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Armenia: WikiLeaks Cables Cause Stir in Yerevan
Armenia: WikiLeaks Cables Cause Stir in Yerevan
Submitted by k_kumkova on November 30, 2010
November 30, 2010 - 1:27pm
The Armenian government and the US embassy in Yerevan are staying tight-lipped about WikiLeaks disclosures concerning US-Armenian relations. But the country’s fragmented opposition is trying to score political points with the revelations about supposed arms sales to Iran and the Nagorno-Karabakh peace talks.
Out of the hundreds of documents posted on WikiLeaks, two have grabbed the most attention among Armenian citizens.
The first is a classified 2008 letter from former US Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte to President Serzh Sargsyan about Armenia’s alleged transfer of “machine guns and rockets” to Iran in 2003. At the time, Sargsyan was Armenia’s defense minister.
“Notwithstanding the close relationship between our countries, neither the Administration nor the US Congress can overlook this case,” Negroponte allegedly wrote. “By law, the transfer of these weapons requires us to consider whether there is a basis for the imposition of US sanctions. If sanctions are imposed, penalties could include the cutoff of US assistance and certain export restrictions.”
The letter notes that Sargsyan earlier had denied the arms sales allegation, but Negroponte demands “compelling evidence” that the alleged transfers will not resume; as a means to that end, he proposes that Armenia “periodically accept unannounced visits by US experts to assess the work” of Armenian teams watching for “dual-use commodities and other contraband” at border checkpoints.
In response to the posting of the document on WikiLeaks, the US Embassy in Yerevan on November 29 issued a statement stressing that diplomatic cables “are often preliminary and incomplete expressions of foreign policy, and they should not be seen as having standing on their own or as representing US policy.”
A spokesperson for Sargsyan, meanwhile, told local media outlets that he would “refrain from commenting on another country’s internal, classified documents.”
Some members of Armenia’s opposition are not showing such restraint. Two opposition forces, the Armenian National Congress and the Heritage Party, have linked Negroponte’s warning to the 2009 elimination of the Millennium Challenge Corporation’s $67 million road construction program [6] for Armenia. At the time, concerns about how well Armenia met the program’s democratization criteria were the reason cited for the program’s curtailment. Those concerns had been stoked by the deaths of at least 10 people in clashes between police and opposition protestors after the country’s 2008 presidential elections [7].
“This … shows that, in general, US aid programs are cut not because Armenia didn’t meet democratic standards, but when it [Armenia] doesn’t serve the interests of the US,” charged Heritage Party parliamentary faction secretary Stepan Safarian.
Giro Manoian, director of the International Secretariat of the opposition Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutiun), offered a different perspective. “[T]he United States was trying to prevent the threat of arms exports,” he commented. “If they possessed more serious grounds and evidence, we wouldn’t have avoided sanctions.”
Sanctions were never imposed against Armenia; one member of the Defense Ministry’s Public Council, a group intended to enhance public scrutiny of ministry practices, contends that arms transfers to Iran are not known to have occurred.
“There has never been a single case when arms and ammunition would be exported from our country in disregard of the sanctions as provided for by the UN Security Council’s resolutions,” claimed David Jamalian, a military expert.
A cable related to Washington’s dialogue with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev that touches on the Armenian-Turkish protocols [8] and rapprochement process also attracted considerable public attention.
In a conversation with Aliyev on February 25, US Under Secretary of State Robert Burns was reported as saying in an alleged cable from the US Embassy in Baku that “progress on the Turkey-Armenia protocols could create political space [9] for Sargsyan to be more flexible on NK [Nagorno Karabakh].”
The reported comment has outraged Armenian opposition members, who have long insisted that Turkey, a key Azerbaijani ally, intended to link the 2009 protocols with the Karabakh peace process, and that such a connection was not in Armenia’s interests.
The Armenian National Committee of America, an influential diaspora group opposed to the reconciliation process, commented that “these files are a smoking-gun” that show that Turkey has pressured “American leaders against US recognition of the Armenian Genocide and in favor of a pro-Azerbaijani settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.”
The Heritage Party’s Safarian predicted undefined “domestic political developments” in connection with the cable. “The least we can do is to blame the Armenian authorities for conducting a short-sighted policy,” he said.
Editor's note:
Gayane Abrahamyan is a reporter for in Yerevan.

