Concise Structural Analysis of Turkish-Armenian Conflict

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This article is a slightly updated version of the Armenian original
published in AZG daily on December 13, 2008.

With the independence of Armenia in 1991 the Armenian Question returned to the international arena, but no longer as an issue of salvation of Western Armenians as it was known towards the end of 19th and the beginning of 20th centuries. There were no more Armenians in the western part of Armenia. They had been exterminated in the course of the genocide carried out from 1893 to 1923 in three main phases (1893-1896, 1909, 1915-1923). During the Soviet period several of the eastern regions of Armenia were depopulated of their Armenian inhabitants as well, including Nakhijevan and Northern Artsakh.

In 1991 the Armenian Question returned to the international arena as a problem of survival of the newly created statehood of Armenia. The Turkish-Armenian Conflict (TAC) has entered a new phase, the main distinction of which is the existence of an internationally recognized Republic of Armenia (RA). Turkey’s longstanding policy of eliminating Armenia from the world map has not altered. Now, Turkey seeks to prevent the successful attainment of the newly independent Armenian statehood and destroy it in its embryonic structure. Turkey attempts to solve this problem through the intercession of her ally, Azerbaijan, because the present international conditions and her grave internal problems prevent direct Turkish invasion of Armenia. 1

The restored statehood of Armenia was subjected to Azerbaijani aggression along the entire length of its eastern border in 1991-1994. Armenia (strategically and culturally, a single unit comprising of the Republic of Armenia and the unrecognized Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh) needed viable security guarantees, above all, defendable borders. At the cost of great sacrifice this problem was partially solved thanks to the liberation and establishment of military-political control (de facto statehood) over certain areas of the Armenian homeland.

After the Armenian victory in the liberation war in 1994, Turkey has been encouraging Azerbaijan’s belligerence and militarization by all means, thus acting as an immediate participant and senior consultant, often initiator and orchestrator of the latter’s activities against Armenia. Turkey also acts as the guarantor of the preservation of the region of Nakhijevan within Azerbaijan. Moreover, Turkey has been implementing an overt act of war against Armenia – a land blockade.

Turkey’s blessing and encouragement greatly contributed to the unleashing of the 1991-1994 war. In this respect, the genocidal ideology of Pan-Turkism, borrowed by Baku leaders (and openly admitted under president Elchibey), played its own role: this ideology envisions the building and realization of the Azerbaijani statehood through a policy of expansionism – at the expense of occupying Armenia’s entire territory and, later, certain parts of north-western Iran and eastern Georgia. Unable to be reconciled with the fact of the liberation of Artsakh, Azerbaijan is directed by an additional pragmatic consideration – to find easier means of governing the peoples of Azerbaijan by creating an image of an enemy.

It shouldn’t be forgotten that Azerbaijan has signed on to the policy of genocide against Armenians since her very inception in 1918 by assuming the role of the gradual occupier of Armenia from the east. This policy was continued by Baku through the Soviet years. In fact, Armenia is dealing with the combined and coordinated hostile policy of two allied states. In a larger context, the TAC encompasses the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict, including the Artsakh issue. In this study, however, we will address the issue within the narrower Turkish-Armenian framework.

In the second half of the 19th century, during the intermittent period between the two wars waged against Russia (1856-1877), Ottoman Turkey conceived a policy of exterminating the Armenian ethnos in its cradle – the Armenian Highland – a development that conveyed an extraordinary character and stress to the TAC. Since those years the TAC has never ceased. It neither ceased during that brief period (1907-1912) when the most influential Armenian political force of the day – the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF – Dashnaktsutiun) – was cooperating with the Young Turks and the relations between the Armenian and Turkish leaders were cordial and amicable on the surface, nor did it cease during the long and drawn-out seven Soviet decades. During these periods the TAC has continued covertly or undisguised on political, informational, psychological and cultural fronts, at times involving the use of arms (particularly, the activities of Armenian avengers and Turkish secret services).

Thus, despite its passage through the fateful revolutions of the international political system, the TAC has remained constant at its foundation. At the core of the TAC are, on the one hand, Turkey’s goal of destroying Armenia, and on the other, the struggle of the Armenian people to sustain and ensure the lasting survival and security of Armenia’s statehood.

The protracted nature of the TAC, its passage through several historical phases with an unchanged agenda and its multiplication with additional new layers have accorded this conflict an unusually complex structure and voluminous content. The TAC’s adequate understanding itself has become a professional problem. Meanwhile, the policies and approaches displayed by the Armenian political elite and social-political thought towards the TAC are still amateur in nature.

Hopefully, the brief structural analysis of the TAC presented below can contribute to realistic formulations of Armenia’s foreign policy and to the realization of its security system.

