"Turkey will continue to connect the settlement of relations with Armenia with the Azerbaijani factor." Turkologist

Radar Armenia's interlocutor is Turkologist Nelly Minasyan.

- Yesterday, Nikol Pashinyan had a telephone conversation with Recep Erdogan. Both sides emphasized the political will, without any preconditions, regarding the complete settlement of relations between Armenia and Turkey. What effect can this phone call have in the context of the settlement of Armenian-Turkish relations?

- This phone call should also be considered in the current process between Armenia and Turkey. This phone call is familiar too, because last year, at the same time, there was a phone conversation between the leaders of the two countries in connection with the Kurban Bayram and Vardavar holidays. We can see this as part of the series of processes that have been taking place in the relations between the two countries in recent years, particularly since 2021. Here, I can refer to the thesis of regulating relations in the presence of political will, noting that, indeed, in the presence of political will, and this primarily concerns Turkey, relations can be regulated because it was not Armenia that closed the border. It is not Armenia that speaks the language of preconditions. This phone call will hardly impact the normalization of Armenian-Turkish relations because, starting in 2021, there were processes, meetings, and agreements reached that the Turkish side needed to fulfill. Therefore, I would take a general approach to this phone call without high expectations.

- Once again, the two countries' leaders stressed the need to continue the process without preconditions. Is it essential for Turkey to regulate relations with Armenia and open the border?

- 2021 is another time when the leaders of Armenia and Turkey talk about normalizing relations without preconditions. Since its independence, Armenia has constantly discussed the organization of relations with Turkey without preconditions. It was ready, and it is still prepared today. We are talking about Turkey here because Turkey has always presented preconditions. Although today, the leadership of Turkey in various circles, including the country's president, is talking about a process without preconditions, this is different. There are prerequisites. Turkey continues its pressure policy through preconditions. At this stage, the regulation of relations with Armenia and opening borders are less significant for Turkey because otherwise, we would see the opposite process.

- What do you think? Will Turkey continue to link relations with Armenia with the normalization of Armenian-Azerbaijani relations, or is it possible at some point to take a step to regulate forward, and Armenia-Turkey relations will be regulated without the Azerbaijani factor?

- In 2021, when this new process began, Turkey immediately connected the settlement of relations with Armenia by signing a peace treaty with Azerbaijan, a new precondition related to Armenia. Here, we should understand why Turkey transformed the Nagorno-Karabakh problem into a new precondition. Turkey has important goals, primarily because it conducts an active policy in the South Caucasus. And above all, in the conditions of the changed status quo as a result of the 44-day war, it was able to ensure its presence and participation, perhaps also its influence on the events in the South Caucasus; therefore, Turkey will try to strengthen its position further. Turkey is interested in economic and strategic plans, particularly concerning communications. Based on the precondition for concluding a peace treaty with Azerbaijan, I believe the so-called "Zangezur Corridor" problem is placed because it has not left their agenda, and they are trying to keep this issue on the agenda in various ways. From this point of view, this is the main problem, so they do not normalize relations.

Theoretically, it is possible to regulate Armenian-Turkish relations without the Azerbaijani factor if Turkey finally understands in the discussions related to the corridor that it will not make progress on its own. In other words, there are positions of more considerable power on this issue, and Turkey has no other options to play here. From this point of view, Turkey may leave aside the process of regulating Armenian-Azerbaijani relations and take a step forward. However, reaching this stage in the current geopolitical situation and the context of current developments is still impossible. Turkey will continue to connect the regulation of its relations with Armenia with the Azerbaijani factor.

Hayk Magoyan