Assessing the first phase of Armenian-Turkish track
Public Policy Institute
The hard times for rapprochement began shortly after the protocols were published on September 1, 2009. That deepened the domestic opposition both in Armenia and Turkey, though parties remained faithful to the deadlines and the initialed protocols were signed in Zurich. While rhetoric grew really harsh in Turkish side, the absolutely technical step intended for domestic audience only, as Armenians insist, the ruling of the Constitutional Court in January (2010) gave the much-anticipated “excuse” to de facto suspend the ratification process. In sum, no positive developments occurred since Zurich, and the atmosphere of progress changed with hopeless of never-ending blame-game and reciprocal blackmails. After having met with Turkish Prime-Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan; U.S. President Obama at the margins of Nuclear Security Summit, and then with Russian president Medvedev in Moscow, Armenian President Sargsyan now suspends the parliamentary ratification process, while still keeping the signatures. Obviously, behind the official reactions of U.S., France (i.e. EU) and Russia "hidden charges" have been extended towards Turkey.
How this could happen
At first, Armenian president Sargsyan genuinely believed Turkey being honest. He was even quoted to cheer Turkish mediation in Nagorno Karabakh peace process, saying any contribution in that regard should be welcomed. But Prime-Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's politics marginalized even those liberals (meaning minimalists in Armenia-Turkey agenda) who supported the protocols. The Turkish strategists did not really take into account Sargsyan's shaky legitimacy at home, all the more with these two (Karabakh and Turkey) extra emotional questions at stake. In turn, Yerevan became more and more defensive.
The main questions now are - how this could happen and how the normalization can be re-negotiated?
In fact, the President Sargsyan’s statement was well-timed and well-packed to serve Armenian national security interests. In the absence of any result, or even any hint for results (i.e. ratification) the suspension was the only feasible way for Sargsyan not to wait another “April 24". In other words, if Turkey insisted to publish the “road map” on the Meds Yeghern (Armenian synonym to Genocide, a term offered by President Obama) Remembrance Day eve last year, now President Sargsyan did not find it politically feasible for himself to do another favor to anyone. On a strategic level, this statement obviously was adjusted with Obama Administration (and not only) which is becoming more and more worried about Ankara’s growing independence from Washington. This leads to the central "why" issue.
Central “why” issue
Everybody agrees that Turkey has become more powerful since 2002 and, perhaps, feels comparably independent from Washington – making deals with Syria and Iran – two “rouge states” in Middle East, and confronts Israel ever since the Ankara-style shuttle diplomacy failed in December 2007. The BBC even quoted Erdogan as saying Israel was "the main threat to peace" in Middle East (April 7). With all this, Turkey hardly seems a credible partner in Washington to be granted regional weight to the extent it wants. Instead, U.S. wants Turkey to be limited with American interests, without any unnecessary initiatives.
Historically, still back to Ottoman times, the "Armenian issue" (sometimes in the context of other Christian minorities) had been brought to international agenda whenever the great powers needed concessions from the sultan. Nothing has changed over the time. Now by bringing up the "Armenian issue", Obama Administration wants to use it as a deterrent to Turkey’s emerging regional ambitions. Obviously, the humane sympathy of some US congressmen towards Armenians' tragedy is to a less extend at stake, than the realpolitik-driven strategic thinking. The picture becomes clear especially with Erdogan government trying to "clean up" the country from the Cold War-era gladio-type organization – the Ergenekon, with comprehensive "assaults" on army generals. The unbounded extra-political power of the General Staff, that have long time been pro-American pillar in Turkish politics, thus becomes really limited. The strong willingness of U.S. to re-gain the weakening control is all behind the big game with Armenian-Turkish normalization. On the flip side, the decision-makers in Washington also realize that behind the Turkish policy is the fear of the government to shake one of the Kemalist foundations of the country – the history, after a century of absolute silence. In Turkey, everything else is subordinate to this fear. Apparently, the U.S. is not ready to politically destabilize Turkey, and this is why President Obama falls short to use the G-word in his traditional "April 24" message to Armenian-American community. Whereas the other explanations – the positive engagement of Turkey, as a NATO ally, in Afghanistan and Iraq – will be unconditionally provided under any government due to bold dependence of Turkish economy to Washington-managed financial institutions.
