It is unrealistic to expect that thedebate of Armenian history inAnatolia will open up in any way
that is not gradual and tful.
accusing Baku o not standing up or urkey’s nationalistagenda enough is contradictory and pushes Baku decision-makers even urther rom progressive ways to advocatetheir interests.However the commemoration also triggered red ags onthe urkish side. Te media reaction against the hateulslogans, and the initialization in Ankara o legal actionagainst protestors who held racist banners, depicted demo-cratic reexes against hate speech. Tis was an importantprecedent setting limits to reedom o expression. I suchresponses are also replicated in cases o racist writtenexpression and rallies against urks and Azerbaijanis indiferent corners o the world, sustaining such standards inurkey will also be politically more viable.It was not only solidarity but also reciprocity between Bakuand Ankara that was on display on aksim Square that day.As Ankara had called on Azerbaijani political capital tosway Paris, Baku expected political capital rom Ankara orits Karabakh commemoration. Accordingly, the interiorminister o urkey was present at the occasion, delivering aery speech.Te Khojali commemoration was part o a larger eforton Baku’s part to demonstrate that the status quo o theKarabakh stalemate is not sustainable. Tis activism is alsoa backlash to the Armenian lobby wars around the world,which have driven home the message that interests andresources dene whose truth is noticed.While Western politicians play into genocide diplomacy with parliamentary resolutions and the like, they also pres-sure urkey to open its border with Armenia — which hasinamed the urkish public and may risk economic andstrategic realignments, which would work against the inter-ests o urkey’s leaders.
Such pressure rom the West disre-gards some o the variables at hand and backres, puttingurkey and Azerbaijan in the same deensive position.Now, at the expense o its own moral higher ground andto supposedly “deserve” urkey’s keeping its border closedwith Armenia, Azerbaijan has taken on the burden o deending the urkish position on 1915 at internationalplatorms. Like an arms race, each side leverages its respec-
tive assets — diaspora clout, money, and strategic power —to amass against its adversary.At this time, it is unrealistic to expect that the debate o Armenian history in Anatolia will open up in any way thatis not gradual and tul, particularly given the internationaldimensions o the process — such as the genocide resolu-tions, the ears o reparation demands, and the aggrievedAzerbaijanis. Te approach o 2015, the 100
anniversary o the tragedy, is likely to only aggravate the restrictive climateo debate, on all sides.Looking beyond 2015, with a longer-term approach, it iscrucial that urkey proceed to internalize the spirit o itsreormed laws, rerain rom eeding into the cycle o nation-alist rhetoric, reconceive notions o citizenship withoutethnic ocus, and teach responsible narratives o its ownhistory to the next generation. Tis is vital to open the spaceor critical thinking in Armenia and Azerbaijan as well.
The Weight of Strategic Depth
Tese three events, as well as the debates surroundingthem, portrayed how urkey’s quest or strategic depthis entrenched in complex links with its neighbors and itsdemocratization.Due to its relatively advanced civil society, democraticreedoms, EU candidacy, and strategic weight, urkey isexpected to take the lead in setting new and positive para-digms with its neighbors. Tis responsibility is sometimesperceived as an inequity to urks but is part and parcel o itsown ambitious claims, and can also be viewed as recogni-tion o urkey’s “central country” credentials.But is urkey living up to these claims, in terms o intel-lectual and political leadership? As long as Ankara caters topopulism, the Azerbaijani reex will be geared to appealingto these same social dynamics, and the Armenian reex