YEREVAN (Realist English). The negotiations between Armenia and Turkey, first at the level of special representatives, and then at the level of foreign ministers, cannot but raise a number of issues related to the national security of Armenia and its national interests in general. Undoubtedly, the desire for peace is fine, but everything depends on the terms of the future agreement, and the latter depends on the negotiating positions of the parties. And we must face the truth — equal, bilateral negotiations presuppose that each of their participants has some trump cards, strong positions and opportunities with which he could negotiate favorable conditions for himself somewhere, show firmness, and somewhere put pressure on his opponent.
Armenia has no such trump cards now. And, therefore, in negotiations with Turkey or Azerbaijan (which were also discussed by Ararat Mirzoyan and Mevlut Cavusoglu), the more so that they are bilateral, without any outside support, she will simply have to sign everything that the vis-a-vis dictates. Armenia has repeatedly stated her desire to negotiate with Turkey without preconditions, and it is an extremely regrettable historical paradox that the preconditions in this situation could have been set by the Turkish, and not the Armenian side. When in fact it should have been otherwise, because it is Armenia that has the most serious, global and a literally metaphysical claim — the demand for recognition and condemnation of the Armenian Genocide in the Ottoman Empire.
Naturally, Ankara did not and is not going to do such a thing in negotiations with Yerevan. And in this case, the very fact of negotiations is already a unilateral and unbalanced concession by the Armenian side. But, I repeat, this can be just the beginning — Armenia will be dictated other humiliating conditions, which she is unlikely to have the opportunity to disagree with. It is very likely that we will talk about concessions in Artsakh… It is obvious that Turkey is extremely interested in such negotiations and a final peace with Armenia — this will expand the territory of its influence, in addition to parts of Libya, northern Syria and Azerbaijan. Moreover, having received the opportunity to use the territory of Armenia for its transport needs, Ankara will be able to seriously reduce the costs and facilitate its penetration into the Caspian countries and further into Central Asia, not to mention direct rail links with its ally Azerbaijan. This factor will make it possible for “one people — two states” to control both Iranian trade with Armenia and via Armenia, and to firmly establish themselves in the zone of Russia’s traditional influence. It is obvious that Armenia, after the defeat in the 44-day war, will not be an equal partner of Turkey here. Moreover, it has every chance to turn into a semi-colony, into which Turkish goods will pour first, destroying local production in the course of competition, and then — Turkish enterprises and other businesses brought to poorer countries. It is obvious that Turks, contrary to the expectations of some in Armenia, will simply not benefit from raising the standard of living on her territory — on the contrary, they will be interested in cheap and, if possible, skilled labor.
As an illustration of this thesis, let me remind you that Turkish business and investments have not improved the lives of the majority of the population in Georgia in any way. And in conclusion, I note that in the case of peace with Turkey, Yerevan will have to finally and officially abandon even declarative claims on the territory of Western Armenia.
This will be a complete restructuring of the existing political, cultural and even ideological reality in the Armenian society. Is the Armenian society really ready for such concessions, as stated by Ararat Mirzoyan and evidenced (albeit rather indirectly) by the data of some sociological studies? For Armenia and the Armenian people a lot depends now on the answer to this question…
Anton Evstratov — political observer, Candidate Sciences (History), Fellow of the Russian-Armenian University, for Realist English