"Current phase exhausted". Next one pends
President Sargsyan's interview to Russia Today (April 25, 2009) introduced the rules of the game from the very outset: "any soccer game has a certain timeframe that limits it". Looking in the retrospect, although for all players that seemed to be fair, it wasn’t considered in a proper way later on. Furthermore, it's very fashionable to say that Turkey miscalculated the domestic political opposition and Azerbaijani hard-line reaction. But, for instance, pointing at domestic political landscape and forthcoming parliamentary elections does not work as there will always be "upcoming elections" unless Mr. Erdogan wants his monarchy in Turkey. In reality, this is a no-go, if the result is more important than the process.
As a result, by this presidential statement Armenia put an end to the current phase of the process, wholeheartedly blaming Turkey for setting unnecessary preconditions. Considering the messages from Washington, Moscow, Paris and even Ankara – this didn’t come as a surprise for anyone though. The United States even "applauded" Sargsyan’s decision (April 23). In turn, President of Turkey Abdullah Gul, whom Sargsyan extended his gratitude for "political correctness", announced that a new phase should follow-up now in a silent mode. This "silent diplomacy", as he coined it, will hopefully be more result-oriented.
The normalization does not necessarily require the border opening a the current stage, although much anticipated by Armenian business community. Instead, establishment of diplomatic relations sounds feasible – at least to make the bilateral frameworks to engage on a daily basis, more comprehensive and without mediators. On Nagorno Karabakh track, to get the image of impartial negotiator, Turkey would rather advocate Azerbaijan to accept Sargsyan's idea to sign "an agreement not to use force" (Euronews, March 19). Henceforth this will become a first brick to the Turkish initiative of stability platform, an idea now also suspended.
On a separate sheet, of course, two processes need to be distinguished. If the official one, closely connected and conditioned by the Zurich protocols, is now frozen, rapprochement at the societal level worth to be promoted. For all beneficiaries of the normalization, it would be very timely to develop this track-two. The State Department has already announced a start of “University Partnerships Program for Turkey and Armenia”, by allocating around $0.5mln for that. Armenian and Turkish governments, as well as the EU should also take the floor.
Summing up, the results of the first phase, at least, are not fully discouraging. Turkey has got the "normalization process" to show willingness to rapprochement and, more importantly for her, the politically binding document to setup a sub-commission of historians, dreamed of since 2005. The new political leadership in Armenia moved ahead with the crisis of legitimacy, and did that in dignity, playing on moderate nationalistic grounds. In parallel, Armenia managed to launch institutionally separate negotiations with Turkey and Azerbaijan, which fell short to convince others to recognize linkage between rapprochement and Karabakh talks. With this rapprochement, Armenia also has shown it is keeping the flagship of peace in the region and ready to co-op with all of the parties who share the same vision. That’s why Yerevan officially very quickly and proactively reacted not only to the Turkish stability platform initiative in 2008; but President Sargsyan also offered the non-aggression agreement with Azerbaijan a month ago. For Azerbaijan, as far as the borders remain closed, it has got every reason to consider itself a triumph. For the U.S., by firmly putting the genocide issue on the agenda, another leverage upon Turkey has been established. To put it short, all achieved what they might be able to, within the limits of their total power.
Now, whatever needed to move forward, the kick-off message should be coming from Ankara, since it is the one universally recognized as the unfair player?
