Aydin Sezer: “Citizens of Armenia seek for opportunities to work in Turkey”
The former president of Armenia Robert Kocharyan said in his interview to Vladimir Pozner that the biggest threat for Armenia came from Turkey. Vestnik Kavkaza talked to Turkish political scientist and economist Aydin Sezer about a reaction of Turkey to such nationalist statements by Armenian politicians and prospects of normalization of Armenian-Turkish relations.
- Do you think that Robert Kocharyan’s statements about Turkey’s threat to Armenia have grounds?
- During his presidency in 1998-2008 in Armenia, unlike his predecessor Levon Ter-Petrosyan and his successor Serzh Sargsyan who implemented a relatively soft policy toward Turkey, Kocharyan followed a stricter position. Kocharyan pursues the policy of classic hostility. He is close to Russia however Russia wants peace in the South Caucasus. Kocharyan must review his hostile views on Turkey.
- Can the Armenian-Turkish relations normalize while nationalist elements are becoming popular in Armenia again?
- Of course, they can’t. Unfortunately, due to influence of the Diaspora and nationalists, many citizens of Armenia perceive their ethnic identity through hostility toward Turkey. Today, we can see attempts to preserve the dangerous tendency in the Armenian society. Due to this hostility, many have built their political career in Armenia; and it is the biggest obstacle on the way toward peaceful relations with Turkey. However, I would like to say that such radical nationalist movements are typical not only for Armenia. Turkey also has elements similar to Kocharyan, who are not happy with opening of the border with Armenia and don’t want peace.
- What prospects for Armenia do you see today?
- There is a good opportunity to build peace in the region after the Second Karabakh War. Turkey broke up with Armenia because its army occupied Azerbaijan’s districts. Now, the problem is out of agenda. I think if relations are going to improve today, Turkey can greatly contribute to solving problems in the South Caucasus, including Nagorno-Karabakh. Probably, Turkey will be the major guarantor of peace between Azerbaijan and Armenia. Robert Kocharyan worries about the fact that Turkey allegedly wants to turn Armenia into Adjaria [which is Turkey’s colony, according to the former president]. It’s a primitive approach.
- What can be benefits for Yerevan from opening of Nakhichevan transport corridor?
- For sure, opening of Nakhichevan-Azerbaijan corridor will be an important event for all countries of the region. At the moment, these processes will be under control of Russia but in case of normalization of the Armenian-Turkish relations necessity of Russian control over the corridor will decline. It’s interesting that about 60 thousand citizens of Armenia illegally seek for a way to work in Turkey. Thus, economically, Armenia needs the corridor and peace more than Turkey.