Has Turkey Traded Genocide for Karabakh?

By Bruce Tasker, Khosq, UK-Yerevan, April 2009

With Turkish / Armenian negotiations reaching a peak, the focus of attention is moving from the wider debate to petty bickering over who said this and who said that, the inevitable outcome of a process in which a country’s leaders discuss fundamentals of agreements with their international counterparts then hide the truth from their domestic audience. The Armenian negotiating parties, President Sargsyan and MFA Nalbandian, have unashamedly deceived the Armenian public with respect to their year-long negotiations on Karabakh and Genocide.

By Bruce Tasker, Khosq, UK-Yerevan, April 2009

With Turkish / Armenian negotiations reaching a peak, the focus of attention is moving from the wider debate to petty bickering over who said this and who said that, the inevitable outcome of a process in which a country’s leaders discuss fundamentals of agreements with their international counterparts then hide the truth from their domestic audience. The Armenian negotiating parties, President Sargsyan and MFA Nalbandian, have unashamedly deceived the Armenian public with respect to their year-long negotiations on Karabakh and Genocide.


Today, they would have the Armenian public believe that Turkey has suddenly introduced pre-conditions for opening the border, an untrue statement and particularly alarming as it came immediately after discussions with the US President in Turkey, which surely must have led to a common understanding between Turkey, Armenia and the US. True, the Turkish side did change its position after Obama’s trip to Turkey and re-introduced Karabakh as a pre-condition. But in contrast to Armenia, Turkish reports on its position have been consistent, in Ankara, in Baku and in Yerevan.

 Turkey resolutely denies that the hostilities involving the slaughter of Armenians in the early 20th century amounted to Genocide and each year it spends considerable resources to defend its position, especially in the US. This year Turkey’s leaders spent several months and went to extraordinary lengths to avoid US recognition, realizing the new US President and most of his senior administration supported Armenia’s claim of Genocide. That is understandable from a Turkish perspective. But it is disturbing that the Armenian negotiating parties have not added their voices to the Armenian lobby for the US to recognize Genocide, but understandable, as US recognition would put a stop to the plan they have been doing all they can to keep from the Armenian public. Sargsyan and Nalbandian have been ‘warming to the Turkish proposal to establish a commission of historians’ and they have said so on several occasions, not for the good of the Armenian Republic, but in pursuit of personal gain.

On April 6th and 7th, Turkey was host to the US President, first in Ankara then in Istanbul, hailed as the highlight of Obama’s European tour. Several weeks prior to the Obama visit, Turkey announced that it had removed the Karabakh issue from its list of pre-conditions for opening the Turkish / Armenian border, seemingly infuriating Azerbaijan, but clearly a tactical move to demonstrate Turkish acquiescence in a ‘warming relationship’ with the Armenian administration and part of Turkey’s concerted effort to avoid what seemed to be an inevitable US Genocide recognition. The Obama trip went according to plan with the US and Turkey singing each others praise. But for Armenia, whilst Obama confirmed his personal position had not changed, he avoided using the word Genocide.

Armenia’s MFA Nalbandian decided not to travel to Ankara to meet with US President Obama on the 6th April as planned, but he eventually managed to find time on April 7th in Istanbul. He returned to Yerevan bristling with confidence of an imminent border opening and assuring the Armenian public that he and his President would do nothing to jeopardize a possible US recognition of Genocide. In fact, they had already done their damndest to jeopardize a possible US recognition of Genocide, they had announced that negotiations with Turkey were developing well and they anticipated an early opening of the Armenian / Turkish border – possibly in April. Under these circumstances it would have been confrontational for Obama to talk about Armenia’s ‘Genocide’ in Turkey and he would have been blamed for spoiling the Turkish – Armenian reconciliation process.

Nalbandian had barely finished his press conference in Yerevan, when Turkey announced in Ankara, Baku and Yerevan that it was to re-introduce Karabakh to the border-opening list of pre-conditions, a seemingly provocative move, especially after the Obama visit and only two weeks prior to a much anticipated 24th April Obama declaration on Genocide in the US. The Turkish move completely contradicted Nalbandian’s statement, plus many such Nalbandian statements in the run-up to Obama’s trip to Turkey. Sargsyan responded in Yerevan, accusing Turkey of suddenly introducing hitherto unknown pre-conditions, although pre-conditions have been known and documented throughout the nearly year-long negotiation process, and neither Sargsyan nor his Minister of Foreign Affairs had ever explained in Armenia how they had been resolved. However, the ‘newly introduced pre-condition’ did not dampen Sargsyan’s enthusiasm and he re-confirmed he would be travelling through the newly opened border on his way to watch football in Turkey this October.