The Structure of the Turkish-Armenian Conflict
The current phase of the TAC proceeds on ten principal levels (spheres), in each of which, in contrast to Armenia, Turkey shows clear positions and a deliberate policy. Meanwhile, until today most of these levels and their sublevels are not included in Armenia’s foreign policy agenda. Often, they are not even identified, and no comprehensive doctrine or adequate policies have been developed to address those that have been identified.
First, let us list the levels (spheres) of the TAC along with their sublevels (problems):
1. Conceptual-Terminological Level
1.1 The problem of perception and distortion of the concept of Homeland.
1.2 Attempts of reversing the roles of the invader and that of the victim robbed of her millennia-old Homeland and the passive attitude of the Armenian side to those attempts.
1.3 Armenia’s failure to properly define the conflict on the one side and the distorted accounts of the conflict effectively propagated by the Turkish side on the other.
1.4 Inadequate evaluation of Turkey’s policy against Armenia and Armenians.
1.5 The incorrect assessment given to Turkey’s current administration and politicians by the Armenian authorities.
1.6 The cartographic-toponymic war waged against Armenia and the Armenian historical-cultural heritage and its total neglect by the Armenian side. 2
2. Political Level
Turkey’s hostile actions in this sphere are as follows:
2.1 The 17-year refusal to establish diplomatic relations with Armenia and Armenia’s avoidance to give a political assessment to that step.
2.2 The 16-year old blockade of Armenia and Armenia’s abdication from evaluation of this hostile act in an appropriate manner.
2.3 The full diplomatic assistance given to Azerbaijan and Armenia’s acquiescence in that hostile action.
2.4 The persistent efforts of settling Meskheti Turks ( and, under their pretext, other Turkic elements as well ) in Armenian-populated Javakhk and the silence maintained by the Armenian side regarding these efforts.
2.5 The numerous actions in the international arena directed against Armenia’s interests and their disregard by the Armenian side.
2.6 The unacceptable and humiliating preconditions presented to Armenia, including the three primary ones: the resolution of the Artsakh issue in favor of “Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity,” the suspension of the process of international recognition of the Armenian Genocide, and the public repudiation and abandonment in perpetuity by official Yerevan of the western territories of Armenia occupied by Turkey. Conversely, we have the abdication by Armenia of her own legitimate preconditions (for establishing normal inter-state relations with Turkey), which consist in the right to demand confidence-building measures and security mechanisms. 3
3. Historical-political Level
3.1 Turkey’s state-organized large-scale campaign of denial of the Armenian Genocide and distortion of historical facts within her own borders, as well as in the international arena.
3.2 The favorable, though nonchalant, attitude adopted by the RA during 1998-2008 towards the process of “international recognition of the Genocide;” with a noticeable decrease since mid-2008 in the already not-so-brisk activism of the RA in this field.
4. International Law Level
4.1 The problem of extremely tense geopolitical situation prevailing in the region due to the failure to implement the Treaty of Sevres, particularly, the question of incomplete and unrecognized territorial guarantees that would ensure the viability of an Armenian state and the question of the creation of a Kurdish state, further south.
4.2 The problem of legal imperfection, current deficiencies in the applicability and impracticalities of the 1921 Moscow and Kars treaties, signed in bad faith.
4.3 Article 301, and other related articles, of the Turkish penal code criminalizing the discussion of the Armenian Genocide or expression of Armenian perspectives on the TAC.
4.4 The complete abdication by the Armenian government of the TAC’s International Law level.
5. Level of Information-Psychological Warfare
5.1 The great assistance in propaganda provided by Turkey to Azerbaijan in the Karabakh conflict.
5.2 The numerous, diverse, and persistent actions of informational and psychological nature carried out against Armenia and Armenians in the international arena as well as in Turkey, Armenia and amongst Diasporan circles, including:
5.2.1 The preparation and dissemination of anti-Armenian literature and other materials, which have acquired an organized nature ever since the 1920s and, since then, have only intensified, come to include new spheres and become multilingual;4
5.2.2 The sowing of anti-Armenian attitudes abroad through Turkish colleges;5 and
5.2.3 The extensive lobbying done through Turkish embassies and state and private entities against information and analyses that present the Armenian Question in a truthful light.
5.3 The recurrent dissemination of misinformation regarding the purported existence of Kurdish Workers Party (PKK) military bases in Armenia.
5.4 Within Turkey, the veneration of the authors and perpetrators of the Armenian Genocide, including Talaat-pasha.
5.5 The persistent propaganda efforts aimed at driving a wedge between Armenia and the Diaspora.6
5.6 The efforts aimed at turning the governments and public of the countries hosting an Armenian population against Armenians. 7
5.7 Turkey’s secret activities of encouraging the emigration of Armenians from Armenia and the Near Eastern countries and directing them towards distant continents.
5.8 Armenia displays an ”ostrich policy” – a policy of deliberately ignoring the Turkish hostilities – in this informational-psychological war waged against her.
6. Economic Level
6.1 The long-lasting blockade of Armenia.
6.2 Turkey’s authoring of special regional projects with the purpose of isolating Armenia, including the initiation of the Kars-Tbilisi-Baku railroad construction.
7. Cultural Level
7.1 The destruction and attempts at appropriation of Armenian historical-cultural heritage.
7.2 The falsification of Armenian history in Turkey as well as in the international arena. 8
7.3 The complete idleness by Armenia in response to the cultural war waged against her.
8. Military Level
8.1 Turkey’s comprehensive assistance to Azerbaijan in her preparation for war against Armenia, including:
8.1.1 The sharing of intelligence;
8.1.2 The supply of arms and ammunition;
8.1.3 Providing military advice and consultation, including the organization of the operations of Azerbaijan’s General Staff, if not its command-and-control;
8.1.4 The preparation of officers and training of special forces units; and
8.1.5 The assistance to Azerbaijan in its involvement in NATO’s programs and activities.
8.2 The threats made against Armenia since 1991, including the misinformation regarding the supposed establishment of Kurdistan Worker’s Party military camps in the Republic of Armenia and Artsakh and the threats of ”retaliation”.9
8.3 The RA’s silence regarding these threats and, furthermore, her political-military cooperation with Turkey within the framework of NATO.10
9. The protection of human rights of the Armenian minority living in Turkey
9.1 Pressuring and coercing the Armenian Patriarch of Constantinople into making pro-Turkish statements and calls.
9.2 The prohibition within Turkey of remembrance of the victims of the Armenian Genocide.
9.3 The state enforcement of the cult of Kemal Ataturk, one of the notorious executioners of the Armenian people, in community institutions, including in the schools, of Istanbul Armenians.
9.4 Constitutionally declaring all citizens of Turkey, including Armenians, as ethnic Turks.
9.5 The securing of the safety of the Armenian minority and the thousands of RA citizens/migrant workers in Turkey.
9.6 The complete neglect of this level of the TAC by the RA.
10. Serious schisms arising out of the TAC among the various segments of the Armenian nation, including within the domestic political arena of Armenia
10.1 The various statements and suggestions by official Yerevan regarding the renunciation of claims to the western part of the native homeland of the Armenian people, currently within the borders of Turkey , may:
10.1.1 Draw new dividing lines within the Armenian public in Armenia proper as well as between Armenia and the Diaspora; 11 and
10.1.2 Demoralize Armenians in their struggle for the realization of national goals in its entirety.
10.2 The splits and divisions are especially evident on the Turkish demand for setting up a joint commission composed of Armenian and Turkish historians to discuss primarily the fabricated issue of whether there was Armenian Genocide.12
10.3 The advent of this level is largely conditioned by the imprudent activities of the RA authorities.

