EXPERT: BUILDING NEW RELATIONSHIP WITH ARMENIA MEANS CHANGING RELATIONS WITH ALL SOUTH CAUCASUS

ARKA
Apr 30, 2009

YEREVAN, April 30. /ARKA/. Turkey changes its relations with all of
the South Caucasus while building a new relationship with Armenia,
Director of Caucasus Institute Alexander Iskandaryan said.

In this respect, Armenia is becoming a key country for Turkey, he said.

Normalization of Armenia-Turkey relations is supported by the USA
and Europe, with Russia being at least not against, Iskandaryan said
Wednesday at "Caucasus-2008" international conference.

According to Iskandaryan, Turkey has taken into account the possible
reaction of Azerbaijan while starting the process of normalization
of its relations with Armenia.

Armenia-Turkey dialogue became one of the two most important events
in the South Caucasus in 2008. The other event was the war in the
South Ossetia.

"These two events are somehow interconnected," Iskandaryan said.

Both the five-day war and Armenian-Turkish dialogue were not completely
unexpected, he said.

According to Iskandaryan, after Mikhail Saakashvili's coming to power
Russian-Georgian relations became "disgusting". As to Armenian-Turkish
dialogue, the countries were taking steps even before 2008, he said.

According to the expert, the South Ossetian war showed that building-up
armaments and inviting foreign military instructors cannot help solve
the problems. The war also demonstrated th at the NATO will not come
to help, he said.

After the August 2008 events Georgia stopped being something special
to the West on the one hand, and Russia stopped considering Georgia
in the context of its relations with the South Caucasus on the other
hand, Iskandaryan said.

Georgia became something separate and specific that exists in another
paradigm, Iskandaryan said. According to him, the existing South
Caucasian situation speeded up the process of Armenia-Turkey dialogue.

The expert said that Eastern Partnership European policy opens up
certain opportunities. He called the partnership BUMAGA (first letters
of member countries - Belarus, Ukraine, Moldova, Armenia, Georgia,
and Azerbaijan) ("bumaga" is also the Russian word for "paper").

"It is BUMAGA where nothing has been written yet, and we can make
notes there ourselves," Iskandaryan said.