TRANSITION TO KNOWLEDGE BASED ECONOMY: THE EXPERIENCE OF IRAN AND ARMENIA
Center of Excellence: Control and Intelligent Processing, Electrical and Computer Engineering Faculty, University College of Engineering, University of Tehran
Department of Anthropology, Social Sciences Faculty, University of Tehran
The paper investigates the efforts being made in Armenia and Iran towards adopting development paths in which knowledge constitutes the most important capital. It examines common strategies and differences and emphasizes experiences of each country that could guide policy makers in the other country. It also discusses complementary aspects and possibilities for cooperation. The impact of the political changes in both countries and the associated transitions in the economic, social, and ideological spheres is explicated. Strengths as well as weaknesses of policies promoting the role of the private sector and restructuring non-competitive sectors, their achievements and failures are elaborated. Problems created by the international situation in Iran and Armenia, hegemonic forces bringing about isolation and undermining development as well as strategies for overcoming obstacles and supporting sustainable development are discussed. The role of advanced technologies enabling rapid growth for high value added knowledge intensive sectors of the economy and problems of technology transfer and quality enhancement are examined. Social and cultural consequences of transition to knowledge based economy are analyzed. Low levels of regional cooperation, weakness of market forces, absence of competition, and especially inadequate investment in research and development are sited as major problems, the resolution of which constitutes a precondition for successful transition. Higher Education is emphasized as significant underutilized factor for developing knowledge based economy. Transition to research centrism and promotion of entrepreneurship and bridging the gap between knowledge discovery and the take-up for creation of economic value, on the one hand, and finding solutions to the need for higher levels inclusiveness, empowerment and participation are sited as major challenges for the universities and research institutions in both countries.
Keywords: market economy, high technology, knowledge based economy, higher education, innovations, social and cultural impact.
Armenians in Georgia
Armenians in Georgia are ethnic Armenians living within the current Republic of Georgia. Armenians are the largest ethnic minority in Georgia at about 6% of the population. The Armenian community is mostly concentrated in the Samtskhe-Javakheti region, which borders the Republic of Armenia to the south. Ethnic Armenians are the majority in the region, making up about 54% of the population, which they share with Georgians,Pontian Greeks and Ossetians.
Some Armenians believe they are victims of a policy to shift the Samtskhe-Javakheti region’s demographic balance as a number of Georgian families were settled there. Armenians are also underrepresented in the government (holding 5 seats in the 235-member Parliament, for example), leading to the perception of discrimination and mutual distrust. There were several protests, some of which turned violent after clashes with law enforcement agents. The Autonomous Republic of Abkhazia also has a significant population of Armenians, where they make up roughly 20% of the population. However, the de facto Abkhaz authorities have been accused by local Armenian NGOs of intentionally decreasing the number of Abkhazian-Armenians.
One of the biggest problems of the Armenians in Georgia is the is the inability to use their language in public life. The government’s new language policies are a source of strong resentment and it is accused of abolishing minorities’ former rights to use Armenian or Russian and thus limiting access to jobs and education. President of Armenia, Robert Kocharyan has urged ethnic Armenians to learn the Georgian language, which he said is essential for their integration into the Georgian society.
The ethnic Armenians form the majority of the population in the region of Samtskhe-Javakheti (Javakhk in Armenian). The local Armenian United Javakhk Democratic Alliance has proposed a local autonomy for Javakheti within Georgia.
The Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline and South Caucasus natural gas pipeline which passed through the region, has met opposition from local Armenians, as well as the planned Kars-Akhalkalaki-Baku railway as it isolates Armenia.
Armenians left rich architectural imprint in Georgia, especially in Tbilisi, which was at a time a center of Armenian culture. On the main avenue in Tbilisi - Rustaveli Avenue, there is a building of a wealthy Armenian Melik-Azaryants.
CONSCIOUSNESS OF RIGHTS AND SOLICITATION OF SUPPORT: THE CASE OF MINORITIES
Department of Anthropology, Social Sciences Faculty, University of Tehran.