At the foundation of all these levels lies the Armenian Question – the issue over territory that would guarantee the viability, defensibility, economic development and later (including through repatriation of Armenians) the demographic growth of the restored statehood of Armenia. This list itself attests that Turkey carries out an all-embracing offensive policy against Armenia and Armenians in dozens of directions.
The foreign policy of the RA overlooks many of the above-mentioned activities of Turkey. For instance, levels 1, 4, 5, 7, 9, 10 are entirely overlooked. Certain problems in the other levels are left unaddressed or inadequately assessed. In other words, the RA’s policy toward Turkey has not been formulated during the 17 years of independence and has been neglected, thereby leaving numerous fronts of vital importance to the security of Armenia defenseless.
The TAC’s foundational level of concepts and terminology deserves a separate examination. As unfortunate as it may be, only the Turkish side has thoroughly developed the TAC’s concepts and terminology. To this day, the Armenian side has not been able to satisfactorily evaluate the situation and present it in accurate characterizations. The very nature of the TAC – a conflict – is distorted as it has been replaced by “neighborhood”, “relations” and similar terms. However, are not long-lasting hostile relations anything other than a conflict? 13

Thus, Turkey’s 17 year-old refusal to establish diplomatic relations with Armenia must be deemed as nothing other than an attempt to reject Armenia’s right to statehood at its root. However, officials in Yerevan have never given such an assessment.

Thus, Turkey calls Armenia a country occupying Azerbaijan’s territory – an “occupier”. At the same time, Armenia is afraid of reminding that the real aggressor is Turkey, which, through genocide, has depopulated the western part of Armenia of its Armenian inhabitants in its entirety and its eastern part partially – Kars-Ardahan-Surmalu – and has misappropriated the territory therein –Mount Ararat and Armenia’s medieval capital Ani.

The correct perception of the concept of homeland, which has a fundamental significance for the resilience and existence of the Armenian nation, has been endangered. Allusions are being made regarding Armenia’s renunciation of its rights to its western part forever. In particular, the President of RA in an interview recently stated that no RA official has ever spoken of territorial claims14 or raised any question regarding Western Armenia. In another of his statements Western and Eastern Armenia are called merely “geographical terms”,15 without noticing that it is one of the old and most dangerous tenets developed by Turkish propaganda.16 He also stated that the resolution of Turkish-Armenian problems should not be left to posterity.17 Since it is clear to everyone that complete or partial liberation of the occupied portion of the Armenian homeland is not a present-day task, then the President is insinuating a disavowal in perpetuity of that portion of the motherland. However, the more or less adequate compensation for the immeasurable harm caused to the Armenian people by Turkey, could be primarily in the form of return of territory, and serve as the basic guarantee for Armenia’s long-term security. To renounce the homeland’s estranged part means to reject our own identity, those thousands of visible and invisible bonds that sustain Armenians as Armenians. Such a step will disintegrate the entire worldview and existential purpose of Armenians and turn them into a mass devoid of will and purpose. Subsequent to this, the solution of the Armenian Question according to the Turkish scenario will not require special efforts. Also, the disavowal of motherland’s estranged portion is meaningless politically as it does not reinforce any of the elements of Armenia’s security. There are tens of big and small states in the world that have territorial disputes spanning decades. Yet, the thought of renouncing the greatest strategic asset – territory – does not cross the minds of any of those nations, especially if the matter concerns their own homeland.18

In a brief digression, let us note that for some reason in recent months the top officials in the Armenian leadership one after another have been granting interviews to Turkish mass media that more resemble interrogations. In the recent period the RA President has given three interviews to Turks (on August 21st, 2008, to the correspondents of CNN-Turk, on August 28th to “Radikal”, on September 20th to “Milliyet”), and a few more were given by the RA Foreign Minister.19 The Armenian Prime Minister another interview to the Azerbaijani agency (on October 27th).20 During the same period no Turkish or Azeri official granted even a single interview to Armenian news media. Such a phenomenon in interstate relations of conflicting countries attests to the inequality of the parties to Armenia’s detriment.

Armenian authorities’ conciliatory and defeatist approaches to the TAC were underscored once more in November 2008, when all the countries who participated in the First World War were marking the 90th anniversary of the end of the war and commemorating their own victims. Only Armenia, which in that war suffered proportionally the largest number of victims and losses, did not utter even a single word on the official level to remember that anniversary, so that the Armenian political elite’s empty illusions of “Turkish-Armenian reconciliation” do not suddenly vanish.

Wrong appraisal of Turkey’s current Armenophobic authorities and politicians are made. The RA supreme leadership calls them – nothing more, nor less than – “courageous partners”21 and fails to notice that they are the present-day pursuers of the Turkish traditional genocidal policy. In reality, the political system in Turkey is fascist in its legalized extreme chauvinism, brutality towards ethnic minorities – including relocation and extermination, cult of Ataturk existing up to this day, and, especially, policy of relentless aggression carried out against Armenia and Armenian people.22 It is one thing if the West or other countries do not properly characterize the Turkish statehood. They have no need for it. However, by not assessing properly those Turkish politicians who deny the Genocide, which is an indication of readiness to carry out a new genocide, Armenia falls into a serious predicament: neither does she understand her enemy’s true ideology, strategic calculations and goals, nor does she even try to appropriately present her dire geostrategic situation to the international community.

