What’s the Protocol on these Protocols?

What’s the Protocol on these Protocols?

These “protocols” which the Armenians and Turks – or rather, to which the governments of Armenia and Turkey – have drafted have caused considerable backlash, nationalist or otherwise. For Armenians, two main concerns are a possible, formally-written surrender to any territorial claims on Turkey – something which the Republic of Armenia never overtly had in the first place – and, of course, the possibility of a “historical commission” that would look into and perhaps obscure or gloss over the Armenian Genocide.

The situation, in my opinion, boils down to a few complementary phenomena, namely a lack of trust between the Armenian and Turkish peoples, and a tenuous relationship between the Armenian and Turkish governments, added to which is the question of the legitimacy of the government in Yerevan itself, both for the people in Armenia and in the wider Diaspora. The scenario is suspect to say the least.

But then, what is the alternative? It would be great to reclaim the historically-Armenian parts of Turkey, but the only way to achieve that given our current circumstances would be to invade. Clearly out of the question. What’s bothersome is how an open border and the exchange of embassies are not only normal expectations from sovereign states, but both Turkey and Armenia are signatories to international conventions that place the responsibility on them for doing so. I’m not even sure about the legality of these “protocols”. Why do the parliaments have to ratify them again…?

What would be a favourable situation? Surely, for everyone in the region, the end would be a mutually-respectful Turkey and Armenia, getting along reasonably well, open borders, open for business and, yes, with adequate recognition of the Armenian heritage in Turkey, especially by the people of Turkey itself. Throw in something similar with Azerbaijan and everybody’s happy.

That’s hard to dispute, but how exactly to go about it? I’m not sure of those details, and maybe we’re all being very irrationally reactionary, but these “protocols” don’t feel like they’re it. Dates to watch out for: the run-up to October, to the 14th especially, the run-up to the new year, and to the 24th of April, 2010. I believe the ball is mostly in Ankara’s court.