia to deepen its cooperation with the NATO alliance, he said. The normalization of relations between the two countries will also help promote the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, according to Aghabekian.
Thursday, December 20, 2007