The problem is qualified differently by experts in genocide. “Denial is the final stage of genocide. It is a continuing attempt to destroy the victim group psychologically and culturally, to deny its members even the memory of the murders of their relatives. That is what the Turkish government today is doing to Armenians around the world,” says Gregory Stanton, president of the International Association of Genocide Scholars. Elie Wiesel, the famous Holocaust survivor and political activist, has repeatedly called Turkey’s 90-year-old campaign to cover up the Armenian genocide a double killing, since it strives to kill the memory of the original atrocities.23 The Armenian government should have given to Turkish denialism similar and graver assessments, but to this date it has failed to do so.

It is high time to specifically analyze not only the phenomenon of Turkish denialism of the Armenian genocide, but also the official Yerevan’s denialism of Turkish denialism, that is the ignoring by Armenian authorities of a fundamental geopolitical reality – the hostile policy by Turkey. The Turkish denialism is a rationally developed policy, which seeks to prevent the possible undesirable consequences of the international recognition of the Armenian Genocide. While the Armenian denialism is the extremely uncritical and irrational acceptance of the artificial “Turkish-Armenian reconciliation” dictated from abroad. And what is presented as “Turkish-Armenian reconciliation” is nothing but the unconditional capitulation of the Armenian side in the face of permanent anti-Armenian actions perpetrated by the Turkish state.

In one of his interviews the Armenian Foreign Minister is, in fact, confessing the nyctalopia of RA’s foreign policy, saying that he “does not see any obstacle to the normalization of relations with Turkey” and that he is “very optimistic on that question”.24 Thus, the above-mentioned ten levels and their sublevels have been left out of the sight of our foreign policy, and unfounded “optimism” has taken their place.25
Furthermore, as already mentioned, the Armenian side, which is the victim of the Genocide carried out by Turkey and is today still subjected to the latter’s consistent hostile acts, does not even define the TAC with its real name – a conflict. Yet, if we are dealing with a conflict, then we must radically change the political vocabulary and speak not of the warming of nonexistent relations, of supposedly registered “thawing”, but instead present to the international community and, in the first place, to the Armenian audience the true strategic causes and motives of the TAC, the possibilities for implementing security and confidence building measures or the lack thereof. A lasting settlement of a conflict with such a complex structure cannot be achieved through initiatives that are aimed at superficial relief of tension, such as the “soccer diplomacy” (which, by the way, has brought nothing but harm to Armenia). These initiatives are doomed to failure.

Otherwise, according to Armenian diplomacy’s interpretation there are only two existing problems in the “Turkish-Armenian relations”: the absence of diplomatic relations and the “opening of the border” (which, often, is not even characterized by the correct term – lifting of blockade). The remaining questions are viewed as subject to discussion in the future and are even being called “emotional” or “contentious” 26 (we saw how numerous and weighty those questions are). For years Armenian diplomacy has repeated the wrong thesis originated in Washington that both these questions are the result of the Karabakh conflict and that Turkey’s policy has become the “hostage and prisoner” of Azerbaijan. This, despite the fact that Turkey herself does not give such a simplistic assessment of her policies against Armenia, but clearly points out that Azerbaijan’s interests are firmly conjoined with her own.

Officials of both Turkey and Azerbaijan have repeatedly announced that they represent “one people, two states.” Here is an entirely fresh testimonial regarding this. On December 1, 2008, Turkey’s Minister of Foreign Affairs A. Babacan expressed a clear position on this matter during a joint press conference with his colleague E. Mammadyarov of Azerbaijan: “The problems related to the opening of the Turkish-Armenian border and the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict shall be given a solution in a complex way. … These two issues are inseparable.”27 Moreover, Turkey distinguishes two additional motives which do not have any direct connection to Azerbaijan – suspension of the process of international recognition of the Genocide and the official recognition of Turkey’s borders (the actual and final goal, as noted above, is to destroy Armenia).

Thus, the TAC is a multilevel and multifaceted conflict, the resolution of which cannot be reduced solely to the lifting of Armenia’s blockade by Turkey and the establishment of diplomatic relations. The realization of only these two steps will not mark the end of Turkey’s hostile policies against Armenia. As we have written previously, Turkey will open the border with Armenia only in one event – if her calculations show that doing so will cause an even greater harm to Armenia. In the new conditions of “good-neighborliness” Turkey will transfer her hostile policies to other more dangerous fields, bringing forth serious problems for Armenia’s national security. A Turkish economic and demographic invasion of Armenia will follow; the local producer will be pushed out of the market. Ankara will encourage mass emigration of Armenians into Turkey and the entrance of Turks and Kurds into Armenia 28 (partly under the name of so called “Muslim Armenians” – bait which the RA authorities seem to have swallowed29); we will also have thousands of mixed marriages. The informational, ideological, cultural, and psychological attacks and the unimpeded penetration of the Turkish state propaganda into Armenia will intensify in parallel to the Turkish economic invasion. 30 The Armenian public is in great need of serious professional discussion of all these issues, and not the intentional brainwashing and campaigns propagating goodwill towards Turkey found in Armenia’s official mass media, especially television.

