Armenia-Turkey: Reconciliation, not confrontation
Following the 94th anniversary of Armenian Genocide, the Financial Times carries a poignant editorial concluding that reconciliation and not confrontation is the way forward for Armenia and Turkey in order to bring peace and stability to the region.
However, the influential paper notes, questions remain about the timing of the announcement, and specifically with regards to uncertainty surrounding details of the road map. Strong international pressure is also necessary for the process to move forwards.
The agreement between Turkey and Armenia on a “road map” to normalise their relations is very good news. Their historic animosity since the slaughter and mass deportation of Armenians from the collapsing Ottoman empire in 1915 has destabilised the region, poisoned internal politics, isolated and impoverished Armenia, and cast a shadow over Turkey’s relations with Europe and America. Now there is a chance of beginning to heal the wounds.
The prize of Turkish-Armenian reconciliation is worth it, but the process remains fragile and bedevilled by mistrust. Both sides are still only inching forward, and both face strong resistance at home to making any concessions at all.
There seems to be a serious intent in both Ankara and Yerevan to find a way forward in spite of opposition, including from the influential Armenian diaspora in the US and European Union. But pressure on them both from Washington, Brussels and – most significantly – from Moscow for more progress and a clear timetable is still essential.
The one country that might try to scupper progress is Azerbaijan, fearful that reopening the border would take away pressure for Armenia to do a deal over Karabakh, or at least to withdraw from the buffer zone where 500,000 Azeri refugees used to live. But the 19-year border closure has done nothing to hasten an agreement on that score. All sides have an interest in reconciliation, not confrontation.
The full editorial is available here.
- 04.27.09 / 3am by Onnik