This was not a compromise, this was what Turkey wanted, to have a historical commission to open the border and to have diplomatic relations with Armenia should not be a compromise for Turkey. Turkey should be self-confident in my opinion to basically say that this is the right thing to do. By the way, if Turkey has concerns about whether Armenia respects Turkey’s territorial integrity, which is also something that was mentioned in the Turkish concern about the Armenia constitutional court’s decision because it refers to the Armenian constitution which apparently talks at one point about Western Armenia and Turks consider this as basically a way of saying that Armenia does not recognize the treaty of 1921, I think. Then they have territorial ambitions. Well the protocols itself indicate that the two countries confirm the mutual recognition of existing borders and they confirm the territorial integrity of the two countries. So in my opinion, if Turkey had the self-confidence to go ahead and to say, forget what the Armenian constitutional court is talking about. At the end of the day, they give the green light. And forget about basically our concerns about whether they have territorial ambitions, etcetera. The protocols are very clear, let’s start with the protocols and let’s see this as a process, something that will create leverage for Turkey over Armenia down the line, which is something that could be helpful for Azerbaijan too because if Turkey opens the border, if Turkey has more trade with Armenia, one can only think that this will strengthen Turkey’s negotiation and Turkey’s hand in terms of its leverage with Armenia if we could, if the president, if the prime minister of Turkey Erdogan could put a positive dimension to what needs to be done, I think the political will will be there, but right now it’s missing. Right now we don’t have the political will and to look at this just from the angle of collective memory, psychology, would not be enough but I’m afraid I’m pessimistic about what could happen because of the political season in Turkey, because of the dynamics that I just outlined and I’m also concerned that there are limits to Armenia’s patience. Sargsyan has already compromised on a big issue and they’re awaiting a response from Turkey. They’re awaiting a response from Turkey. They’re… In the next few months, there has to be a strong signal coming from Turkey that either the protocols will be ratified or that Turkey, because of the domestic situation in the country will not be able to ratify them and will have to freeze the process only to reopen it after the elections. That, I’m not sure if that will be enough in terms of maintaining life for the process, having basically enough momentum for the process to continue, but something needs to be reiterated from the Turkish leadership, otherwise, we may come very close to the end of this process and we may end up with a situation worse than where we started. I’ll just stop here and be happy to take questions.
Interviewer: Okay, I would like to start with the first question. If the, you know with the Kurdish initiative, the Kurdish opening, Turkish national identity is being questioned again and do you think if, that while you partly answered my question but do you think if the timing was different, the timing of the Armenian approach, do you think the outcome would be different?
Interviewee: The answer is yes, I think had AK Party did not lost so much political nationalist capital because of the Kurdish opening, it could have been stronger at home. There are too many openings that AK party has engaged in, the Cyprus opening which caused them votes because it led to nowhere. The Kurdish opening which caused them votes because it led to nowhere. Now Armenia which is causing them basically problems. They need a victory, they need to show that one of their openings leads to positive results. On Cyprus they’re unable to show positive results, it’s blocking basically relations with the European union, the presence of Cyprus in the EU is blocking that. So there is reference talking point to always, well we did the right thing with the plan and the Greeks [IB] opposed it, therefore, we’re the victim now and that’s not gonna win any point for AK party because AK party is perceived as the country that the [IB] compromise without getting much in return. Although, I would disagree because Turkey actually began access and negotiations thanks to this compromise on Cyprus. So Turkey got something in return but it’s very difficult to translate this into a political victory at home. On the Kurdish question, I think the timing was unfortunate. I mean, the fact that the Kurdish opening ended with the constitutional court deciding to ban the Kurdish party in Turkey and this failure of the opening and now AK party retreating from some of its original narrative, at least, is also unfortunate and the Armenian opening, the decision to basically link it to Nagorno-Karabakh, Azerbaijan also showed that Erdogan does not feel strong enough in Turkey in terms of the nationalist base of the party. Let’s not forget what the AK party is. I mean people, liberal intellectuals such as myself support AK party but sometimes we forget that this is a political party that has a very strong nationalist base. The Turkish Islamic synthesis is what defines AK party. Yes, it’s a political party that has a strong Islamic route pedigree, but it had, it is a political party that also has a very strong nationalist base. So it’s very difficult for a political party like AK party to basically compromise on so many issues simultaneously on Cyprus, on the Kurdish question on Armenia. There comes a point where they are really face to face with the nationalist base which is saying, “Wait a minute, we’re losing votes. We’re losing the strong hold in central Anatolia. MHP is gaining ground, we’ve been in power for seven years.” So there are limits to what a Turkish Islamic synthesis-oriented party can do in terms of these very difficult issues.