Let us conclude. The obvious mutual exclusivity of Turkish-Armenian state and national interests, the violent clash of strategic interests, the incompatibility of ideologies and all other above-mentioned hostile activities rule out the settlement of the multilevel Turkish-Armenian Conflict through quick, “sport-like” methods advocated today. As a result of such shallow “solutions”, only Armenia and the Armenian people will suffer. The main prerequisite for the settlement of the TAC is the creation of a strong, secure and defensible Armenia. Only then will Turkey and her ally Azerbaijan be reconciled with the Armenian state’s right to existence.
Realism and pragmatism call for a reorienting of Armenia’s foreign policy away from underestimating and ignoring Turkey’s blatant hostility to the reassertion of all aspects of the Armenian Question, including through the use of politically realistic recommendations with regard to territorial compensation. 31

P.S. This article was originally published in Armenian about five months before the signing of the so-called ‘Road-map’ between Armenian and Turkish MFAs on April 22/23, 2009, an act, which came to directly torpedo the vital national security interests of Armenia as well as the process of international recognition of Armenian Genocide, with no swift rectification of the situation on the horizon.32

Armen Ayvazyan
Doctor of Political Science
Director of ARARAT Center for Strategic Research

* The article was first read as a report at the 6th “Armenian Cause Today” conference that took place in Tehran on November 13th–14th, 2008 and published in Azg daily on December 13, 2008.

