Interviewer: But wasn’t the whole issue of tying the whole Armenian Turkey [IB] to Azerbaijan wasn’t just, wasn’t it part of the domestic political calculation? I mean it wasn’t your political decisions, it wasn’t as…
Interviewee: Look, there are ways to spend this. I mean if I was a Turkish, if I were a Turkish diplomat, I would say, look at the protocols and first to regional peace stability, so of course. As the ambassador said, of course Nagorno-Karabakh should be part of this. Of course we didn’t, one needs not mention that Nagorno-Karabakh should be even part of this because our relations with Armenia are very difficult to imagine, to contemplate without the whole Caucuses dimensions. So one can easily spin this and say, of course it’s part of John’s strategy etcetera. What I’m arguing is that beyond John’s strategical argument, beyond this kind of element that would make Turkey look better in terms of pursuing a more visionary policy than it is, the reality of Turkish politics is that AK party has lost a lot of votes because of this opening and because of the Kurdish opening and they’re not able to really afford this kind of openings at the time when unemployment is high in Turkey, the economic situation is not, they’ve been in power for so long and the opposition seem to be gaining ground especially if there is a CHP, MHP coalition, they can establish basically a political government and AK party can be the opposition party. This is a nightmare scenario for AK party and they really calculate this extra 5% or 2% or 3% they can get by being tough on these issues because this is the vote that could otherwise go for MHP.
Interviewer: Actually we were saying the same thing. So adding Azerbaijan to the whole equation, it was basically to fight to get the MHP votes, to get the nationalist votes, wasn’t it?
Interviewee: I think so. I mean of course there’s a strong Azeri [IB] in Turkey and there are people who really think that this should be, that’s why I was saying Azerbaijan should be genuinely part of this process and they genuinely believe that. But had there been political leadership which would have said, “Look, my relations with Armenia and my relations with the United States by the way are more important than just these nationalist votes. I can always basically afford to explain this to my Azeri brothers and to convince them that what we are doing is good for [IB].” Because Erdogan could have easily decided that actually Nagorno-Karabakh has been a problem for the 13, 14 years. Nothing has changed, Turkey has closed the border and we have seen that in the last 15 years, nothing has changed, time to try something new. We will increase our leverage over Armenia and you will see. Maybe now they are reluctant but in one year, I will give you guarantee that they will actually change their position and we will make sure to our partners in the United States through our leverage with Armenia that they change their position. For that to happen however, I need to have diplomatic relations with Armenia. This could have been a different kind of political leadership, in my opinion more states man like position because to try something new over what has not worked for the last 15 years, he has not done that. Instead, he immediately said, “Nagorno-Karabakh is part of the problem” because he sensed that this is something that could potentially cost votes in the ballot box.