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Turkey on the Threshold of 2015

Arestakes Simavoryan / Head of the Center for Armenian Studies, “Noravank” Foundation

While Ankara is trying to handle domestic developments, preparatory works directed against the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide still remain on the agenda. What does Turkey prepare; how is it going to implement it; what proposals are made and what issues, which will be an integral part of Turkey’s policy in the next two years (or even for a longer period), are put forward? Turkey’s academic, research and political circles come out with different analytical articles and ideas on the threshold of 2015.

The viewpoints of the analysts make an impression that Turkey still needs a strategy to neutralize the activity of the Armenian side.

It should be mentioned that such strategic programmes and actions are not always public. Contrary to the concerns of Turkey connected with the “absence of strategy”, the starting point has been laid down and now one can confidently say that the powers involved in this process has initiated preparatory works.
Back in September 2011 the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkey Ahmet Davutoglu at the meeting with the Turkish diplomatic corps “secretly alerted”, ordering to be more active in hampering the activity of the Armenian Diaspora all over the world through particularly setting close relations with the Armenian Diaspora.
Many Turkish political, public and intellectual circles believe that before 2015 Turkey should cardinally change its policy of preconditions towards Armenia from establishing diplomatic relations to apologizing to Armenians. In particular, in the opinion of the analyst of the American Brookings Institute Omer Taspinar
connecting Armenian-Turkish protocols with the Karabakh issue leads to a deadlock.
While speaking about rapprochement between Armenia and Turkey before 2015, Turkish analyst Mehmet Fatih Öztarsu thinks that establishing of the political relations can put an end to all the issues and mark the victory of the Turkish diplomacy in this contradictory geographic situation. Even western futurologists believe that Turkey
will again initiate negotiations with Armenia with purpose of establishing diplomatic relation and opening borders before 2015 in spite of Azerbaijan’s discontent.
Even apologizing to the Armenians, when it is spoken about the “repent” on a state level, is considered in other dimension – «as a broader framework of a “shared tragedy,” where there is also Armenian empathy for Turkish losses». This approach is based on Ahmet Davutoglu’s “fair memory” concept and being controversial for
some representatives of Turkish intelligentsia, nevertheless, it is taken as the most acceptable in the relations with Armenia at least concerning the Genocide.
It is obvious that possible “apologizing” at a state level will regard not to the Genocide perpetrated by the Turkish state but to the so-called “humanitarian disaster”, i.e. to the consequences of the war in the Ottoman Empire which appeared on the brink of collapse. And here they mean not only a unilateral apology. In order to
substantiate our words we can bring concept of Dr. Sedat Laciner, the author of several anti-Armenian books and dozens of analytical articles, rector of the Canakkale “18th of March” University: “2015 is the 100th anniversary of the Armenian deportations and Armenians prepare seriously for it. I wonder whether the president of Armenia can
lay a rose or a carnation to the tomb of out victims if he visits Gallipoli Peninsula in March 2015. And in this case will our president or prime-minister visit Yerevan, go to the Genocide memorial and, laying a wreath, will he say that we don’t call it Genocide (underlined by us – A.S.) but we understand your pain?” Turkey will do everything
to avoid using word genocide. This is one of the points of the Turkish strategy.
Long-repeated proposals and points of view of the Turkish analysts, which have the same content, prove their directedness. Public “attempts” of the Turks directed to setting the relations with Armenia in reality are meant for the international audience and their goal is to weaken our attentiveness on the threshold of 2015.
In the struggle with the Armenians the information and propaganda means of different character and scale are offered, including the tactics of engaging foreign “scholars”. Today the foreign “scholars” also continue to closely cooperate with political and intellectual circles of Turkey and they often come out with proposals and appeals.
Professor of Massachusetts University Gunter Levi, who has been working for Turkey for ages and who has been called “Turkish agent”, urged to prepare well for 2015 which would be a serious challenge to Turkey.
The founder of the “21st Century” Turkish institute and Institute for the Armenian Studies under the Eurasian Center for Strategic Studies, which was working back in 2000 (ASAM), Umit Ozdal, who has been dealing with the Armenian theme and information security for many years, considers all the actions on efficient dissemination of the Turkish postulates aboard carried out till now insufficient. He proposes to prepare foreign young “scholars” and celebrated “historians” who will protect the interests of Turkey in the target-countries, such as US, Great Britain,
