Armenia-Turkey Talks and Possible Outcomes

Armenia-Turkey Talks and Possible Outcomes

Armenian-Turkish negotiations continue against the background of a tense situation around Armenia and the neighboring region. Regional Post looks into the details of talks and possible outcomes.  

Text:  Tigran Zakaryan

 

The Armenian Foreign Ministry spokesman Vahan Hunanyan in a briefing on 15 April confirmed the projected third meeting between the official negotiators of Yerevan and Ankara. He did not elaborate on the projected meeting’s place or date. The previous two meetings between Armenian and Turkish special envoys Ruben Rubinyan and Serdar Kilicoglu were held in Moscow on 14 January and Vienna on 24 February and according to Turkish sources the next one will be in Vienna too.  

In his briefing Hunanyan replied an earlier remark by Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu who suggested to take “bolder steps” and hold meetings in both Armenia and Turkey instead of third countries. He noted that previously there were such meetings in both countries on top levels which yielded no results, adding that Yerevan already had taken such steps, such as Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan’s visit in Antalya as well as lifting sanctions on imports of Turkish products. Furthermore, the Armenian spokesman suggested to open the border for the holders of diplomatic passports as a “small, but real more importantly a logical step”. He also pointed to the fact that the talks supposed to be bilateral, according to Turkish officials are closely coordinated with Azerbaijan.  

It is evident that Armenia is interested in relations with Turkey in order to somehow counterbalance its increasing dependence on Russia and other players, and the West seems blessing the initiative. However given the fact that Ankara is unlikely to make a rapprochement without considering Azerbaijan’s interest and will use it as leverage in Baku’s favor and this limits the effects of such an arrangement’s value. And, last but not least, even though Moscow seems favoring a settlement between Armenia and Turkey, it will do everything to keep the reins of the process in its own hands. In this case Yerevan and Ankara can have mutual interest to contact directly, however one must keep in mind that Moscow has a large number of tools – including leverages inside Armenia – to derail the process, 

With all the above-said considered, a well-thought strategy of normalization with Turkey is a very important task of the Armenian diplomacy. Even though the players involved in it are not interested in Armenia’s independence, yet their conflicting interests could objectively lead to a result to some extent favoring it. In the meantime Armenia has to announce its red lines, which will not be crossed in such arrangements, regardless of the prizes promised.