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17 April 2014, Thursday
 
 
Today's Zaman
 
 
 
 

‘If we can solve Karabakh, Turkey can open border’

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FORMER FOREIGN MINISTER OF ARMENIA VARTAN OSKANIAN (PHOTO: REUTERS)
10 May 2012, Thursday /CELİL SAĞIR
Vartan Oskanian, former Foreign Minister of Armenia (1998-2008), founder of the Civilitas Foundation and member of the Prosperous Armenia Party, has said that if the problem over the Nagorno-Karabakh could be solved by Armenia and Azerbaijan, then Turkey could open its border with Armenia.

“The Armenian government wants to normalize ties with Turkey. The problem is how to do it. This whole protocol process made clear to everyone that there are obstacles in the way. The question is how both sides could overcome these obstacles. The major obstacle is the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. As long as that issue is not being addressed or somehow resolved I really don’t see how we can move forward on Turkey-Armenia ties,” he said to a group of reporters on Monday from Turkey who came to Armenia with the sponsorship of the Hrant Dink Foundation and the Heinrich Böll Foundation.

Turkey closed its borders with Armenia in 1993 in solidarity with Azerbaijan after Armenian armed forces occupied 20 percent of Azerbaijan in 1992, including the Nagorno-Karabakh region. The issue of Armenia’s withdrawal from the area surrounding Nagorno-Karabakh is of importance for Ankara, which has frequently signaled that this step would ease the way for opening the border with Armenia.

However, the Zurich protocols, signed between Turkey and Armenia on Oct. 10, 2009, do not make any reference to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, and say that both countries should have the protocols ratified by their parliaments within a “reasonable time frame.”

Declaring the protocols “dead,” Oskanian said that the Turkish policy has been clear that there will not be open borders between Turkey and Armenia before the conflict is resolved.

“Overcoming that obstacle depends not only on Armenia but also on Azerbaijan. So, our bilateral ties are held hostage to Turkey’s relations with Azerbaijan,” he said. “For me it is very clear that the border will not be opened unless the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is resolved.”

Oskanian added that he was critical of the Armenian government’s position in signing the protocols with Turkey, explaining, “The current [Armenian] administration did not want to listen. They said no, there is a possibility that Turkey delinked our bilateral relations over the issue of Karabakh. But eventually they themselves became convinced eventually that is not the case.”

He added that the most Armenians understand that it is a priority for Turkey that Azerbaijani interests be addressed and met before Turkey opens its border with Armenia. Asked if there is hope for a solution to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, Oskanian said that it is difficult.

“I am not hopeless but it will not be easy. The Karabakh conflict has already lasted 20 years and it is not going to be resolved unless Turkey changes its position -- which I very much doubt will happen since they haven’t done it in 20 years,” he said. “Negotiations are continuing but the process as far as I am concerned is in a deadlock. After these [Armenian] parliamentary elections, I don’t know if the process will be resuscitated.”

On Sunday’s elections in Armenia, the incumbent Serzh Sargsyan’s Republican Party won about 68 seats, a majority in the 131-seat parliament, according to results released on Monday.

The Prosperous Armenia Party came out of the elections as the second most popular party. Oskanian is expected to run for presidential elections if the ruling Republican Party does not invite the Prosperous Armenia Party to form a coalition government. The Prosperous Armenia party, led by wealthy businessman Gagik Tsarukyan, was the Republican Party’s coalition partner in the previous parliament but Sargsyan’s party will no longer need its backing to pass most laws, which require a majority.

“Prosperous Armenia doubled its number of members in Parliament, but still fell short of what we could have achieved had there been a cleaner election. Had there not been certain violations, I think we would have gotten better results. It is too early to assess the situation,” he said.

Asked if he is planning to run for the upcoming presidential elections, the ex-foreign minister sounded undecided. He said he is not even thinking about the presidential elections at the moment and that they have just concluded parliamentary elections.

“Let’s see what happens,” he concluded.

International monitors gave a mixed assessment of the elections, however, praising Armenia for holding a peaceful election but criticizing violations of campaign law and interference by parties.

The results in the former Soviet republic, where the Republican Party was just short of a majority in the previous parliament, give Sargsyan a strong platform to seek a second presidential term next year.

Asked by the Turkish reporters if Turkey’s proposal for the establishment of a historical commission to study the 1915 events was acceptable for the Armenians, Oskanian said:

“That would mean putting the whole genocide issue up for study again, something that has been done and conclusions have been reached by international scholars and by Armenians that the 1915 events are genocide. The Armenian side will never accept such a commission. So the demand that is put by Turkish Prime Minister [Recep Tayyip] Erdoğan is not realistic as far as the Armenian side is concerned. We would suggest that Turkey opens the border without conditions, we normalize our ties and then, at the governmental level, we can address the issues that are raised by one side or the other. But to create a specific commission for genocide will not be acceptable by the Armenian side, in my view, under any administration.”

