27 December 2006

1329) Armenia Will Gain Nothing Material from the genocide fact admission by Turkey

The interview of the Chairman of National Assembly of Armenia Tigran Torosian with New Neighbors. The interview has been organized in cooperation with H2 TV Channel. . .

N.N.- Do you find Turkey’s membership in European Union necessary for Armenia? If yes, what is the key obstacle Turkey has to overcome on its way to the EU?

T.T. - It’s not up to us to decide whether Turkey will become EU member or not. Armenia is not yet a member of European Union to have its crucial opinion on this matter. The matter can be considered from another angle – is Turkey’s membership advantageous to us? I think it is for one simple reason: Turkey will find itself in the environment where game rules, principles and the system of values are clear. It is naturally that a country, which appeared in this environment, must respect these principles. That is why I am convinced that this will be useful for Armenia. However, will Turkey be able to follow these principles? That is the question.

To say the truth, the current situation leaves few grounds for optimism, since Turkey faces many problems related to democracy and human rights. There is also a problem connected with us, and not a single European organization has such a system of principles and values that tolerate border closure. That’s why I find Turkey’s entry into European Union unlikely.

N.N. - It isn’t a secret that Turkey has problems with almost all its neighbors. Turkey connects border closure with Karabakh problem. How expedient do you find the development of relationships with Armenia by Turkey given that Karabakh problem settlement is viewed as a priority matter?

T.T. - I think such an approach comes from complex. Turkey became Azerbaijan’s slave, hostage. I am convinced that we’ll never find any other country in European Union that makes relations with its neighbor dependent on its friendship with another country. If Turkey wants to win EU membership, it should establish ties with its neighbors similar to those existing among other EU member countries. I think the fact that Armenia says it wants to improve its relations and establish diplomatic ties with Turkey without putting forward any preconditions while Turkey does put them is also the result of complex. It is absurd. We should hope that Turkey will unchain itself from complexes and stop making relations with Armenia dependent on other things.

N.N. - What are we doing to improve our relations with Turkey?

T.T. - We are doing whatever possible in this situation. Armenia expresses its readiness to improve relations with Turkey without preconditions. I think it is impossible to expect more not only from Armenia, but also from any other country, even theoretically.

N.N. - What material benefits shall we gain from Turkey’s EU membership?

T.T. - I said that in the event of joining European Union, Turkey will be left with no option but to comply with certain civilized rules and principles. This is the most convincing argument to us. Others are minor and accessory matters. Unfortunately, Turkey and Azerbaijan has blockaded Armenia for 15 years and keep blockading now. But fortunately, Armenia finds ways for solving some problems. It means outlet to the sea, roads and other circumstances shouldn’t become the matter of trade. They are European Union’s principles, and if Turkey wants to join European fold, it must respect these principles. This won’t be a present to Armenia. This is just the EU requirement everyone must respect.

N.N. - Some in Turkey like to say that the country missed a great chance in the first years of Armenia’s independence. They mean it was easier to settle Armenian-Turkish problem in the years of Levon Ter-Petrosyan’s rule. How do you explain it? Don’t you think Turkish leadership is trying to portray Kocharyan as a person hobbling the relations?

T.T. - First of all, Turkey and Turks have major psychological problems. My opinion is grounded not only on their policy, but also on the meetings I had in the frames of Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. The problem is neither Levon Ter-Petrosyan nor Robert Kocharyan. The problem is only Turkey. The nation wants to overcome its complexes or at least hide them without referring to the past. The past can’t be changed, but there is another circumstance connected with the past. Can they point out a step ever taken for Armenian-Turkish relationship improvement? They had these complexes in the past, and the current situation that has derived from relations between the two countries was the same in the past and unfortunately is thought to be the same in the future, since there is scant hope that complexes may disappear soon.

N.N. - Turks think closed border with Armenia creates quite adverse economic situation for the latter while open border would ensure precipitous growth. This is their opinion. Our politicians like to say that open border would be advantageous also to Turkey’s eastern cities.

T.T. - I’d like to advise Turkey politicians to shift their attention from Armenia to their own country. They have plenty to care for. As I’ve already said, their biggest problem is complexes and if the nation overcomes them, all the remaining things will be put right. Armenia will deal with own problems.

It is evidently better to any country, including Armenia, to maintain relations with neighbors. Such relations surely have positive impact on economy and other areas. However, it can’t become a subject of trade or be used as means of practicing blackmail against Armenia.

N.N. - What do you think - can meetings between the two countries’ foreign ministers produce positive effect?

T.T. - As a rule, such meetings are useful, but to produce positive results they have to be regular – once a year or some months. Besides, discussions are needed for making these meetings more effective. I think Armenian and Turk politicians should regularly meet and hold discussions. They speak about it very often. I can say that for sure, since I met, on my own initiative, with Turk delegation members in Strasbourg. They promised to stage discussions in Istanbul and to hold other meetings, but nothing has been done so far. There are some members in Turkish delegation that try to present themselves as representatives of neighboring countries, and this should be welcomed, but polar-opposite sentiments dominate Turkish side.

N.N. - Do you think the country leadership puts pressure upon politicians?

T.T. - I think it is obvious that Armenian politicians far free in thinking and expressing their views than their Turk and Azerbaijani colleagues. I have abundant evidence of that.

Besides, Turk politicians often resort to deception. As an example, I can single out a step taken by them at a PACE session in Strasbourg. The thing is that earlier Erdohan sent a letter to Kocharyan and received a reply. Turk delegation, deceiving other countries’ delegates, collected their signatures for condemnation of Armenia’s alleged neglect of Turkey’s initiative to solve genocide-related problems with joint efforts. Turk delegation members said Armenian president had not even responded to the initiative. It was a trumped-up charge. It is obvious that they made that allegation knowing very well that president Kocharyan had already replied to Erdohan’s message a few days earlier. I can point out other examples. When Turk political activists stop behaving this way, it will become possible to discuss something. Armenia keeps stating that it remains steadfast in its determination to improve relations with Turkey without any preconditions. It seemed preconditions would be put forward just by Armenian side. Contrary to anticipations, Armenia didn’t do that and proposed to settle the matter without involving other problems in it.

After all, Armenia will gain nothing material from the genocide fact admission by Turkey. Armenian genocide must be denounced as crime against humanity. Turkey must admit it for its own, not Armenia’s sake.

The interview by Kristine Karslian
Copyright © 2005 CPDD
NewNeigbors



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