The paper critically examines the almost universally accepted ideology that Armenian statehood has constituted the most important aspiration for the Armenians. Throughout their long history, however, Armenians have lived, prospered, and exerted their cultural impact more often than not, as minority communities in multinational states. It is argued that consciousness of rights and ability to obtain support from states as well as other communities with whom they interact furnishes an alternative cosmovision that has proven its usefulness in the past and can be an important factor for future achievements. The paper sites historical examples demonstrating the significance of social awareness and methods employed by Armenians to gain concord and patronage. It emphasizes the importance of the Armenian Diaspora. Even in the presence of a national state, the Armenian Diaspora constitutes an extension of that home polity and serves as cultural exchange hubs. The concept of additive or subtractive identities is expounded for members of minority communities. The paper also emphasizes the importance of civil societies in language and culture planning. Finally, the role of social creativity in intercommunity relations is explicated through historical examples.
Keywords: cultural anthropology, ethnography, minority culture, identity theory, language planning.
ECONOMIC ASPECTS OF THE ARMENIAN-TURKSIH NEGTIATIONS. SHOULD WE BEWARE?
Chief specialist The State Committee of the Real Property Cadastreof the Government of the RA, PhD student in Economics Armenian State University of Economy
For centuries Armenian and Turkish people have been taught to consider each other enemies based on historical issues. And full generations grow confident not to deal with the other nation. Historically from our ancestors we inherited quite a complicated neighborhood in the South Caucasus region.
Moreover, after 1993, when Turkey closed the border with Armenia, any kind of diplomatic relations and economic transactions stopped. In 2009 a new phase of activation of relationships started between Armenia and Turkey with the participation of international parties. In October Armenian-Turkish Protocols were signed. Later the development of these Protocols ended up with the same confrontation of benefits of negotiating parties as all other attempts to start economic or diplomatic relations.
However, we all understand that isolated economies loose and the economic potential of the South Caucasus region fail to be used at its maximum. Though specialists assume, that this issue has political characteristic only, it is still quite important to estimate economic consequences of the possible opening of the borders. There have been several econometric modelings of the subject, which try to answer the question: what will happen to the economy of Armenia, if the borders open, though few specialists believe this will happen in the near future. One of the most risky fields of Armenian economy is considered to be agriculture, which is going to face quite strong competition from the Turkish market. And we try to link economic, especially agricultural aspect of the problem with the political. To be honest, I strongly believe that the final goal of any negotiation is trade.
Impasse in Turkish-Armenian Relations
Hasan Selim Özertem
Researcher at Center for Eurasian Studies
Turkish foreign policy has been in a transformation process since the end of the Cold War. However, each transformation period comes with new crisis and advantages that should be assessed carefully. Turkey has been trying tackle with these challenges by pursuing a proactive foreign policy since the end of 1990s. In this framework, zero problem concepts, which were introduced by Ahmet Davutoglu, have been effective to overcome certain problems with its neighbours and create a better environment to stimulate partnership in the Eurasian region. Yet, this policy seems to be not functioning properly in Turco-Armenian relations due to its complex characteristics that is directly related both with internal and external policies of these countries. In this paper, the relation, which has entered into a new phase with football diplomacy, will be examined in a critical manner to understand the current impasse in the relations between Turkey and Armenia.
Armenia Internal Changes in the Beginning of 2013 Presidential Election
Director of IPSC – Institute for Political and Sociological Consulting
After the collapse of the Soviet Union Armenia had a dramatic period of development full of opportunities and threats as in regard of democratic nature of elections.
During the presidency periods of the three leaders, Levon Ter-Petrossyan (1991-1997), Robert Kocharyan (1998-2008) and Serj Sargsyan (2008 – now) the country has shown both a strong will to develop in the way of democracy with major legislative changes and adaptations to European electoral codes and other related laws, and a strong resistance to that what is called free elections, both from the ruling elite and oppositional groups. If the first claims the mostly fair nature of elections, while not rejecting that faults and forgery do take place, the latter – the opposition claims brutal violations of electoral codes and unjust results on every election starting from 1996.
From the sociological point of view the situation is easily explained by the developing nature of democracy, when the state institutions lack experience of practicing fair elections, while the opposition lacks experience of being a true and productive one. The soviet heritage is a strong dictate for politicians to be sure, that decisions can be made only within the power and thus, the winner takes it all, so the role of a bare opposition, with weak sources of financing is not enough to sustain until next elections.