 
 
COMMENTS
to sherman Treaty of Alexandrapol is void and null.get your facts.none of the treaties that was signed by ottomans or Turkey was honoured by Turks anyways,and I am not mentioning Armenia,because there is none with Armenia.
Garo Avedis
bjorn , Not at all! Your lovely Turkey is destined to be divided into so many small countries it is a matter of time.
A Matter of Time
Armenians say what....nothing ..just cry ...waaah, waaah!! Want a dummy to suck on...waaah, waaah..
OZman Cometh
It is not possible to "open" artifiical "borders" to artificial terrorist states. In 1950 so-called “armenia” had a Turkish Azeri Majority. Today, there are none. All were killed and illegally expelled from their homeland by Armenian terrorism. A so-called "armenian state" was illegally and arti...
Ayhan
Until Armenia understands their invasion, slaughter of innocent Azeris, the continued occupation of land that isn't theirs, and their oppression of the indigenous people is a heinous internationally recognized crime, AND they correct the problem through withdrawal and compensation, there will be no ...
Cherokee
Ottomanlion,that's what H.Aliyev said
VTiger
Of course we'll side with Russia.Bizarre question
VTiger
Arab spring will finish Aliyev
VTiger
Armenian lies must be renounced, territorial claims on Turkey must be removed from Armenian constitution, and illegal armenian occupation of Karabakh must end. France must renounce Armenian lies. And compensation paid for Ftench and Armenian terrorism. Otherwise no relations at all with French and A...
Eylen Karagoz
@araRAT, you don't make any sense, trusted by siding with the French and the Russians? :D Your FOOLing yourself.
Bjorn
@Bjorn, you must have been sniffing a lot of gunpowder yourself to tell us what we should do. We dont compromise with racist Turkish and pseudo-Turkish (Azerbaijani) criminals, we bring them to their knees. The liberation of Artsakh (Karabakh) is a done deal and it can neither be negotiated nor comp...
Ararat
@Ottoman Lion, what an oxymoron of a name, you seem to be suffering from heavy bloating. Take an Alka-Seltzer it will help with your bloating. The Allies in 1918 extracted your K-9s so be careful not to gum yourself to death or scratch yourself with your kitty claws.
Ararat
@Ottoman Lion, what an oxymoron of a name, you seem to be suffering from heavy bloating. Take an Alka-Seltzer it will help with your bloating. The Allies in 1918 extracted your K-9s so be careful not to gum yourself to death or scratch yourself with your kitty claws.
Ararat
another lesson? (Ottoman Leon) what was the first one ? is it the Armenian Genocide you meant? so you Turks are aware of it and you consider it a lesson, but insist to deny . You will never again be able to give Armenians any lesson, I told you we are READY this time ! In 1915 we trusted the Turks ...
Ararat Araratian
@ararat Big words for an armenian, maybe its time that we turks teach you another history lesson eh?
Ottoman Lion
Why are you moaning about Armenia? Look at Kashmir? The state is under seige by Indian military boots. UN resolved to hold plebiscite in the state to decide whether the state will join India or Pakistan. But India dragged its feet while Pakistan proved to be impotent because of the Western pressures...
muradali_shaikh
To Senol wake up from your panturanian dreams! Armenia is aware of a possible war with Turkey and Azerbaijan and is ready for it! Do not be so sure of the exit though. Are you sure thgat Turkey will remain united after an eventual war against Armenia and that Azerbaijan will continue to exist? and t...
Ararat Araratian
General Sherman Again! Listen, whoever has a minimum of understanding knows on what are based Forbes' evaluations. Armenia is poor? where is the problem ? the average monthly salary in Armenia is of 300 euro, in Turkey it is of 400 euros. In Turkey the aristocrates are those who build their capita...
Araratian Ararat
Arab spring coming to Aliyevistan.Artsakh does not need to fight.
VTiger
Bjorn, Azerbajian can but all the new weapons it wants with petro dollars, the minute they are stupid enough to start a war, there will be no Oil Pipe Lines, the pipe lines are barely 20K away and rather easy to target. Azerbajian economy will collapse in 6 months. Aliyev will have to retire to h...
Sergey
If Armenians and Turks have any evidence to prove their claims and counter-claims, they both separately or together should open a case at an internationally recognized, unbiased, independent court of law, or set up an inquiry of unbiased, honest and independent experts to put an end to this hundred-...
adam orman
It sounds so hypocritical for Turkey to ask Armenia to abandon Artsakh, while at the same time the occupation of Northern Cyprus continues for more than 37 years.Unfortunately history is not forgoten, for the ones who care to learn and remember.
Chris Athens
In order to understand what Turkey does through open borders with another country, look at what is going on along the Turkish Syrian border. We do not need such "open" borders with Turkey, better they remain closed. And Turkey should not interfer, Armenia, karabakh and the "so called" Azerbaijan is...
Ararat Araratian
Garo Avedis, we don't need you to sign anything. Your defeated people signed the Treaty of Alexandropol remember?
