3157) Observations And Proposals For The Improvement Of Relations Between Turkey And Armenia by Arman Sarvarian

 Sarvarian © This content Mirrored From  http://armenians-1915.blogspot.com The ongoing dispute between the Turkish and Armenian nations concerning responsibility for the pogroms against Ottoman Armenians in the ‘Hamidian massacres’ of 1894-1896, the ‘Adana massacre’ of 1909 and, especially, the massacres and forced deportations of 1915 (‘the pogroms’) . . . has been the longstanding sore in Turkish-Armenian relations during the past century. However, despite an ongoing series of campaigns during that period by various Armenian lobby groups to pressure mainly European and North American States to recognise responsibility of the Ottoman Empire for the ‘Armenian Genocide’, there remains a remarkable absence of clarity and purpose concerning the Armenian cause.

The forthcoming signing of two ‘Protocols’ between the Republics of Turkey and Armenia has caused great controversy and illuminated this lack of Armenian organisation and focus concerning coherent priorities, methodology and demands towards Turkey

Through analysis of the political aspects of the dispute, contemporary Turkish-Armenian relations are viewed primarily from the perspective of inter-State relations owing to the current intergovernmental negotiating framework. However, strong pressures rendering the success of the ‘roadmap’ initiative unlikely, it is submitted that the more modest and practicable goal of establishment of diplomatic and consular relations be pursued instead towards an incremental, long-term improvement of relations by constituting a forum for direct, public dialogue – including mutual protest concerning the pogroms dispute.

In considering the legal aspects of the dispute, it is advanced that it is not amenable to compulsory adjudication as a dispute resolution method. This is due to the inapplicability of the Genocide Convention 1948 and the fact that the Ottoman Armenian victims were not Armenian nationals at the time of the pogroms. The various forms of negotiation – including mediation, arbitration and voluntary adjudication – are accordingly more suitable to this intractable dispute, the just resolution of which would benefit Turks and Armenians alike. It is submitted, however, that Turkish responsibility for the Armenian pogroms does exist and that it can entail a duty to make reparation, the form of which is explored. In that context, the formulation of a clear, common Armenian strategy is a matter of utmost urgency in order to advance the dispute resolution process.

Incremental Improvement of Bilateral Relations Methodologically, an incremental approach towards improvement of Armenian-Turkish relations by resolving less emotive issues whilst delaying the genocide recognition dispute for later consideration is preferable over attempting to resolve the Armenian pogroms dispute conditionally with détente.

In decoupling the border 1 and diplomatic relations issues from the pogroms dispute by striving to improve bilateral relations through the establishment of diplomatic relations 2 and the opening of the shared border (reducing currently inflated commercial transit costs) would incrementally relax currently tense relations and prepare the respective populations for direct engagement concerning the Armenian pogroms dispute. Whilst a comprehensive settlement approach by which resolution of one issue would be linked to that of every other is possible, the bargaining game that this entails would render it difficult to compose a sufficiently balanced compromise in order to satisfy the domestic pressures placed upon both governments. In general, the establishment of diplomatic relations and the opening of the border are discretionary matters in international law.



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