Books on Armenia
Update No: 333 - (25/09/08)
The conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia began in 1988 due
to Armenian territorial claims against Azerbaijan.
Since 1992, Armenian Armed Forces have occupied 20 percent of Azerbaijan
including the Nagorno-Karabakh region and its seven surrounding districts. Some
10 percent of the Azeri population was displaced due to a series of bloody
clashes both between and within the two neighbouring countries.
In 1994, Azerbaijan and Armenia signed a ceasefire agreement at which time the
active hostilities ended. The Co-Chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group are currently
holding peaceful negotiations.
Turkey brings together Armenia and Azerbaijan in historic meeting
Something more direct is required to resolve the issue. The Turks have come up
with what may be an answer.
Turkish President Abdullah Gul and Foreign Minister Ali Babacan arrived in the
U.S. on September 19 to attend the United Nations summit in New York. Turkey
also will push for its bid for a non-permanent seat on the United Nations
Security Council ahead of the voting in October.
A new chill in East-West relations overhung the U.N. General Assembly gathering
of world leaders, the first major international meeting since Russia-Georgia in
August. The financial turmoil on Wall Street also cast a pall over the annual
week of speechifying, whose main theme this year was stepping up aid to
But for Turkey the most important aim was to bring Armenian and Azerbaijani top
diplomats together on the same table, with the hope of taking a step towards the
solution of the conflicts between them. Babacan met with his Azerbaijani and
Armenian counterparts in New York on September 25 and 26 respectively on the
sidelines of the UN summit.
The ministers met both bilaterally and trilaterally mainly to discuss settlement
of the Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict.
Armenia gives the signal
Armenia’s foreign minister Edward Nalbandian sounded optimistic about the
prospects of a solution in the long-running dispute between Armenia and
Azerbaijan, saying that such a solution would open up new possibilities for
regional cooperation in a press conference.
Turkey has suggested setting up a commission between the two countries, and
Yerevan prefers diplomatic relations first
Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan said it would be better to form diplomatic
relations between Turkey and Armenia prior to the establishment of any
"I generally said that I was not against the establishment of commissions
between the two countries... First, let our joint border be opened and
diplomatic relations constituted, then we can establish commissions,
sub-commissions and sub-sub-commissions for any issue," Milliyet News
quoted Sargsyan as saying.
But, but, but what about that genocide?
Turkey is among the first countries that recognized Armenia when it declared its
independence in the early 1990s. However there are no diplomatic relations
between the two countries, as Armenia presses the international community to
admit the so-called "genocide" claims, instead of accepting Turkey's
call to investigate the allegations, and Armenia’s invasion of 20 percent of
Azerbaijani territory despite UN Security Council resolutions on the issue.
In 2005, Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan took a first step towards
resolving the genocide issue by proposing that a joint commission of historians
launch an investigation and publish their conclusions, but that seemingly
reasonable proposal was rejected by Yerevan.
The decisions taken by the commissions are also not determining, and would only
make recommendations for decision takers and governments, Sargsyan said and was
reminded about similar commissions formed by U.S. efforts in the past
"In fact, if you remember a similar commission to this was formed in the
past with the efforts of the United States, and this commission concluded a
'genocide had taken place'. What happened then? Has something changed? Did
anybody accept it? No. Nobody accepted."
Armenia, with the backing of the diaspora, claims up to 1.5 million of their kin
were slaughtered in orchestrated killings in 1915. Turkey rejects the claims,
saying that 300,000 Armenians along with at least as many Turks died in civil
strife that emerged when Armenians took up arms for independence in eastern
No territorial demand from Turkey
Sargsyan also denied that they were making territorial demands from Turkey.
“I am surprised by the territorial demand claim. I do not know but it is a
common opinion. But have you ever heard an Armenian official saying, ‘we are
demanding territory from Turkey.” In no way has such a statement ever been
made,” he said.
A warmer period however began in the relations between the two neighbours after
Gul paid a landmark visit to Armenia early September to attend a World Cup
qualifying match between the countries’ national teams. Turkey hopes this
period would eventually lead to a normalization of relations.