Giro Manoyan, MP, Member of the Republican Faction Shirak Torosyan, the Chairman of the Armenian Institute of International and Security Affairs (AIISA) Styopa Safaryan participated in the discussion on “Failed Coup Attempt in Turkey and Its Consequences for Armenia” organized by The Institute for War and Peace Reporting (IWPR) and the Public Journalism Club (PJC) at Media Center on August 19.
The failed military coup in Turkey on July 15 made a deep concern in neighboring countries of the South Caucasus. Armenia is closely following the developments in Turkey, where mass arrests continue, the state of emergency persists and the country is getting closer and closer to the authoritarian regime.
The Turkish government accuses Fethullah Gülen, an Islamic religious leader in the United States, of plotting a coup, demanding his extradition. In the South Caucasian countries Gülen and his supporters made their impact, particularly in Azerbaijan, where during recent weeks all the organizations and institutions that operated with the support of Gülen are closed by the order of the official Baku.
Official Yerevan did not respond adequately during the first days of the developments in Turkey. And after July 17, due to the internal problems this issue seemed to be pushed back in a situation when there are no diplomatic relations between Armenia and Turkey, and the state border has been closed since 1993 by Turkey's initiative.
IWPR Armenia office published an article on this issue, the English version of which is available here, https://goo.gl/CsMY1B, and addressed this issue in order to determine what impact the recent developments in Turkey, Turkey-Russia rapprochement, the deterioration in the relations between Turkey and the West could have for Armenia.
The fact that Erdogan became the beneficiary of the failed coup leaves no doubt for all three speakers participating in the discussion. Giro Manoyan reminded Erdogan's words, after returning to Istanbul, "It seems that this was sent from God in order we could make the necessary cleansings." According to Manoyan, Turkey is hosting Erdogan’s coup, which is combined with the arrests and repressions.
"60 thousand people were detained, about 20 people were arrested, so there is no room in the prisons," he added.
After the failed coup attempt, Turkey will make some editing in its regional policy. According to Manoyan, it will affect the issue of Syria first of all. "The Turks have started to talk that the resolution of the Syrian issue can no longer imagine without Russia. It seems that they are ready to make some changes in their approach regarding Syria ," he said, adding that radical changes on other regional problems in Turkey's approaches should not be expected.
According to Stepan Safaryan, Turkey used to play democracy trying to deceive the West and Europe, while expanding its influence, and now the Islamic factor will be raffled taking the game to the eastern vector. "If previously Turkey had internal restraining mechanisms in its foreign policy, they were the cabinet and parliament, now, when everything is concentrated in the hands of Erdogan, Turkey is becoming more dangerous. Without internal restraints and external control Turkey is very dangerous," he said.
RPA Faction member Shirak Torosyan also agrees that Turkey is a challenge for Armenia. But he said that it is not only after this coup that Ankara should be viewed as a challenge. "Turkey's anti-Armenian stance and positions in its actions, the blockade, the explicit support to Azerbaijan in the Karabakh conflict have always been a challenge," he said.
After the failed coup attempt, a number of very important events from the perspective of regional geopolitics took place in Turkey. One after another Russian President Vladimir Putin met the Presidents of Turkey, Azerbaijan, Iran and Armenia. After such high-level meetings, the official and unofficial channels began talking about creating a format of Russia-Turkey-Iran cooperation, which can have a huge impact on the South Caucasus.
However Armenian experts are skeptical that Russia-Iran-Turkey cooperation format will be the platform for real and deeper cooperation.
"They are adopting such a unified image due to the attitude towards the West. I do not think that they will reach a strategic partnership, but they will have some cooperation, at least in the economic sphere. It will not be strategic because they have different interests in the region, lack of confidence," Giro Manoyan said.
Although, according to Safaryan, this is a collaboration "club" of those who quarreled with the West, which hardly have great potential, but Armenia should be attuned to the fact that after Russian-Turkish agreements how the policies of Turkey change in the issues of Ukraine and Syria. "If Turkey decided to make concessions in this very important issues for Russia, it would have to get something in return. It is possible that Russia’s concession would be in the South Caucasus. Therefore, Armenia should be very attentive towards the developments of these events,'' he said.
Arshaluys Mghdesyan, editor/events coordinator at “Media Center”
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