  1. For the details, see A. Ayvazyan, Essential Elements for Armenia’s National Security Doctrine, Part A, 2nd appended edition, “Lusakn”, Yerevan, 2004 (in Armenian), pp. 107-108.
  2. A. Ayvazyan, “Western Armenia vs Eastern Anatolia”, Europe & Orient (Journal of the Institute Tchobanian, Paris), No. 4, 2007. Regarding this see A. Aivazian, The History of Armenian as Presented in American Historiography: A Critical Survey, Yerevan. “Artagers”, 1998, pp. 37-40, 42 (annotation 64), 43 (annotation 65), 64-65, 223 (in Armenian). L. Sahakyan, The Toponyms and Demographics of Babert, Sper, and Derjan Districts of Bardzr Hayk in the XVI Century Ottoman Tahrir-Defters, Yerevan. “Lusakn”, 2007, pp. 77-98. E. Danielyan, ” ‘Cartography War’ and the problem of protecting Armenian place-names,” refer to
  3. For the details, see A. Ayvazyan, “The Problem of Preconditions: Prospects for Armenian-Turkish Relations“, Hayots Ashkhar, 09/09/2008.
  4. The latest blatant example is the “Turkey 2008” booklet published in nine languages, whose publisher is the Turkish government (See “Turkey is going to describe her theses through this book,” Zaman, October 16, 2008, Armenian translation at The publication of this anti-Armenian book once again comes to evidence the unchanging hostile policies of Turkey towards Armenia and Armenians, thus destroying the illusions of “Turkish-Armenian Reconciliation”. As early as the 1940s, Garegin Nzhdeh was warning that that “the Armenian slaughter was followed by the moral genocide – the discredit of Armenians.” Listing the theses preached by the Turks during the 1920-1940s, Nzhdeh was stressing that “the anti-Armenian propaganda was run by the Turkish embassies and consulates, along with their military, commerce and press attachés. The Turkish student body played an active role in this as well;” see Garegin Nzhdeh, Hovanes Kajaznuni, Nshkharner. Yerevan, “Azgaynakan Akoomb”, 2002, p. 33.
  5. K. Vrtanesyan, S. Martirosyan, ”We and the Internet: A Critical Survey’‘, Studies on Strategy and Security, edited by A. Ayvazyan. Yerevan, 2007, pp. 230-257.
  6. The Turks clearly follow, in their own words, “The objective of weakening the relationship of the Diaspora with Armenia.” See, for example, Aydn Sezer, “It is not Armenia that is being pushed into isolation, but Turkey.” Referance daily, May 15, 2008. See the translation into Armenian in (also the annotation 3 by “Ararat” Center), “The Diaspora is hurting the people of Armenia”, Haber27com, April 26, 2008,
  7. On this, see Karlen Dallakyan, History of Ramkavar Azatakan (Liberal-Democratic) Party. Book Two, Yerevan, Mughni Publishing. 2007, pages 271-282. Within these pages five confidential Turkish documents are published, which reveal specifically that even before the activities of Armenian avengers the Turkish intelligence service MIT had a secret bureau with its own chief devoted to the surveillance of Diaspora Armenians. To read G. Yazijyan’s review of this book, including some additional information, see Azg, 02/02/08.
  8. See Manvel Zulalyan, The Distortion of Armenian History in Modern Turkish Historiography (Ancient and Middle Ages), Yerevan, 1995.
  9. According to foreign and Armenian sources, at least in one instance in the autumn of 1993 the Third Turkish Army was preparing to really invade Armenia. See also “Misinformation regarding ties between Armenia and Kurdistan Workers Party is possible prelude to aggression: Armen Ayvazyan“, REGNUM, 26.12.2007; “What do you think the Turkish special services are presently doing in Armenia?”, Golos Armenii, March 4th, 2008 (in Russian).
  10. For the details, see A. Ayvazyan, “The Foreign Policy of Republic of Armenia in the Context of the Armenian Question”, speech during RA National Assembly (Parliament) hearings on the topic of “Turkish-Armenian relations: problems and prospects”, 19-20 December, 2007.
  11. Here is one example of a protest from the Armenian Diaspora against RA policy towards Turkey – Garen Yegparian, “Not in My Name,” The Armenian Weekly, Vol. 74, No.39, October 4, 2008.
  12. In October 2008, the Armenian president renounced this hollow and dangerous idea proclaimed as acceptable during the preceding three months. However, later, in April 2009, he again accepted it (, again arousing anxiety in the historical, political and social circles of the Armenian society.
  13. A. Ayvazyan, “Turkish-Armenian Relations Do Not Exist; There is Turkish-Armenian Conflict”, Yeter, 25.09.2008.
  14. “RA President Serzh Sargsyan’s interview to the Turkish Radikal daily”, 28.08.2008.
  15. See “RA President Serzh Sargsyan’s interview to the Turkish Radikal daily”, see AZG, 29.08.2008.
  16. On this refer to A. Ayvazyan, “The History of Armenia as Presented in American
    Historiography”, pp. 37-40.
  17. “We discussed numerous issues of bilateral and regional significance. Most importantly, we agreed not to leave the current problems to coming generations. I do believe that in Armenian-Turkish relations the time for solving the problems has really arrived and on that issue I observed President Gul’s determination as well. I am certain that it is necessary to move in that direction quickly and confidently…” (President Serzh Sargsyan’s speech at the 63rd session of the UN General Assembly, 25.09.2008, see entire text at
  18. For a discussion of this issue and a brief listing of countries with territorial disputes, refer to A. Ayvazyan, “The Foreign Policy of Republic of Armenia in the Context of the Armenian Question”, op.cit.
  19. See two of those in translation in AZG, 24.09.2008, “There are no obstacles for us”, BBC Turkish Service, October 28th, 2008, The RA Foreign Minister gave another interview on September 7th, 2008, “Edward Nalbandyan met with Turkish journalists” –, 09.09.2008. “The head of Foreign Ministry of Armenia: The term ‘soccer diplomacy’ has entered the vocabulary”, 09.09.2008,
  20. Incidentally, forgetting the genocidal acts committed in Sumgayit, Baku, Kirovabad, Maragha, the unleashing of war against Artsakh, the daily anti-Armenian racist propaganda, the RA Prime Minister offers undeserved flattery to Azerbaijan, saying that “Azerbaijan is dedicated to pan-European values” (“The Armenian PM offers Azerbaijan ‘to attempt to see a common future’”,, 07.10.2008).
  21. See A. Ayvazyan, “The number of Turkish goals in the gates of the Armenian diplomacy may grow”, Yerkir, 26.09.2008, and “Any concession will bring war closer”, Golos Armenii, interview with A. Ayvazyan, 14.10.2008.
  22. For a detailed account, see A. Ayvazyan, “The consequences of failure to realize the Sevres treaty for the Middle Eastern and international politics”, “The Liberated Territory of Armenia and the Artsakh Problem: Selected Studies”, Yerevan, “Loosakn”, 2006, pp 83-91.
  23. David Holthouse, State of Denial: Turkey Spends Millions to Cover Up Armenian Genocide, Intelligence Report, Summer 2008.
  24. “There are no obstacles for us”, “”BBC Turkish Service”, October 28th, 2008,
  25. As a reminder let us note that such “optimism” had seized the leadership of Western Armenians as well in the years preceding the Great Genocide. On this, see “Foreign Policy of Armenia in the Framework of The Armenian Question”: Excerpts from A. Ayvazyan’s report at the Armenian Parliament on December 20, 2007.
  26. See RA President’s following article: Serzh Sargsyan, “We Are Ready to Talk to Turkey”, Wall Street Journal, July 9, 2008. The inaccurate translation into Armenian of this article on the RA President’s official website are discussed in the following articles: Armen Ayvazyan, “On the So Called “Normalization” and Essence of Armenian-Turkish Relations,” Hayotz Ashkharh, 6 September 2008, footnote 1 (in Armenian); Eсть ли у Aрмении внешняя политика?, Республика Армения, 16 июля 2008շ
  27. “’The problems connected to the opening of the Turkish-Armenian border and the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict shall be given a complex solution,’ said Ali Babacan”,, 01.12.08.
  28. The head of the fraction of the “Orinats Yerkir” party in the RA parliament even finds it desirable for Armenian citizens to migrate to Turkey in search of work without a sliver of thought as to the consequences (see “The former opposition politician proposes citizens of Armenia to work in Turkey and approves of the candidacy of the speaker of the Parliament”,, 02.10.2008).
  29. See “Who is an Armenian?” (Open letter to RA President Serzh Sargsyan), “Aravot”, 2.10.2008.
  30. For more details, see A. Ayvazyan, “On the so-called ‘settlement’ of the Turkish-Armenian Conflict and its content”, Hayots Ashkhar, 06.09.2008.
  31. For the analysis of proposed solutions, see A. Ayvazyan, “Foreign Policy of Armenia in the Framework of The Armenian Question,” op. cit.
  32. For the assessment of this ‘Road-Map’, see Armen Ayvazyan: “Armenia-Turkey Intergovernmental Process and the So-Called ‘Road Map’ “, (in Armenian), 30 April 2009; the latter’s translation into Russian is here: Об армяно-турецком межгосударственном процессе и т.н. «дорожной карте». See also the following TV interviews in Armenian: “The Conceptual Collapse of the Third Armenian Republic,” (29 April 2009) and “On the Genocide and Turkish Armenian Road-map,” (24 April 2009). For further assessments, see A. Ayvazyan, “The Results of the survey on the ‘Present-day Problems of the Turkish-Armenian Conflict’,” (in Armenian), 14 April 2009, Talk presented at the public discussion in Congress Hotel.

8 responses so far

8 Responses to “Concise Structural Analysis of Turkish-Armenian Conflict”

  1. David Davidianon 01 Jun 2009 at 1:00 am

    Armen Ayvazyan’s analysis may be seem agreeable, but it may not be complete. It basically calls the current government traitors that don’t understand anything. It is possible to understand how one might come to that conclusion, looking at the comments and actions of the Armenian government, but the analysis provided does not seem to account for any other possibility.