The coming elections of 2013 have all the chances to break the circle described because of several important reasons:
The ruling elite have been partly changed from soviet nomenclature type to more technocratic and pragmatic one.
Armenia has acquired an unprecedented international recognition in the terms of it’s efforts to normalize relations with Turkey.
Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is in a very difficult stage, demanding from parties more cautious and pragmatic politics.
2008 elections had resulted unprecedented rise of civic awareness and participation among various groups, particularly youth.
The paper will be discussing the four above-mentioned aspects in the preparation of 2013 elections and the sociologically proved determinations of parties and leaders electorate towards this crucial event.
Energy interests of Iran in the Caspian region and to Armenia
Center for Policy Studies of Russia (PIR Center)
Over the 150 years Iranian experts outlined great perspectives of participation of the IRI in the life of Central Asia and South Caucasus, created plans of joint energy and transport projects, integration schemes. Opportunities to implement this course decreased dramatically because of the significant changes in Iranian international policy life. With the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq geopolitical situation changed. Because of the development of the nuclear program and accusations in supporting terrorist groups American and international sanctions strengthened. Alongside with it the world economy crisis and decrease of oil prices economical environment declined. Political tension raised. Only a few people tackle to predict how the international atmosphere around the country will be formed. Today the common long-term interest of the country in Caspian region is possibly could be formulated as Iran’s participation at the system of economical, political, cultural and other connections in Central Asia and Caucasus, in the system of relations in the region.
Participation at the digging and transporting energy supplies – strengthening positions at the Caspian; European and Asian market launch of the Iranian gas and transforming Iran to transit center of the region; active engagement into creation of united electro energy system on the Middle East and use of the results of international activity to overcome the system problems of the Iranian fuel & energy complex – all these are the constant interests of the country in the
region. Other Caspian countries fixed their interests as well. A lot of declarations and protocols of intensions about great opportunities of cooperation appeared. Something was done – railway networks of the Central Asia republics were connected, four new gas pipe lines, connecting Iran to Armenia, Nakhichevan Autonomous Republic in Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan, sales turnover increases. But still many principal energy projects go not trough Iran.
Is Iran still in play? The recent years the new gas factor appeared related to the large scale IRI plans on oil and gas energy supply. From the 2007 Tehran claimed himself loudly as a powerful player at the Eurasia gas market. This fact is considered to change the energy map of the region
Javakhk in the Armenian-Georgian relations:
problems and prospects
Nikolay .A. Trapsh
Dean of historical faculty
Southern federal university
Modern Javakhk is one of strategically important regions of the Big Caucasus and is defined not only by its exclusive geographical position, but also by some specific features of social, economic and political development of this enclave localized in the Georgian territory and adjoining Armenia and Turkey. In author's understanding Javakhk as a geopolitical region is limited by Ahalkalaksky and Ninotsmindinsky administrative areas in which the Armenian population is dominating, and is not identical in territorial measurement of Samtshe-Dzhavahetsky province, that was artificialy created by the Georgian authorities for effective struggle against ethnic separatism. The small high-mountainous area has turned for a long time to an extensive field of geopolitical combinations into which are organically integrated the Armenian aspiration of cultural and administrative autonomy and the expected repatriation of the Meskhetian Turks subjected to repressions, local economic stagnation and serious external investments, the branched out administrative system and actual anarchy of officials. The internal development of Javakhk is a significant factor not only for the relations of Armenia and Georgia, but also for regional stability and security. In the context of specified circumstances consecutive expansion of their influence in Javakhk is the major problem not only for the adjacent states, but also for a wide spectrum of interested powers and international alliances aspiring to a leading position in Transcaucasia.
Apparently, the political leadership of Armenia before full settlement of the Karabakh problem is adjusted to avoid any confrontation with Georgia, despite essential progress in consecutive adjustment of mutual relations with the Turkish authorities. It seems that, at the present moment official Yerevan will be quite satisfied by the perspective of granting Javakhk a high-grade cultural autonomy which will be supported by certain participation in legitimate formation of various local governments.