France, Spain, Latin America, Lithuania, Germany, China and Japan. In the future these “scholars” will have an opportunity to publish pro-Turkish “academic” works in dozens of languages and further establishment of Turkish research institutes in the aforementioned countries. We believe that the generation of foreign falsifier “historians” is becoming old and the issue of the alternation of the generation has become urgent. Such ideas as making anti-Armenian films, putting on shows, holding other cultural event as well we establishment of new analytical center dealing with the Armenian question have been put into circulation.
The efforts in this direction are augmented by the both Turkish and foreign “think tanks” funded by Turkey.
Many countries, having big experience in using the knowledge of these organizations and activity of individuals who have influence in the state structures and who constitute part of their “Diaspora”, managed to establish their target analytical centers abroad. In this aspect, the most active after Israel, are Turkey and Azerbaijan, which
consider their “think tanks” in the US and Great Britain as an alternative “diplomatic corps” or lobbyist groups, in a activity of which first of all specialists who works in the country’s leading higher educational establishments and “think tanks” are involved. Such centers are Center for Strategic Research and Analysis (CESRAN) in Great Britain and The Rethink Institut and he Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research (SETA) in the US.
The activity of the Center for Lobbyist Researches which has its branches in Istanbul and Washington should be mentioned. Recently this center has elaborated new strategy – mobilization of the lobbyist activity in the Turkish society, which main goal is to send protests to the presidents, ministers, state officials of different countries, wellknown media holdings, international mass media and online media, Turkish ambassadors and consuls as well as carrying out non-public actions. And the movement which is called “national mobilization” should serve the
interests of Azerbaijan in the NKR issue.
The attempt will be made to consolidate those circles of the so-called Turkish and Azerbaijani “Diaspora” which will be able to work actively on the one hand against Armenia and on the other hand against Diaspora. The work in this direction is already being carried out.
New anti-Armenian manifestations can be expected on the threshold of 2015 in consequence of the activity of the Turkish and Azerbaijani trade unions and NGOs established in Europe. Thus, anti-Armenian moods are taken
from the territory of Turkey to Europe, US, Latin America, where works are also carried out.
It is remarkable that in regard to the Genocide issue the Turkic speaking countries have abstained from joining joint Turkish-Azerbaijani actions at the pan-Turkic forums and conferences till now. Nevertheless, today the Turkish-Azerbaijani tandem tends to involve them too.
“World Turkic Forum” held the 1st meeting of “Wise Persons Board” the participants of which alongside with other issues discussed the necessity of opposing Armenians in 2015. Thought the representatives of the Central Asian Turkic-speaking countries have been more interested in humanitarian, cultural and economic aspects of these
meeting, nevertheless they involuntarily appeared under the pressure and were indirectly involved in the actions of Turkey and Azerbaijan.
According to some points of view, some provocations and aggressive actions are not excluded either. In particular, the representative of Turkish intelligentsia who writes critical articles for “Taraf” newspaper Alper Germus expressed an opinion in connection with assaults against the Armenians in Samatia district of Istanbul
saying that the assaults against the Armenians were direct in consequence of “anti-missionary” movement which had been initiated in early 2000s in Turkey, which could be considered as a purposeful actions directed to the intimidation of the Armenians on the threshold of 2015.
Recently the so-called “International Association against Unfounded Armenian Allegations” (ASIMDER) and different Turkish ultra-nationalist powers have been speculating on the “New ASALA”, which has been made up by themselves, and possible “terrorist acts of the Armenians”.
Summing up, we would like to mention that there are adherents of both soft and tough policies in the Turkish academic and analytical and political circles and they discuss the ways of opposing to the Armenians. The measures taken by Turkey on the threshold of 2015 may differ from the aforementioned ones, but, one way or another, some of their components can constitute a part of general and more large-scale actions.
– See more at: http://nt.am/en/news/183813/#1078766
LOUSSAPATZ 993 2013-07-20.pdf

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