    Let us take the following analysis and assume it’s just as likely as the Armenian government being a pack of traitors. When Georgia forced Russia to enter South Ossetia, the Russians knew that the Georgians had given early notice to the Turks. This gave the Turks extra time to prepare to take advantage of the situation — a common occurrence in international affairs. The Russians knew what was about to transpire would add political vacuum to the region. The Georgians are the fools in all this, but that is another topic. The Azerbaijanis knew that the Russians would easily prevail against the Georgians and there would be pressure on them as the balance of regional political influence would shift. The Azerbaijanis seemed scared, but not the Armenians. The Azerbaijanis would either have to relent to a stronger Russia in the Caucasus, or re-engage their “Turkish” card. It would not be surprising if the Russians put enormous pressure on Armenia to take the initiative and start talking with the Turks, knowing the Turks have never given up their preconditions regarding the Armenian army leaving NK, etc. It is also possible the Armenians suggested this to the Russians, but not likely. The Turks would then be thrown an opportunity that would delay their post-South Ossetian war political intervention in the Caucasus. This would be the repercussions of an Armenian invitation to the Turks to watch a football match in Armenian. While the Turks, ignoring their stated preconditions before any talks (Armenian army exits NK, the current Armenian-Turkish border is recognized, no land claims, and Armenia ends support for international recognition of genocide) were busy digesting this sweet invitation and planning its aftermath, the process of estranging Turkey and Azerbaijan began. The Azerbaijanis seemed shocked that the Turks would accept such an Armenian invitation. This delayed any Azerbaijani knee-jerk pan-turkic reaction to events in Georgia and slowly Azerbaijan came to realize their supposed rock ally in the region was now running at less than 100%. Armenia was doing what was in the Russian interest, and that was to show to Azerbaijan that Turkey had interests that went beyond Azerbaijan in the Caucasus. Armenia even suggested Turks have shares in its second nuclear power plant! If it were not for the Russian-Georgian conflict and the Armenian football invitation, there would not have a similar crack in Turkish-Azerbaijani relations, a crack positive for Russian and possibly even Armenia.

    Talks between Armenia and Turkey simmered throughout the fall and winter 2008. Western powers (always wanting Armenia to simply emasculate away, preferably under Turkish domination) have always pushed for any Turkish-Armenian dialog and seemed quite happy. So we had immediate Russian and latent western pressure on Armenia to enter into talks with Turkey. These simmering talks continued until April 2009, when Obama visited Turkey and subsequently a so-called road map was announced. Events in April allowed to Turks to get another year without an American president saying genocide. April was over and the Turkish pre-conditions, especially regarding NK were reiterated and we are back to nearly the pre-football era, except the Turks have taken advantage of an angered Armenian diaspora and Azerbaijan appears less absolute pro-Turkish.

    So what we could have been seeing was an interesting chess game, not a massive sell out of Armenia and ending its existence. The reality of all this is that not much has actually changed.

    David Davidian

  2. Haroon 01 Jun 2009 at 2:20 am

    I want to add a few comments on Davidian’s comments. First, that Dr. Ayvasyan’s article being more than recent event-reaction report is a brief framework on what the TAC strategy should be today. So, it transcends beyond the events of the last three or four years. There are several levels here going back to the first publication and misinterpretations of Movses Khorenazi book in London in seventeenth century. For almost two centuries, the West has systematically segregated and misrepresented the Armenian culture and history.
    Turks have a political framework that was developed ever since Salah el Din era and is still in use today. To counter this, we need a strategic framework that will apply for at least 300 years from now and not simply a few years neighborhood of the current historic events. Armen Ayvasyan’s article seems to be a step towards this direction.
    On the other hand, Davidian’s note of the current chess game strategy is clearly obvious, and in fact, if we ponder a little more, we may even find more critical insight on the problem. Yes, it is true.
    Also, I may add on David’s comments the fact that at least once before, the Turks have played this chameleon game of “they can be Russia’s friends”. It was during the Bolshevik revolution, when they even claimed that their flag was not much different from the Bolshevik red flag. So, let us not assume too much about the strain of the relationship between Azerbaijan and Turkey. This is a bluff and simply a theatrical act on the international stage.
    Moreover, we should forget any reliance on the West. For even if we do have a corridor to the Black sea, by the mere size of the Armenia, and the multi-nationality of the Caucasus, the strategy of the West will not change. This may sound very counter intuitive, but it is much easier for the West to have the Asia Minor till the borders of India a uniform and single-ethnic populus. It does not matter whether they are all Turks or all Armenians, as long as they are not Russians (or Chinese). This is the grand strategy of the North-Amero-European Unification, of which EU and NATO are just the first two steps.

  3. Johnon 01 Jun 2009 at 4:11 am

    To David Davidian
    Your analysis is pathetic. It is based on your own uncorroborated guesses: no evidence is provided, just wild rambling. It ignores the great harm caused to Armenia and Hay Tad by the so-called soccer diplomacy. It seeks to simplify and trivialize the multi-level analysis of Turkish-Armenian conflict by Ayvazyan to just one point of ”traitors in the government”, which is, btw, not stated anywhere in Ayvazyan’s article, at least so primitively. It downplays the threats to Armenia’s security that are still there. In short, Mr. Davidian, you’re trying to mollify the Armenian protest against the dangers that lie ahead by giving credit to the detrimental policy of the Armenian government. It is so clear what you are after…

  4. David Davidianon 01 Jun 2009 at 10:17 am

    To John,

    I simply provided a larger context within which to understand, not justify, events that have unfolded since September 2008. It is not sufficient to point out and condemn each act or statement made by the Armenian government without providing a larger context — and reach a conclusion. Many condemn the individual actions of the Armenian government, including me publicly, especially since last September. If we condemn each one of these acts by themselves, one could come to the horrible conclusion that due to the continuous nature of these action being made against the interests of Armenia (or at least our personal perception of such interests), the Armenian government is selling out Armenia, based on greed, incompetence, stupidity, traitorous acts, etc. When these actions are not put in any larger context, all we are left with is a series of capitulating-looking acts in the face of a Turkish tradition we all know. It is for this reason I provided a wider context to these actions. If there are other suggested contexts, great, let them be posted.

