Discourse on “Armenian-Turkish relations”

#EnlightTalks series within the framework of “Enlight” three-month analytical internship program.

On August 1st, within the framework of the analytical internship, the talk of “Enlight’s”  analyst, Turkologist by profession Anahit Karapetyan on “The Armenian-Turkish relations during the independence period” took place.

At the beginning of the meeting, Anahit stressed that Turkey was one of the first countries to recognize Armenia’s independence, but diplomatic relations between the two countries  were not established. 

The speaker divided the Armenian-Turkish relations during the independence period into 4 (conditional) stages: 1991-1998, 1998-2008, 2008-2018, 2018-2020. Talking about the Armenian-Turkish mutual visits and contacts since 1991, Anahit mentioned that  the Armenian authorities were quite proactive in this respect and used every opportunity to regulate the relations with Turkey. Referring to the political and economic developments in the Armenian-Turkish relations in 1991-1998, she mentioned that since 1995 the cooperation and contacts between the two countries were being carried out  through economic partnership. She added that 1991-1998s were characterized  by  a rather restrained policy towards the recognition of the Armenian Genocide. 

The speaker emphasized that in the second stage of the Armenian-Turkish relations serious changes of approaches took place. Steps were taken towards the international recognition of the Armenian Genocide, and the issue of international recognition of the Armenian Genocide became a cornerstone of Armenia’s foreign policy.

Anahit also mentioned Turkey’s suggestion in 2005 to set up a commission of Armenian and Turkish historians, which was supposed to decide if the events of 1915 could be considered as Genocide or not. And before continuing the speech, she asked the opinions of the participants of the meeting about the positive sides  and possible dangers of establishing such a commission. They expressed their views, stressing that the establishment of such a commission already calls into question the authenticity of the Armenian Genocide. Summing up this stage, Anahit mentioned that in 1998-2008, fewer steps were taken to activate the Armenian-Turkish relations than in the previous stage.

Presenting the Armenian-Turkish relations in 2008-2018, the speaker mentioned that Serzh Sargsyan was more proactive in his steps aimed at improving the relations with Turkey, though, still, no progress was registered in these relations. She also added that to talk about the Armenian-Turkish relations of this period means to talk about football diplomacy and the Zurich protocols following it. On September 6th, 2008, the President of Turkey arrived in Armenia by the invitation of the president of the Republic of Armenia to watch the Armenia-Turkey football match, and on the rematch in Turkey, the president of Armenia was present. The final result of all of these was the ratification of the protocols on establishing diplomatic relations and development of relations by Armenian and Turkish ministers of foreign affairs on October 9th, 2009 in Zurich, which were never ratified, and got canceled on March 1st, 2018. 

Speaking about the developments taking place after 2018, Anahit mentioned that it was more like  a stage of positioning of the new Armenian authorities, and in fact, no Armenian-Turkish contact took place. She also stressed that the Armenian government has expressed its readiness to establish relations with Turkey without preconditions. 

At the end of the meeting, the speaker touched upon the issues of concern  of the participants, listened to their opinions and views on this topic, and presented her observations.

You can get acquainted with Anahit Karapetyan’s analytical articles by following this link


Prepared by Mariam Mankuyan  

Translator: Argishti Yeghyan © All rights reserved