Interviewer: Well thank you. Omer doesn’t need an introduction but I would be completely useless if I didn’t.
Interviewee: That’s my line.
Interviewer: He’s the director of the Turkey program at the Bookings Institution and he’s a professor of national security strategy at the US National War College. And he will talk about Armenia-Turkey relations and the future of the relations and I would like to give a very brief introduction. For as many of you know for a decade and a half, the bilateral relations between Turkey and Armenia have been strained by disagreements about issues including how to address a common past and compensate for crimes and territorial disputes and Armenian occupation of Azerbaijani land. But recently, starting from 2008 and actually intense official engagement, civil society interactions and public opinion change have transformed the bilateral relations bringing both sides on the brink of a historical agreement to open borders and start diplomatic relations. In October 2009, an agreement, an accord between the two countries who are signed to start the diplomatic relations and open borders but recently, things unfortunately got complicated and the process which was considered, which raised hopes on both sides reached almost a dead end by the genocide resolution and then the Turkish prime minister Erdogan hinting at deporting Armenian illegal workers. So Omer will take over, so what’s next?
Interviewee: [Chuckles] If only I knew. Thank you, Gonul. Thank you all for coming, thank you to Rumiform as well for hosting this. What I’d like to do in the next 30 minutes and then hopefully we can have a Q & A, is to talk about the background of what’s going on, of why are we here, the risks involved in the current situation, to try to give you a kind of Turkish political context overview, something that I’m more familiar with than the Armenian side, but to try to understand why are we at this point now. And when I say the risks, the risk I’m referring to is the risk of raised expectations because now I think if we end up with failure and failure can be defined as failure to ratify to protocols, I think we will be at a point where there will be so much frustrations, so much lost hope that we may be really at a more negative point than where we started this reconciliation process. So in that sense, we are in this critical time and what’s gonna happen next, probably in the next year or so will be vitally important in terms of Turkish-Armenian relations. Before I start about analyzing the background, let me give you a concept that I try to explain in an article that I wrote for today’s [IB] that I work for [IB]. The day after the protocols were signed in Zurich and I’ll try to go over this because I think it does a good job in terms of explaining what I really want you to understand, this concept of two traumatized nations. We’re dealing with essentially two historical traumas here. On the one hand you have the trauma of a country, the Turkish republic that carries the Ottoman legacy.