TURKEY: Business interests drive Ankara's rejection of Western policies
November 30, 2010
Turkey's assertive foreign policy and increasing overtures to non-Western governments -- most notably, Iran -- have led to increasing concern in the United States and Europe. But its decisions are driven more by ambition and economic aspirations than a rejection of Western policies.
As it seeks to become a regional power and a global player, Turkey is relying largely on its geopolitical advantages, economic strength and historical and cultural links with the Muslim world. Currently the 16th-largest economy in the world, it aims to be among the top 10 economies by 2023.
Opening new markets, deepening existing ones and making the most of commercial opportunities are also driving Turkish foreign policy. Turkey's economy is export-dependent, and Turkish businesses look to the government to help them with new markets. This led to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's recent decision to use Turkey's support for Iran at the U.N. Security Council to improve commercial relations between the countries, calling for a tripling of mutual trade in the next five years.
Not surprisingly, policymakers in Washington are worried that Turkey will drift toward the East and work against U.S. interests. In reality, Turkey is not going anywhere.
Turkey's current stature in the region would suffer greatly if it was perceived to have broken with Washington. Both countries need each other.
Their main problem is a communications gap. Although the United States has to adjust to the reality of Turkey under the ruling Justice and Development Party, or AKP , Ankara has to learn to deal with the United States, which, as a global power, has numerous interests in far-flung places and is not solely focused on Turkey's region. The United States must accept Turkey's domestic transformation and how that manifests itself in the bilateral relationship.
For their part, the Turks have always exhibited a primitive and conspiratorial approach to Washington, which has led them to misunderstand and misinterpret American interests. The best example of this came during the recent crisis over Turkey's and Brazil's mediation efforts on Iran's nuclear program. Ankara completely misread the Obama administration's concerns about counter-proliferation efforts, and its desire to reduce the number of nuclear weapons and sign the START agreement with Russia.
Ankara could well become more aggressive internationally, but this could cut both ways. An Erdogan who feels more secure would be more comfortable and relaxed going into next year's election, and would be less inclined to go for populist, nationalist and flamboyant policies. Exacerbating relations with Washington will not help him overall as the Turkish electorate looks for leadership that is less combative, more mature and more constructive in its foreign policy approach.
Europe would welcome this approach as well. If Turkey continues to reform, solves egregious problems and changes its domestic politics to become more tolerant and to resist authoritarian tendencies that come naturally to government and party leaders, it will be in a better position to join the European Union when the time comes. The accession process will likely take 20 years or more, but it's in Turkey's interest to start addressing these issues now.
After punching well below its weight for many years, Turkey is now punching well above its weight. Its dynamism and its willingness to engage internationally have given it a great deal of clout. It's now up to Turkey's leaders to use this clout wisely if its power is to grow in a shifting geopolitical landscape.
-- Henri J. Barkey
Photo: President Obama shakes hands with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan as Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi looks on as they prepare to pose for the "family photo" at the G-20 summit in Seoul on Nov. 12. Credit: Tim Sloan / AFP/Getty Images


30 November 2010

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said that Turkish foreign policy should not be assessed from a single frame; a comprehensive process analysis should be made.
Speaking at U.S. think-tank organization Brookings Institute, Davutoglu said that the ruling Justice & Development (AK) Party tried to strengthen democracy, adding that they took NATO and the EU as references. He noted that political restoration could not reach a success without economic restoration.

Turkey, with its new foreign policy, developed relations with all of its neighbors, said Davutoglu, and gave Turkish-Greek relations as an example. Davutoglu said that Turkey and Greece had signed only 35 agreements throughout their 87-year-old relations, but the two countries signed 22 agreements only in a single day in May, 2010.

Noting that Turkey paid the price of instability or chaos milieu in surrounding regions, Davutoglu said that it was necessary to strengthen the peace and stability in the region, thus, Turkey should pursue an active foreign policy.

We don't want sanctions, isolations, commercial and visa limitations in our region, he said.

Noting that Turkey had a foreign policy based on regional and global peace, Davutoglu said that Turkey would not be a side of any clash, but be a pawn of peace.
Upon a question, Davutoglu said that Turkey would not have any uneasiness regarding the announcement of Wikileaks documents because Turkey's foreign policy had principles, adding that Turkey was ready to open its all archives.

Regarding Iran, Davutoglu said that Turkey was against proliferation of nuclear weapons, and supported peaceful nuclear capacity. He repeated that Turkey wanted stability and peace, not sanctions, in its region. He said that Turkey was exerting efforts to defend its national interest, not Iran or any other country.

Commenting on Israeli relations, Davutoglu said that Turkey did not have any antisemitism stance throughout its history, stressing that Turkey's history was very clean in relations with Jews.

Israel, with its own policies, drew itself away from Turkey, he added.

Regarding Armenian issue, Davutoglu said that Turks and Armenians had lived in peace for centuries, and there had been no tension between the two societies neither in Anatolia nor in any other place. He added that there were Armenian ministers and ambassadors during Ottoman period.

Commenting on 1915 incidents, Davutoglu said that "a fair memory" was needed. He said that only "a short period of time" should not be taken into consideration.

Noting that Turkey signed the protocols with Armenia based on three legs, Davutoglu said that those three legs were; normalization of relations between Turkey and Armenia, normalization of relations between Turks and Armenians in all places of the world, and bringing stability to Caucasus. He added that those three legs should be implemented at the same time.

We are still defending and not give up on the protocols, he said.


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