From this somewhat implausible chain of events, it is presumably to be believed that President Gul had a change of heart after negotiations between President Obama and Armenia’s MFA Nalbandian; that he decided to slap the well-intentioned face of his most powerful strategic ally by revoking on this critical and most sensitive of issues. If true, that would surely invoke US recognition of Armenia’s Genocide on the 24th.

Of course not, Turkey’s President Gul would never concede on the Genocide issue, knowing that 90 percent of the Turkish population is opposed, and at a time when his ratings had plummeted in a keenly contested democratic election. The conclusion can only be that Obama left Turkey thankful and relieved that Turkey and Armenia had agreed to resolve the Genocide issue between them, through Turkey’s commission of historians, or some other such mechanism. Armenia’s President Sargsyan is on record as saying he has no ambitions with regard the historic Armenian lands in the eastern part of Turkey, so only the Karabakh issue needs to be resolved for him to travel through the border in October this year, and Bryza’s opinion is that Karabakh will soon be resolved.

Armenia’s former President Kocharian has been preparing his deal on Karabakh for several years, held back firstly by the lack of an acceptable Azerbaijani compensation package, and secondly his nerve to commit to the deal, knowing he would face the backlash from an angry Armenian public. Kocharian waited his time and supported Sargsyan as his successor on the understanding that Sargsyan, when President, would go through with the agreement he dare not sign.

However, in the same way that Turkey would never withdraw its support from Azerbaijan with regard Karabakh, Azerbaijan is equally committed to supporting Turkey on Genocide. In July 2008, seeing that Sargsyan was determined to finalize the Kocharian deal on Karabakh, the Azerbaijani / Turkish allies joined forces and threw Genocide into the equation, knowing the self-imposed illegitimate Sargsyan regime would jump at the chance of adding to the package of compensation it was demanding in return for one of Armenia’s very few state assets left after Kocharian’s eight years of pillaging – Karabakh.

In August 2008, the Georgia conflict prompted Moscow to force the pace of negotiations, so Medvedev dangled a $500 million carrot; then the World economic crisis presented the opportunity for the US to throw a billion or so more dollars into the pot, conveniently facilitated by the World Bank and the IMF. Now half the World is on tenterhooks, waiting the next episode in this most unsavory Caucasus conflict resolution saga, which is due this 24th April in New York.

The Kocharian / Sargsyan Karabakh ‘Ace’ has already been played several times with the EU and PACE to chock up the illegitimate Sargsyan Presidency. Soon it will be played for the last time, to draw massive compensation in return for a beneficial agreement for Azerbaijan on Karabakh and for a Turkish commission of historians to finally eliminate Armenia’s claims of Genocide.

Turkey and Azerbaijan will have solved their longstanding problems with Armenia, the US will have been relieved the burden of Genocide recognition, Russia will see additional political clout and economic benefits in the Caucasus, and the Sargsyan / Kocharian regime will have a compensation package worth several billion dollars.

The vast majority of Armenians will be hoping that the US president stands by his promise and formally recognizes the Armenian Genocide this 24th April; in the longer term it will be beneficial to all parties concerned. Otherwise the Kocharian / Sargsyan regime will be having to cope with the backlash in Armenia, after having sold Armenia down the river with their ‘Karabakh / Genocide Deal’.

  1. 22nd April: Ankara, Turkey

    22nd April: ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — "Turkey and Armenia have agreed on a roadmap for normalizing relations and reaching reconciliation, the Turkish Foreign Ministry said Wednesday, but it wasn’t immediately clear how they would tackle their bitter dispute over Ottoman-era killings of ethnic Armenians".

    Turkish officials would not discuss that issue and the ministry statement said only that the two countries had worked out a framework for reaching a solution that would satisfy both sides. ………There was no immediate comment from Armenia’s government" – Hostednews .

    State Department Press Release: Turkey and Armenia: Normalization of Relations

    Robert Wood, Acting Department Spokesman,  Office of the Spokesman, Washington, DC – April 22, 2009

    "The United States welcomes the statement made by Armenia and Turkey on normalization of their bilateral relations. It has long been and remains the position of the United States that normalization should take place …… without preconditions ….. and within a reasonable time frame. We urge Armenia and Turkey to proceed according to the agreed framework and road map. We look forward to working with both governments in support of normalization, and thus promote peace, security and stability in the whole region" – State Department

    23rd April – Russian ‘Novosti’ television announced that Turkey and Armenia have reached agreement to establish diplomatic relations, and there is a document, which can be described as as ……………. ‘Historic’.

    My Comment: It is not mentioned in the Turkish announcement that Turkey has backed down on any of its preconditions (although the State Department has gone further than the AP and said that normalization should take place …… without preconditions) – and interesting that although the Armenian regime has apparently committed to a ‘Document’, it is keeping strangely quiet about the affair.

