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Interview of Turkologist Hakop Chakryan with Arminfo news agency
by Nana Martirosyan
How do you see the process of further normalizing of the Armenian-Turkish relations?
Despite the efforts of the superpowers, the Armenian-Turkish relations will not be normalized in the near future. Possible transition to the presidential system of government in Turkey will not result in changing of relations between Ankara and Yerevan. In the situation when there are the protesting Kurds in the country, problems with Iran, which said that in case of intervention, Iran will be the first to attack Turkey, and tense relations with Syria, the Turkish authorities will hardly manage to make the needed reforms for transition to the presidential system of government. However, even if the referendum is held, no special change will happen in the Armenian-Turkish relations, as this issue enters the field of the state strategy and is not conditioned by the person of the president or the party
presented by him. One should not wait for any progress in the process of normalization of the Armenian-Turkish relations or ratification of the bilateral protocols. Despite the efforts of the superpowers, Ankara is not ready to that. As for activation of clashes between the Kurds and the Turks, numerous Armenians (50 thsd) living in Turkey will not suffer as a result of the conflict, as they are not dangerous for the Turks or the Kurds. At present there is not an Armenian community in Turkey as such, since Armenians of Turkey are not consolidated.
How can an unfriendly policy of Turkey affect the Armenian community of Turkey?
At present the Armenian community is not a threat for the Turkish authorities. The situation would differ if it would be numerous and a serious factor just the same way, as, for instance, the Kurds, which today are about ¼ of the population of Turkey. Today, there is not an Armenian community as such and it is not consolidated. The Constantinople patriarchy of the Armenian Apostolic Church has been resolving miserable problems…In such conditions Turkish authorities do not need neutralizing of the Armenian community.
What policy should Armenia conduct regarding traditional community of Syria that is in danger at present?
As regards official Yerevan's position on the situation in Syria, Armenia's decision to keep neutrality is correct. The Armenian community of Syria should also keep neutrality. The Armenian community should not support any of the conflicting parties, as it will suffer losses in any case. It is more reasonable to preserve the Armenian community in Syria than to organize their repatriation, as at the moment the socio-economic situation in Armenia and the permanent outflow of the population do not allow the Armenian authorities to put up a big number of refugees.
How can Armenian authorities help Syrian Armenians?
The Armenian authorities should make Mikhail Bagdasarov set stable and affordable prices for Armavia's flights from Syria to Armenia. The tickets for the flights from Beirut to Istanbul cost 150-180 USD, while those for the flights from Beirut to Yerevan cost nearly $800, though the distance is almost similar. They make advantage of the situation and they have raised the prices dishonestly. They are robbing the people, who have already suffered, and the authorities of Armenia should respond to this immediately. Most representatives of the Armenian community are not going to leave Syria, however, those who have decided to take that step and come across such an attitude of Armavia, lose any desire to live in Armenia. The people mostly come to Armenia to further leave for the United States.