Turkey examines ways to revive Armenia dialogue

Turkey examines ways to revive Armenia dialogue

Serkan Demirtaş ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
Turkey examines ways to revive Armenia dialogue

Turkey’s President Abdullah Gül (L) gestures as he shakes hands with his Armenian counterpart Serzh Sarkisian (R) in front of Turkey’s Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu prior to their meeting in Bursa, Turkey on 14 October 2009. AFP photo

Armenia and Azerbaijan’s joint appeal to the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) for a peaceful solution to the Nagorno-Karabakh problem has pushed Turkey to examine whether it could revive a reconciliation process with Yerevan in due course.

Turkey’s Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu met with his Swiss counterpart Micheline Calmy-Rey, who earlier mediated between Ankara and Yerevan to draft protocols normalizing ties, on the sidelines of the OSCE meeting in Vilnius, Lithuania.

Turkey and Armenia signed two protocols in 2009 following secret talks under the mediation of Switzerland but failed to conclude the process due to Azerbaijan’s strong reaction against Turkey. The move pushed Turkey to change its position, which made a solution of the Nagorno-Karabakh problem as the precondition for improving ties with Yerevan.

Davutoğlu’s meeting aimed at measuring the pulse of Switzerland to see whether it would like to play the same role again if Armenia and Azerbaijan took progressive steps in solving their dispute of two decades. Sources said the Swiss took note of Davutoğlu’s appeal and will evaluate it on the basis of developments concerning the Nagorno-Karabakh issue.

Turkey is under serious pressure from the United States to take steps to mend ties with Armenia as a strong Armenian diaspora in the U.S. continues to urge Washington to recognize the 1915 incidents as “genocide.” Vice President Joe Biden said a strong anti-Turkey coalition has been formed in the U.S., with the Greek and Israeli diasporas joining the Armenian diaspora-led chorus. There are concerns that a fresh attempt for recognition of genocide at the Senate would be approved by U.S. lawmakers as the presidential election looms.

Joint move by Armenia and Azerbaijan

Davutoğlu was prompted to hold an unannounced meeting with his Swiss counterpart following a meeting between Armenian and Azeri foreign ministers, Edward Nalbandian and Elmar Mammadyarov, with foreign ministers of the OSCE Minsk Group countries – Russia, France and the U.S – in Vilnius.

According to the statement released by the OSCE, Nalbandian and Mammadyarov informed the Minsk Group their presidents were ready “to meet again jointly in the near future under the auspices of the Co-Chair countries to continue their direct dialogue, building upon recent experience, on how to bring peace, stability, and prosperity to their peoples.”

The Minsk Group countries have urged the two countries to finalize the Basic Principles for the Peaceful Settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict. The two countries have agreed further efforts should be made to work on the details of the procedure applied to investigate ceasefire violations.