CARNEGIE POLICY BRIEF
In October 2009, Armenia and Turkey begana historic rapprochement, signing two proto-cols on normalizing their relations that showedthem a way to escape their tragic past. In April2010, the process stalled, as the Turkish gov-ernment proved reluctant to submit the proto-cols for ratication by its parliament.e Armenia–Turkey normalization process was the most positive initiative in the SouthCaucasus for many years, and if carried throughit still has the potential to transform the region.ere is a chance that it can be revived afterTurkey’s general election, which is due in theearly summer of 2011. It is important for allinterested parties to work to keep this prospectalive. at requires robust support for non-political Track II Armenian–Turkish initia-tives that widen the constituency of Armeniansand Turks interested in rapprochement. It alsorequires expending greater eort on the resolu-tion of the unresolved Armenian–Azerbaijaniconict over Nagorny Karabakh, which was themain reason why the process ground to a halt.If the process is to get back on track, allinvolved parties, including the United States,should set their sights on longer-term goalsseveral years hence and “make haste slowly”toward them. e centenary of the Armeniantragedy in 2015 is a good reference point by which to set the goal of full Armenian–Turkishnormalization.
A AGIc HISOY
e Republic of Armenia has been an inde-pendent state since the collapse of the SovietUnion in 1991, but the border with neighbor-ing Turkey has been closed for most of thattime, and suspicions between Armenians andTurks are still strong. Armenian–Turkish relations live under theshadow of the mass deportation and killing of the Armenian population of Eastern Anatoliaby the Ottoman Young Turk regime in the yearsfollowing 1915. e allied powers at the timecalled the killings “crimes against humanity andcivilization,” and many historians agree thatmore than one million Armenians died. For the Armenian diaspora, most of whom are grand-children of surviving Anatolian Armenians, thistragedy denes their identity. Since the 1960sthey have lobbied internationally for the kill-ings to be termed a genocide. e governmentof modern Turkey, the successor state to theOttoman Empire, consistently denies that there was a genocidal policy toward the Armeniansand points out that hundreds of thousands of Ottoman Muslims died during the same period.Turkey recognized the newly independentRepublic of Armenia in 1991, but did not estab-lish diplomatic relations. Bilateral ties quickly became captive to Armenia’s escalating war with Ankara’s new ally Azerbaijan over the disputedterritory of Nagorny Karabakh. In April 1993, Armenian forces extended their military cam-paign outside Karabakh itself, capturing the Azerbaijani province of Kelbajar. Turkey closedits border with Armenia in protest; seventeenyears later, the border remains closed.In Turkey, attitudes toward the country’sneighbors and minorities have changed in theeight years since the election into governmentof the mildly Islamist AKP party in 2002. etaboo about discussing the Armenian issuehas been lifted—although some of the brav-est voices on this issue have sometimes paid ahigh price. Armenian tourists now visit Turkey in large numbers, and there are weekly ightsbetween Yerevan and Istanbul. Fethiye Çetin’smemoir,
published in 2004,confronted Turks with the long-suppressed factthat hundreds of thousands of Turkish citizenshad Armenian grandparents who were forc-ibly assimilated after 1915. Celebrated authorOrhan Pamuk challenged his countrymen tobreak their silence on the fate of the Ottoman Armenians. e Istanbul editor Hrant Dink—an ethnic Armenian and Turkish citizen—played a key role in initiating Armenian–Turkish dialogue. Dink’s assassination in 2007by a seventeen-year-old nationalist fanatic
Thomas de Waal
is a senior associate in the Russia and EurasiaProgram at the CarnegieEndowment, specializing primarily in the South Caucasusregion comprising Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia and their breakaway territories, as well asthe wider Black Sea region.De Waal is an acknowledged expert on the unresolved confictso the South Caucasus: Abkhazia,Nagorny Karabakh, and SouthOssetia. From 2002 to 2009 heworked as an analyst and project manager on the conficts in theSouth Caucasus or the London-based NGOs ConciliationResources and the Institute or War and Peace Reporting.He is author o the authorita-tive book on the Karabakhconfict,
Black Garden: Armenia andAzerbaijan Through Peace and War
(NYU Press, 2003), which has beentranslated into Armenian, Azeri,and Russian. His new book,
TheCaucasus: An Introduction
(Oxord University Press), was released inSeptember 2010.
AbOU H AUHO