By Hagop Vartivarian
Despite the fact that the protocols signed by Armenian and Turkey gave rise to quite a bit of commotion, particularly in segments of the diaspora with heavy concentrations of Armenians, the political organizations in Armenia, and particularly the main opposition group led by former President Levon Ter-Petrosian, did not react with total negativity to this initiative of the Armenian government. This was especially true when Armenian foreign minister Eduard Nalbandian and his Turkish counterpart Ahmet Davutoglu signed the initial agreements in Switzerland under the watchful eyes of the world’s major powers: Russia, the United States and the European Union.
It is already the beginning of March, and Armenia’s Constitutional Court has declared the Protocols to be valid, not finding anything therein to be unconstitutional. Now they are being reviewed in the National Assembly. However, the same didn’t happen in Turkey’s case. The freeze in relations between Turkey and Azerbaijan, as well as the importance of the resolution of the Karabagh conflict to Baku, put Turkey in a difficult position, inasmuch as those protocols had been signed without preconditions.
Once again, Turkey has begun to face an internal crisis, whereby the military personnel, who have always been the main force to ensure the country’s political balance, are being called one by one for questioning by the current authorities and judicial bodies. As it is, the Protocols signed on October 10, 2009 have begun to be questioned. The government that has been the architect of Turkey’s foreign policy has deviated from the secular political principles that had been applied for decades and has begun to develop good relations with neighboring Muslim (especially Iran) and Arab countries (Syria). On the one hand, Turkey is ignoring its traditionally strong military and economic ties with Israel and, on the other hand, more alarmingly, its ties with the West, when such important military structures exist on Turkish soil. This shift in policy will facilitate not only the advance of Russia but also the spread of the extremist Islamic movement.
In light of all this, Turkey finds itself at a critical juncture in its history: should she continue the policy adopted in recent years, or return to her traditional policy of fostering pro-Western relations?
In all probability, it will be difficult for Turkey to remove herself from the influence of the military. In the past too, various Turkish governments were obliged to submit to the military.