GeneralSherman
To the delusional armenians claiming that armenia doesn't need the border open at all or the ridiculous idea that Turkiye needs it open more than armenia (lol, OK, I think everybody can see that there needs to be a discussion about the ridiculous and unwarranted ethnocentrism and hubris of armenians...
GeneralSherman
Turkish borders closed would help Armenia to become more self-sufficient and independent. Don't underestimate Turkish desire to export its products to Armenia! However, Artsakh was Armenian land and will remain Armenian forever, as is Ararat and surroundings.
Hairenakitz
Armenia will either solve this issue with a compromise with Azerbaijan or Azerbaijan will solve this with gunpowder. Azerbaijan invests in ratio more than anyone on arms. The occupation of Karabakh should be lifted.
Bjorn
Aban don Al hope, Armenia doesn't need the borders opened? Then why is your foreign minister talking about it? Maybe because Armenia is dependent on Turkey? What would be more accurate to say is that Turkey doesn't need the border opened!
Metin
If Turkey leaves Cyprus, they can be really considered to join the EU. Isn’t this what Mr. Oskanian is saying. The difference is Cyprus was never part to Turkey but Nagorno Karabagh was never an Azeri territory before 1900’s because there was no such thing as Azerbaijan before that.
Yakov
Turkey must liberate Armenia and Karabagh as these two are historic Turkish territory
john the turk
What Armenians don't understand are the following: 1) We Turks are not flexible on the Armenian Genocide topic as we cannot forget their attrocities and their role in the demise of our empire and the killings they took part in. Since the Armenians take no responsibility and deny their role, then the...
Senol
Is Turkey expecting Armenia to leave Karabakh? Why, this is no Turkish business. If Turkey want to keep borders closed it's there right, but obviosly Armenia doesn't need these borders opened at all.
Aban don Al Hope
Yesterday was the 20th anniversary of Shushi liberation
VTiger
we can get by without their border opening .who needs them they need us more than we need them.and remember they cant be trusted they were bad before they are bad now they will always stay as turkey is and was never trust
andrew
We always here about brutal crimes done by Turks...but all these so called pro genocide activist mostly who are radicalized armenians, will not tell you how they murdered and massacred normal muslim (turkish
Hakan
The liberation of Karabakh, an important piece of the Armenian homeland, has nothing to do with Turkey and it is none of Turkeys business. Turkey wants to make it its business under false pretenses in order to exploit the situation in its favor. Turkey, a wolf in sheep's clothing, wants to use the A...
Ararat
Oskanian said we Armenians do not discuss the Armenian genocide with Turks. Of course you can not discuss it because there is no Armenian genocide.I think that it is stupid to assume that an entire group of people are foolish except Armenians
john the turk
Finally someone talking sense in Armenia and sooner or later they are going to see that Armenians over here in America or in France they don’t care about the Armenians in their homeland If they did they would’ve invested their own country instead of spending all hat money bribing senators. Armenia s...
wildTurkey
Give thanks to God In Armenia, there are people, knowing that if Armenia will not give up Karabakh may result in the best case of war with its neighbors, in the worst case loss of the state, as happened in 387.
Ağrı Dağı
Armenians interests are more protected by having the border closed, otherwise strong Turkish economy can take over their markets
Raffi
Oskanian is misguided,Turkey will not open border with Armenia even if the Karabakh is solved to Azerbidjan interest,they will ask then on Armenian genocide issue and keep their denilst approach,and the last want Armenian to sign Loussane treaty which Armenia was not signatory or part of to begin w...
Garo Avedis
I wonder whether the report filed by Celil Sagir reflects accurately what was said by Voskanian. In this case is Mr. Sagir being selective in listening to and reporting what was told?
Hamasdegh
Yea, right. We just open up the border he says. Never! First Armenia has to give back Azeri land. Secondly Armenians have to accept Turks as equals. Third Independent historians from all countries should come together and come to a conclusion at the International COURT. When a crime is committed it ...
ero
If the NKR problem is solved Turkey will come up with a Genocide condition. If that is solved they will come up with a new condition. Forget the Western and Eastern border look north or to the much more promising South. These are Turks and they understand only one language and that's not Turkish.
Yakov
It would be wonderful to see a peaceful solution to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. A full-fledged war would be a disaster. Unfortunately I agree with Oskanian that a peaceful solution to Nagorno-Karabakh is not likely to happen anytime soon. Both Turks and Armenians need to agree to disagree over...
BJS
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