By Edmond Y. Azadian
Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is angry again. He is rather furious this time around at Armenia’s president, Serge Sargisian. Many people believe that Erdogan is a master politician. But when his actions are analyzed, we find that, in fact, he is simply a juggler who can dramatize political situations to attain his goals.
Mr. Erdogan is angry because of a statement made by Armenia’s president during the youth Olympics in Armenia, answering a young man’s question regarding when can we liberate Western Armenia, including Ararat.
President Sargisian’s answer was extremely diplomatic, perhaps that further infuriated Mr. Erdogan that he could not catch Armenia’s president red-handed. In answering the youth, he said (translated verbatim): “That depends on you and your generation. Our generation defended Karabagh against its enemies.”
That statement has been distorted by Erdogan himself, the Turkish leadership and the sensationalist Turkish press, and it has been reduced into a more interesting sound bite that “we liberated Karabagh and your generation has to liberate Western Armenia and Ararat.” President Sargisian’s words may indeed have meant that, but diplomacy required a more tactful approach, which Armenia’s president exercised.
The way the Turkish side dramatized and orchestrated the issue, driving it to the brink of a crisis, is indicative that Mr. Erdogan’s manufactured “anger” was long in waiting, to trigger a diplomatic showdown to embarrass Armenia. But the Turkish prime minister’s bluff doesn’t always work and it didn’t this time around.