Turkey and Armenia Accord: Signed but not Sealed

Posted on 15 October 2009

As some of you will know Turkey and Armenia signed the accords that have been worked so hard on over the last few months. The accords will see relations normalised between the pair, the border reopened, and potentially even trade between the two further down the line.

There is still a hurdle to this though: as yet the deal must still be ratified by both parliaments, and this carries problems.

On one side: Armenia’s Diaspora, who were forced out of their country by Ottoman troops, and others inside Armenia think that Turkey should acknowledge that this was genocide. Turkey is unwilling to do this because people died on both sides.

On the other, Turkey’s parliament will be unable to ratify the accords unless significant progress can be made in the peace process between Armenia and Turkey allied Azerbaijan.

Turkey’s problem is perhaps the lesser of the two. Armenia and Azerbaijan are scheduled to meet in the near future, and Turkey, who will want to ratify the accord with Armenia to push its EU bid forward, is its own judge of what significant progress is — possibly the meeting itself will be deemed significant progress sufficient to allow ratification of the accord with Armenia.

Turkey really wants to join the EU, it has been a long hard slog (over 20 years since it was first mentioned for Turkey to join the EU) to get as far as they have. Turkey’s poor relations with its various neighbours have been a cloud hanging over its EU bid.

This cloud has all but been blown away by the current administration, which now has only Greece to make peace with. That is the same Greece that has just elected a centre-left government, which may or may not make peace-making easier for Turkey.

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