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Turkey-Armenia relations - Bilateral and regional perspectives and challenges - Roundtable

Thursday, 20 June 2013

Since the Turkish-Armenia border closed in 1993, Armenia and Turkey have had no formal diplomatic relations.  In 2008, a process of rapprochement was launched which culminated in the signing of two Protocols normalising relations.  While both presidents took risks, unfortunately the protocols were never ratified. This was principally a consequence of the decision not to attach pre-conditions, and Turkey subsequently back-tracking, linking the process to the resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan. At the same time, the January 2010 Armenian Constitutional Court ruling, declaring the protocols to be in accordance with the Armenian constitution - which sets recognition of genocide as a goal - disturbed many in Turkey which interpreted it as a precondition. The process was suspended and a historic opportunity was lost. However, track II diplomacy has been ongoing. Increased people-to-people contacts, business ties, cultural and educational initiatives are playing a key role in opening the minds of both societies, helping prepare the ground for the day when another opportunity to normalise relations arises.

This roundtable discussion, organised in cooperation with TUSKON, looked at the status quo on Turkey and Armenia and the broader region, prospects for attempts at normalisation and what shape that might take, and the work being carried out by civil society.

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