The crisis over Armenia’s Nemesis Monument and a post-election Turkey
All eyes are on May 14th. Greece, our neighboring country waiting with bated breath, is also closely watching the elections in Turkey, just like the European Union. This is also the reason for the lack of high-level visits to Erdogan from EU countries recently.
In the previous elections, you may recall that Merkel's visit was portrayed in the media as a gift from the EU to Erdogan. This time, however, there is no "gift" evident yet.
Nektaria Stamouli from Politico wrote about how Greece, which will hold its general elections on May 21st, is following the elections in Turkey.
Stamouli points out that the relationship between the two countries has "somewhat" softened after the earthquake, bringing a temporary relief to the longstanding tension. Greece hopes that if Kemal Kilicdaroglu, who is currently leading in the polls, wins the elections, a slightly warmer relationship can be established. However, it is certain that this will not happen immediately or entirely.
Greek Prime Minister Mitsotakis stated in an interview with Open TV, "Let's not fall for an illusion. Turkey's foreign policy will not change overnight."
Constantinos Filis, the Director of the International Relations Center at the American College of Greece, states that the "blue homeland" project is actually supported by the CHP (Republican People's Party) and argues that the proposed theses are expansionist policies. Filis believes that after the election, there could be a "superficially moderate" relationship with the new President, but there will be no change in the substance of the matter.
You can read their detailed analysis here.
THE AKP IS THE ONE BOTH OPENING AND CLOSING THE BORDERS
On May 14th, when Turkey is at the ballot box, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev will come together under the hosting of the President of the European Council, Charles Michel. No significant progress is expected in this meeting, which might be a preliminary gathering for the upcoming meeting between Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in June as part of the European Political Community project.
Pashinyan and his cabinet have spent the past few weeks expressing themselves regarding the Nemesis Monument, which had led Turkey to close its airspace. Both Pashinyan and Speaker of the Parliament Alen Simonyan state that the establishment Nemesis Monument in Yerevan, which commemorates Armenians who executed perpetrators of the Armenian Genocide, was a decision made by a local municipality.
RIGHT OR WRONG
They are trying to emphasize the power balance in Armenia and explain that local governments can act contrary to the central government. That is, not everyone takes orders from the Palace, as is the case in Turkey.
A debate also exists of whether the opening of the "Nemesis Monument" is right or wrong. The legality or troubling nature of the monument, which was erected in honor of those who executed the genocide perpetrators whom Turkey’s courts wanted to try after the World War, can also be argued.
Talat Pasha was to be tried in this court, but he escaped.
I believe this debate is pointless in a Turkey where perpetrators of the Armenian Genocide are praised and their names are given to streets and statues with the approval of every ruling and opposition party (excluding the Labor and Freedom Alliance). For the past 20 years, we have observed with despair that there is no mindset that will change or a consciousness with the power to affect change.
The members of the Nation Alliance are in agreement on this issue. Therefore, it is unnecessary to discuss the Nemesis Monument.
However, it is worth noting that it was the AKP that both initiated the normalization process between Turkey and Armenia and put an end to it.
I expressed my cautious approach to the process on Arti Gercek and Arti TV, both when the AKP conducted football diplomacy during Abdullah Gul's time, and now when they have reinstated the normalization process prior to the elections.
I said, "Turkey will find an excuse to leave the table" during this process.
I was proved right.
While discussing the opening of the land border to third-country nationals before the elections, suddenly they presented a 'test,' as described by the Presidential Spokesperson Ibrahim Kalin.
In their statements, Presidential Spokesperson Ibrahim Kalin and Foreign Minister Cavusoglu said, "It would be out of the question for us to ignore the 'Nemesis Monument' opened in Yerevan. In this regard, this was actually a test for Armenia."
NOT MUCH WILL CHANGE
Why is a test presented now, when there was none on April 24 for the genocide commemoration?
They are clearly trying to leave the table as they make their way out of power. Hopefully, they will not have enough time bureaucratically, and will have to hand over the matter to the new President.
What will happen after May 14th remains to see.
However, Kilicdaroglu’s remarks about the 'Aegean islands,' the celebrations of the Turkish people's path, and moves like Shusha 'gaining independence,' can be taken to mean that not much will actually change in foreign policy.
Besides, the new President and his team, who already have plenty of domestic matters to deal with, may not prefer such 'radical' changes in foreign policy while dealing with issues at home.
But let's ask this question at the very least: What will happen after the elections to Serdar Kilic, who currently serves as Turkey’s Special Representative in the Turkey-Armenia normalization process, but who is directly affiliated with the President to whom he refers to “reis” (“leader”), in the manner of Erdogan loyalists?
Will he change when the president changes?
As Mitsotakis said: Let's not fall for an illusion.
PS: Dear readers, this is the final article before the elections, please go to the ballot box for our future. Be on the side of change...