    No, I have not provided evidence for what I have posted. If clear evidence existed for what I suggest, then most political analysts would be without a job and I would be hired instantly by any respectable FM. That is why I categorized my blog entry as “likely” as the Armenian government not knowing what it is doing or being left with the conclusion it is engaging in traitorous actions. I suspect the Armenian government is simply not very adept in accommodating the high pressure chess game it is appears to subject to.

    Just because I dare respond to Dr. Ayvazyan’s article does not make us enemies.

    David Davidian

  5. Angela Barseghian, Esq.on 01 Jun 2009 at 11:24 am

    I respect what Dr. Ayvazian and David Davidian have presented, however, I would much prefer to read analysis of why, all of a sudden, Mr. Serj Sarkisian decided to invite Mr. Gul for a football match in Yerevan? Had Armenians already resolved all their political, military, strategic issues with Turkey? so that it was time to watch football and have fun together? What was Mr. Sarkissian thinking, that he was accomplishing? Even if the football fun was suggested by the “big brother”, Russia, or by fascinating “Obama” diplomacy, at the end of the day, one has to ask oneself, how can you jump to a fun game watching stupidity between two nations who have failed to even come to terms, agreement, with their past, present, and future of any one single political, stratigic, historical or present economic issue….presented by Ayvazian and Davidian… Blaming someone, or any one government is not my agenda. But understanding the Armenian and the Turkish governments why they think the Armenian people are stupid enough to see positve anything in their foolish game watching venture????And yet, the negative side of the stupidity, is that they think the people are stupid enough to deduce anything positive out of their childish game of watching football together. At the end of the day, I still think that the Armenian people deserve to see a bit more serious, politically consious, politically correct leader for themselves….Our people and our country has to do everything militarily and politically possible to protect its national dignity and faith.

    Georgia, Azerbajan have their own unique historical and socio/political issues with the West, with Russians, and they will keep playing that same politically boring well known game till the end. Azerbajan and Turkey are stratigic allies only as far as Armenia is concerned, at the end of the day, they are countries that are out there for their own pockets, and as it turns out, Armenia is their common enemy. For Armenians, the issue remains, if they can learn from the past historical mistakes and not to take any passing political situation in Caucuses as an excuse to change course and jeoperdize Armenian National interests and to be able to adopt and sustain a democratic, free Armenia, where people can elect intelligent leaders, have a system of independent Courts, human rights for all and all the free democratic values Armenians deserve. If we do not put our house in order, in Armenia, how can we demand an similar order from outside?


  6. Haroon 01 Jun 2009 at 2:03 pm

    Thank you Angela, your point of view has the right answers to your questions. If something looks like a duck, walks like a duck and sounds like a duck, then it is logical to infer that it is a duck. I mean, David’s comments are trying to infer that it is highly unlikely that it is a “duck”. I too respect David’s comments, and agree with him, but I cannot assume that the Armenian government cannot be a “Duck”. My friend David, yes, even they can be “Duck”s, and they have made considerable mistakes so far, as pointed out by Angela and Dr. Ayvasyan.
    We do want to respect our government representatives, but let us not be too much subjective, but evaluate the facts as they are. A few moments of mistakes may not harm us so much, but a systematic faulty strategy will eventually annihilate all Armenians. We need a Strategic Framework (S.F.) that addresses a few centuries window in the space-time continuum, not an ignorant political psuedo-science.
    Developing such an SF system is very much possible and have been developed in the past Armenian history. A good example of such is St. Mashtoz’s inventions and methods, without whom there would have been no Armenians left today.
    So, we need to work on the development of such a system, and as I mentioned, Armen Ayvasyan’s site is vigorously waving the flag to identify this critical issue.
    I wish Dr Ayvasyan can write in more details and elaborate a much larger volume out of this article. What concerns me most is the “Diaspora’s Assimilation” problem, which is of course included in the article as points, but needs a detailed SF system. How should we address the assimilation problem, assuming that returning to Fatherland is not quite realistic solution at this stage of time? Also, do not forget that there is assimilation going on even in the Fatherland.

  7. Stepan Sargsyanon 04 Jun 2009 at 2:38 pm

    I just want to reiterate something that Angela Barseghian implied, but didn’t state explicitly:

    This current round of Turkish-Armenian negotiations did not start after the Russo-Georgian war. That war may have precipitated the events and motivated Turkey into accepting the Armenian invitation. However, let us not forget that the invitation was extended by the Armenian side well before the actual war or any credible hint that a war is imminent. In fact, the first signs of this Armenian initiative were already seen in Serzh Sargsyan’s article in the Wall Street Journal in 2008, which was published while he was a prime minister. Therefore, while the South Ossetian events may have affected Turkey’s reaction and disposition, they are absolutely unrelated to the Armenian president’s initial policy toward Turkey.

    If we were to follow the suggestion of looking at the current Turkish-Armenian negotiations in a larger context, then we can see that the roots of Serzh Sargsyan’s policy extend back to the first government of the third Armenian republic, not the Russo-Georgian war. For detail on this, refer to the following links: (in Armenian) (in English, abridged)

  8. Avedis Kevorkianon 06 Jun 2009 at 7:51 pm

    The reason the Armenian/Turkish relationship is one-sided is that the crooks and thieves and thugs running (my fingers originally typed “ruining”!) Armenia is that they cannot spare the time and effort from stealing from the people to devote to serving the people.

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Կայքի մոդերատորներն իրավունք ունեն հեռացնելու այն գրառումները, որոնք պարունակում են անձնական վիրավորանքներ, բռնության կոչեր, թեմայից դուրս գրառումներ, գովազդային նյութեր։ Նաև չի խրախուսվում շատախոսությունը (flood):

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