    Armed with this official Turkish announcement (apparently supported by what Russian television describes as a ‘document’) the US will now be sufficiently confident of the process between Turkey and Armenia for Obama to back down on his promise to support Armenia’s Genocide, and it follows that he will not be saying the ‘G’ word 24th April.

    Armenia – Will You Blame Obama this 24th April (Feb 2009) – Khosq

    Bruce Tasker Homepage

  2. Good article

    Hi Bruce, another good article.

    Can you please be more specific about what Sargsyan and Kocharian are getting out of the deal?  (I know that you might have other articles about this, so perhaps you may link them inline when you talk about it.)  Also, who are the co-conspirators of Sagsyan / Kocharian who will also benefit from these dealings.

    I think a longer paper putting it all together would be great — the Karabakh issue, Genocide, border reopening, along with what Kocharian & Sargsyan will gain from the deal.  I’d like to know more details…

    1. Aram, You are no doubt


      You are no doubt that I have been thrashing away at the Karabakh / Genocide issues on Khosq for the past year, following on from my World Bank campaign – as the Karabakh issue is inter-related, then Genocide was thrown into the pot. Through those articles I have tried to keep up with the process, adding my analysis as the process develops, and I might say, it is developing pretty much as I have anticipated it would.

      To answer your question, apart from the billion dollars from the US, channeled through the WB and IMF, plus the $500 million from Russia, which will now also no doubt suddenly be approved, there has been a string of incentives put forward by the various parties, and have no doubt there will be massive amounts of additional benefits that we will never know about.

      1)      Promises of humanitarian deliveries through the newly opened border

      2)      Turkish contract to buy Armenian electricity

      3)      Turkish purchase of shares in Armenia’s nuclear power station

      4)      Armenian participation in the Nabucco gas pipeline

      The money will now start to flow, especially after SAS has also signed on to the Karabakh agreement, and as we know that all the above benefits, plus others, will benefit the regime and again help it strengthen its already iron-clad grip over the Armenian society, this starts to make up the $5ish billion package I have been suggesting would be the anti throughout the past year.

      Did you get the documents I sent – would you like more?

    2. Your co-conspirator question

      Your co-conspirator question presumably refers to my latest “ANCA Genocide Dilemma” article, where I write about “the regime and its faithful co-conspirators, the Dashnak Party”. I mean by this the leaders of the Dashnak party who are in the government coalition in Armenia, but of course there are others, such as Arthur Baghdasarian, Dodi Gago, etc., etc.

      I (like many others in Armenia) like to believe that Dashnaks in the Diaspora are more patriotic and have better hopes for their Republic than their disgraced representatives in Armenia.

    3. Medvedev Comes Clean on the Karabakh Compensation Package


      Aza Babayan has added some more info in response to your question about what Sargsyan and Kocharian are getting out of the deal, following the April 23rd meeting between Presidents Medvedev Sarkisian in Zavidovo, Russia. That is now available on Groong  at: (http://groong.usc.edu/news/msg266508.html),

      Medvedev said he and Sarkisian also reviewed `very concrete economic issues’ of mutual interest.  `I even phoned our colleagues from the government and the business community to push things  forward and perhaps use unconventional economic mechanisms in some cases and use guarantees  in others,’ Medvedev said.

      He also said that despite the global economic crisis, Yerevan and Moscow will seek to expand bilateral economic cooperation and, in particular, `energy and infrastructure projects’.

      Sarkisian said at the beginning of the meeting that Russian companies are showing `real interest’ in Armenia’s ambitious plans to build a new nuclear power plant. He said that interest should translate into ……. ‘Billions of Dollars’ …. in additional Russian investments in the Armenian economy `in the next three or four years.

      The two leaders said nothing about a $500 million loan which Russian has pledged to provide to Armenia to mitigate the effects of the global recession on its economy.

      My Comment: At last Russia’s President Medvedev has had the decency to come clean on part of a package of compensation Armenia will be getting in response to Armenian capitulation on Karabakh – Armenia’s Sargsyan, Nalbandian, Movsissian, Abrahamyan and the rest of their bandits would never have done so.

      This is to add to the packages offered through Turkey, Azerbaijan and Iran, also possibly financed by Russia, as I suggested it could be in my post  “World Bank Crisis for Armenia, the Intrigue” of March 2008 http://better-not-wb-the-wb.blogspot.com/2008/03/world-bank-crisis-for-armenia-intrigue_23.html

      The question now is – What can be done, especially by the Diaspora and the ANCA to stop these ‘Billions of Dollars’ simply vanishing into the pockets of regime cronies

      1. Beware the new Nuclear Power Plant
        Thanks Bruce for the timely information.

        I agree with you.  The new nuclear power plant will be an important vehicle in transferring Russian "investment" into Armenia into the hands of Armenia’s illegitimate regime.  It is the outside powers that are giving Armenia’s regime its power (and they are gaining leverage over Armenia) using both foreign "loans" and "investments" which are then being funneled into the pockets of Sarsgyan, Kocharian, and party, and also being used to enforce the police state.

