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  • October 2009 : Resumption of diplomatic relations between Armenia and Turkey

Through the intermediary of Switzerland, on 10th October 2009, Armenian and Turkish Ministers of Foreign Affairs signed two protocols in Zurich (Switzerland) in the presence of foreign ministers of the countries of the MINSK Group (United States, Russia and France).
These agreements provide for "the establishment of diplomatic relations" and "the development of bilateral ties" between the two countries. Besides the content, the signing of these agreements represents the first step towards a dialogue between two countries that have had no formal relations for over fifteen years, i.e. since the occupation of the Nagorno-Karabakh province by Armenia in 1993. The protocols address two issues still unresolved to this day that are undermining relations between the two neighbours. They concern, on the one hand, the reopening of their common border closed by Turkey in 1993 and, on the other hand, a joint commission of history and research to be created in order to uncover the truth surrounding the events of 1915, qualified as genocide by the Armenians.
What is more, the signing has taken place between two states where nationalism is still rife. The Armenian diaspora, fiercely opposed to this reconciliation, has significant power in both countries ; Azerbaijan is also opposed to this reconciliation and accuses Turkey of abandoning it.
Today, debates rage. Both protocols must still be submitted to Turkish and Armenian national assemblies for ratification in the near future. The political goodwill of the two states involved does not preclude, however, difficulties relating to these agreements, including the strong opposition of Azerbaijan to the opening of the border : it will continue to refuse this possibility so long as it does not regain control of the territories currently under Armenian administration.
This reconciliation between Armenians and Turks began with the efforts of Hrant Dink, journalist and left-wing Armenian-Turkish intellectual, who was assassinated in January 2007 by still unclear nationalist groups. The taboo on the Armenian issue is now lifted in Turkey where intellectuals, press and public are debating the genocide issue.

D 19 novembre 2009    AInan Sevinç

CNRS Unistra Dres Gsrl

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