U.S. expects “more propitious time” for Armenia-Turkey agenda
Published: Monday October 18, 2010
Washington - Washington remains committed to normalization of relations between Armenia and Turkey but is also waiting for more "propitious time" to revisit that agenda, a senior U.S. official indicated.
In response to a question from The Armenian Reporter if the Armenia-Turkey relations have lost their urgency for the United States, Assistant Secretary of State Philip Gordon indicated in so many words that they have.
"On Turkey-Armenia we remain committed to the process of normalization," Mr. Gordon said in his October 18 talk at Johns Hopkins University. "We want to see both countries ratify and implement the protocols."
He added, "that hasn't happened and we regret that, but the protocols continue to exist, they were signed. May be we can find more propitious time to revisit this agenda."
U.S. became actively involved in Armenia-Turkey talks as the new Administration came into office with strong pledges by Barack Obama to recognize the Armenian Genocide and as congressional leadership appeared poised to move a resolution recognizing the Genocide forward.
At the time, Mr. Gordon and other U.S. officials called for normalization of relations to be achieved within a "reasonable timeframe" without a linkage to the Karabakh conflict.
Since President Obama backtracked on his pledge and indicated opposition to the resolution, Turkey has also backed off its earlier promises to normalize relations with Armenia by establishing diplomatic relations and lifting its embargoes.
In his October 18 remarks Mr. Gordon also indicated that U.S. "commitment" to Armenia-Turkey reconciliation proceeded in parallel with U.S. efforts to achieve a "reconciliation" between Armenia and Azerbaijan through the Karabakh peace process.
Speaking earlier it the day at the American Turkish Council's annual conference Mr. Gordon and Turkey's Undersecretary of Foreign Affairs Feridun Sinirlioglu did not touch on Armenia-Turkey relations as they discussed other pressing concerns, such as Turkey's position on U.S.-led sanctions against Iran and recent tensions with Israel.
Joining that discussion were ex-Congressman Robert Wexler and regional experts Ian Lesser and Omer Taspinar.
While Mr. Wexler sought to downplay U.S.-Turkish differences and highlight Israel's importance to Turkey, the two experts sounded less upbeat about U.S.-Turkey relations going forward.
In his comments Mr. Taspinar also referred to Turkey's failure to deliver on its promises regarding Armenia as adding to State Department's concerns about Turkey's course.