Tevan Poghosyan

Aug 2, 2011

Some may remember the joke about the trade-offs to get stuff: three
people talk about how they get things, and the first two start
a lengthy story about what that had to trade off for one or the
other achievement. The third suddenly feels inspired with the honest
conversation and confesses that stuff has happened to him, but only
twice, and as a matter of fact, all he got was pleasure (hey, guys,
as we're shooting straight...). In fact, this is a little fun story
about how one misinterprets the game the others play, adopts the
street jargon and decides that he can also participate, thus messing
up the whole show and embarrassing himself.

Ilham Aliyev recently appeared in a similar situation, when he felt
inspired and decided to catch up with his elder brother. A quote from
the President of Azerbaijan during the joint press conference with
the Prime Minister of Turkey in Baku: "This proves that something is
missing in the heads of these people" (aka Armenians - T.P.)

I'm not surprised when the Turkish diplomacy starts a large-scale
hysteria over a made-up story: eventually the Protocols are not
ratified. The documents are a bone stuck in the throat of Turkey,
and it is unable to either swallow it or spit it out.

I'm not surprised when the Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan asks for an
apology from Armenia for a groundless accusation, and when the deputy
prime minister Bulent Arınc tells Armenians "Come to your senses".

Many are aware of the vulgar and uncivilized diplomatic discourse of
Turkey, and I'm certain that these statements will still be addressed
by the Armenian side at a right moment and in the right format.

I'm not surprised that the President Gul has not joined this fake
Turkish-Azerbaijani campaign and has not made any statement regarding
this incident. I believe he won't make any statements in the future
as well.

What I'm really surprised at is the behavior of Ilham Aliyev who
was inspired by the street slang of the Turkish leaders. Without
understanding the logic of the means of expression of the Turkish
diplomacy, and without realizing that even in their uncivilized
discourse the Turkish leaders do not cross the line, the Azerbaijani
President blurts,"this proves that something is missing in the heads
of these people", as if trying not to be left out of the conversation,
or perhaps feeling secure next to the elderly brother. He basically
insults a whole nation.

This is a brave behavior indeed. I have nothing else to add. I just
wonder: was it for pleasure at least?

Still, pleasure or not, some questions are in the air. Will the sides
involved in the regulation the conflict, the co-chairs remain silent
when a whole nation has been insulted?

Will the leaders of the European community keep silent when they are
perfectly aware that hurting national dignity does not contribute
to peace-building in any way? Such actions actually waste all the
efforts hundreds of organizations in the region have been investing
in establishing peace for years, and in many cases these efforts have
been financed by the European taxpayers.

Will Turkey remain silent? Turkey, which though involuntarily,
has provided its Prime Minister as a background for the Azerbaijani
President to label nations during a joint press conference.

These are important questions which will bring about even sharper
ones if no answers are provided.

Tevan Poghosyan is the Executive Director of International Center
for Human Development (ICHD). These views are his own.