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South Caucasus


Georgi Vanyan
Interview Day.Az with the chairman of Caucasus Center of Peace-Making Initiatives Georgi Vanyan

Mr. Vanyan how do you evaluate the perspectives of the opening of Turkish-Armenian border?

Due to the fact that the Armenian - Azerbaijanian conflict has not been solved, while the occupation of Azerbaijanian territory continues, and until Armenia doesn’t review the “Declaration of Independence”, also while there are obvious territorial claims to Turkey, and while the question of international recognition of the “genocide” remain in the base of Armenian foreign politics, and finally until Armenia remains the destabilizing factor in the South Caucasus region – the perspectives of opening the Armenian - Turkish border narrow down to a zero.

Let us remember. The question of the Armenian - Turkish border was brought up during the war between Russia and Georgia, that’s when, the hallway into Turkey was being considered as an alternative oxygen tube for Armenia. And today the urgency of opening the border may be only regarded within the context of risks, which will raise the pressure in the region. A real process of relation’s improvement between Armenia and Turkey, and opening the border as a byproduct of the process, would be after noticeable steps are directed toward the solution of the Armenian - Azerbaijanian conflict.

And what do you think, will the recently observed activation of actions from USA, Turkey and Russia in the question of regulating the Armenian – Azerbaijanian and Nagorno Karabakh conflict and bring a fair solution of the problem anytime within the near future?

I don’t see any special activation, and what’s more, the agiotage around the opening of the border between Armenia and Turkey, deepens the existing contradictions and up until now has clouded the already stale water of the regulation process of the Armenian – Azerbaijanian conflict. Regretfully, we all, in Armenia and Azerbaijan, continue to remain in a magical geopolitical field – while passively awaiting for another activation or involvement of third countries, as if they could make changes in the situation. It is long due to realize, that only the presence of interest from third countries and even the contradictions of those interests can not make the political atmosphere healthier in the entire region as it would in our countries.

How long must we wait? What else must take place, for our countries, Armenia and Azerbaijan to undertake at least one realistic step? Why does Russia continue its role of the middleman in the South Caucasus, after it mercilessly did some muscle play in Georgia?

What are the achievements of OSCE Minsk Group? Are we able to receive real support from USA and Europe for the promotion of our own bilateral dialogue? Do we have the ability to refuse a language of political blackmail, which sooner or later will result in war?

But all things considered: how do you imagine the future of South Caucasus region to be, in the event of regulation of the Armenian – Azerbaijanian Nagorono Karabakh conflict?

I’d like to remind, that the future of the South Caucasus region is put under a threat of the existence of two conflicts, the Armenian - Azerbaijanian and the Russian - Georgian. If we are talking about the South Caucasus as a region in whole, we must come to the realization that Russia’s, or the Kremlins war to be exact is not against Georgia it’s against the South Caucasus, and the future of all our countries depends on the outcome of this opposition.

Armenia is Russia’s outpost in that context - the weakest link and the destabilizing factor in the region. The process, a realistic process, a realistic program to regulate the Armenian - Azerbaijanian conflict can play a key role for the entire region, it can become the most important push, that will return Armenia its sovereignty, will make relations healthier in the region and will guarantee a safe future. Otherwise the region of South Caucasus is condemned to carry on a miserable existence on the edge of the world with its explosive conflicts and contradictions.

A summarizing question: hasn’t the Armenian society become tired of the conflicts with Azerbaijan and Turkey, over Armenia’s territorial claims not only With Azerbaijan and Turkey, but also with Georgia (Javakhety)?

The problem is not that our society is tired, but it is exhausted by years, centuries old aiming of claims from its neighbours, exhausted by unnatural opposition of itself to the entire world, exhausted by obsession to its groundless and imaginary messianism.

To be become tired of something, and in this case to become tired of making claims to your neighbours – means to forfeit the claims. In our situation, And I quote composer Elmir Mirzoev, it’s a lot worse then we think – the Armenian society doesn’t have even the minimal means within itself for changes, our society is on the brink of extinction. The political processes around the regulation of the Armenian - Turkish relations like a litmus have revealed that exhaustion.

Akper Gasanov