        I estimate that about $2-$3 billion USD (out of a proposed cost of $5 billion USD) will be funelled into the pockets of SAS, RK, and party.  The power plant makes no economic sense as evaluated by experts in the power generation industry.  (Consider that the U.S. has not built a nuclear power plant since 1982!)

        $2-$3 billion is not bad for a 6 year period (assuming construction of the plant begins in 2010 and ends in 2016).

        Meanwhile most Diaspora Armenians (highly naive) think that it’s so great that Armenia’s getting a new nuclear power plant!  ("Remember the days of 1993 when there was no light?" they say…  The Armenian population in Armenia probably feels the same…  Little do they know how this NPP project is a big accounting scheme to funnel money into the pockets of the illegitimate regime.  Independent European and American studies have long shown that Armenia can be electrical energy independent with an investment of less than $1 billion.  A $5 billion NPP is a slap in the face!)

        1. Nuclear Power Plant
          Makes no sense, neither economically nor environmentally. As Dr. Abrahamian in his speech states, it will be another factor in Armenia becoming dependent on others, considering who the share holders will be. See http://www.keghart.com/node/436
          Have you listened to it yet? I wonder whether wind and solar energy would be a better investment. Check it out.

          1. renewable energy
            Yes, some analyses have been done prior to this speech, although it’s great that it has been mentioned once again.

            See http://www.renewableenergyarmenia.am

            There is also a USAID report somewhere which outlines specific projects.

            Most economical for Armenia are wind and hydro power.  Next with great potential is geothermal (investment in exploration is necessary).  Solar electric energy still not economical yet.  Within the next 25 years, however, solar will become economical and the Sevan basin is ideal for it.  All of Armenia can be powered by solar energy with the area of about the town of Vardenis on the shores of Sevan (with current electrical energy consumption).  Natural gas power plant is another cheaper option than nuclear given new Iran-Armenia gas pipeline.

        2. Largest provider to Armenia is the Diaspora


          Armenia is already much more than energy independent, even if no more investments are made.  However, if the Nuclear Power Plant is shut down, there will be need for more capability. Other projects should however be taken into consideration, including the ‘two’ new hydro-power plants soon to be built on the river Araks. Plus there is the fifth block of the Hrazdan power plant, which has soaked up more than half a billion dollars and is still apparently under construction, after 15 years, plus the new gas-powered plant in Yerevan, plus the dozens of small and medium hydro-plants Movsissian has been quietly building. Then of course there are the Vorotan and Sevan – Hrazdan hydro-power cascades, which by themselves provide much more than Armenia needs, although on a peak-time basis, and then quite considerable resources are being invested in wind energy.

          With regard funding, by far and away the largest provider to Armenia is the Diaspora, who contribute an estimated $3 Billion each year. The Diaspora should use this considerable financial clout to influence affairs in the Republic, especially in times of crisis, such as today.

  3. Obama would not use the word “Genocide” – brokered deal

    Matthew Bryza: Implicit ‘Genocide’ threat lies behind Turkey-Armenia breakthrough:

    The first use of the symbolic word as a pressure point came directly from President Obama during his April 7 visit. In his talks with Erdoğan, according to sources, he said Turkey should reach an understanding with Armenia prior to April 24.

    ……. Turkey only swallowed the package after it was made clear that in the absence of a brokered deal Obama would use the word "Genocide."

    My Comment: This is confirmation from the US Deputy Secretary of State, who "spent 14 hours of marathon talks with the Armenians in Yerevan", that Obama did not say the word ‘Genocide’ because of an agreement between Yerevan’s illegitimate regime and their Turkish counterparts.

    But according to Armenia’s Nalbandian in his latest interview, despite 14 hours of marathon talks with the Armenians in Yerevan, he did not know the agreement meant that Obama would not say ‘Genocide’ on the 24th. Groong

    More Lies, Deceit and a ‘Genocide Sell-Out’ – Hurriyet

  4. With Turkish / Armenian
    With Turkish / Armenian negotiations reaching a peak, the focus of attention is moving from the wider debate to petty bickering over who said this and who said that, the inevitable outcome of a process in which a country’s leaders discuss fundamentals of agreements with their international counterparts then hide the truth from their domestic audience. The Armenian negotiating parties, President Sargsyan and MFA Nalbandian, have unashamedly deceived the Armenian public with respect to their year-long negotiations on Karabakh and Genocide.

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