Armenia: the Turkish deal of President Sarkissian



It took a bit less that three years for the wish expressed in 2006 by Serge Sarkissian, at the time Defence Minister of Armenia, in the columns of the Wall Street Journal to become reality. He argued in favour of ‘establishing without any preconditions diplomatic relations and good neighbourly relations between Armenia and Turkey.’ [1] This statement was characterised by many observers as nothing more than a pious wish.  To put it mildly, it seemed utopian considering the persistent climate of mistrust and enmity which poisoned Armenian relations with Turkey during the century gone by.  Restated on 9 July 2008 in the columns of the same newspaper –‘we are ready for dialogue with Turkey’ [2] - the wish of Serge Sarkissian, who in the meantime had become President of the Republic of Armenia, finally took concrete form on 10 October.


Despite several sudden new developments at the last minute which held up the ceremony for nearly three hours,[3] the Armenian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Edward Nalbandian, and his Turkish counterpart, Ahmet Davutoglu, initialed the two sets of protocols of agreement. In the background of the photo of this ceremony we see the godfathers of this agreement, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergei Lavrov, French Minister of Foreign Affairs Bernard Kouchner[4], and the EU Secretary General and High Representative for Foreign Policy and Common Security (PESC), Javier Solana, who made the journey to Zurich to show their support for the process which was thus set in motion.


Assuming this process reaches its final objective, it may constitute an important step forward whose geopolitical consequences will not fail to be felt both regionally – opening up Armenia and possible resolution of the frozen Nagorno-Karabakh conflict – and at the international level – affecting the place, role and ambitions of Turkey at the centre of a crescent of crisis taking in not only Israel and its Arab neighbours but also a whole group of countries which today are making international news  in a rare and disturbing kind of complexity (Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India).


1)  More than a simple step forward


The two draft agreements on establishing formal diplomatic relations were made public at the end of August. The first confirms the desire of the two countries to establish good neighbourly relations and emphasizes their ‘common determination to set up a new model of relations and to sketch out a new route in search of peace in a climate of harmony and mutual understanding.’ [5] This agreement also confirms their mutual recognition of the present borders as well as the desire of Ankara and Yerevan to proceed with the reopening of the borders points. [6]


The second agreement defines three concrete measures taken in the framework of diplomatic relations between the two countries. The first of these measures provides for opening the border within sixty days of ratification of the agreements by the two national parliaments. The second defines the topics and subjects of regular consultations to be held at the level of ministers of foreign affairs: first, a dialogue on the historic dimension within a sub-committee composed of historians from the two countries[7] and secondly, discussions on developing networks and infrastructures of transportation, communication and energy. The third of these measures provides for setting up a commission tasked with overseeing the implementation of the various stages proposed.


The signing of these two agreements constitutes not only a significant step forward in the  process of reconciliation between the two countries. It is an event of crucial importance in the sense that the Turkish and Armenian authorities have agreed to honour a certain number of political and legal obligations. These agreements are not a simple exchange of declarations of principles, or a road map which just sketches the contours of a peace process. They are not just the result of a change of tone between the two countries. They attest above all to a positive change in language and attitude. The two participating parties have agreed on how to implement what has been planned and signed. These agreements contain a definite and precise calendar: the re-establishment of diplomatic relations on the basis of the Vienna Accords of 1961[8] with exchange of diplomatic missions on the date of their ratification and the opening of borders within the following two months.


The question is to know now whether these agreements will mark the start of a new stage in Armenian-Turkish relations and whether they will enter history as agreements of  ‘hope’ or those of ‘shame.’ However, we must avoid falling into excessive optimism and overestimating the significance of this event. Up to now there have been too many examples, including recent ones, of similar situations where a peace process has, at best, bogged down or, at worst, vanished. The best example is certainly the situation in the Near East which saw the spirit of Oslo[9] give way to new and violent local conflicts. Another example, which is somewhat less in the media, is that of Cyprus, where the Annan Plan,[10] named for the UN Secretary General of the time, ushered in real hopes for peace before getting stuck, more or less definitively, in the sands and to and fro movements of Cypriot politics.

This leads us to what is probably the most important element in the framework of the Turkish-Armenian rapprochement. The signing of these two accords is a new and n-th confirmation of what has become a truism – ‘never say never.’  Armenian and Turkish diplomats have just shown that old enemies can, with a bit of good will, succeed in moving along the road to peace and détente while respecting their common interests. This reconciliation is not the first of its kind.  Many other examples emerge from the recent history of Continental Europe: Greece and Bulgaria with Turkey, Poland with Ukraine and Lithuania, Russia with Germany, as well as Hungary with Romania, not to mention the Franco-German reconciliation which has transformed into exemplary European allies the two intractable enemies from the beginning of the 20th century. An historic reconciliation must allow for satisfaction of the national interests of the two parties and be viable on the political level. That is why it is important to analyse the motivations of the Turks and Armenians and to understand the logic which is driving the changes to landmarks which characterise the diplomatic approaches between these two countries.


2) Turkish pragmatism


Since 1993, the problem of the Nagorno-Karabakh has always been a major fixation in the area of Armenian-Turkish relations. With these agreements, it is interesting to confirm that the special situation of this secessionist Azerbaijani province is not touched upon or even mentioned. That demonstrates that Turkish diplomacy has its own reasons, essentially pragmatic, for setting up direct dialogue with Armenia, without going through the Baku channel.


  1. a.       Refocusing on Southern Caucasus and Near East


Turkey is seeking to prove to the international community its ability to play a role of mediator which is unavoidable and equal to that of Russia, its economic and diplomatic partner. Anticipating what they believe is coming – the more than likely non-admission to the European Union – the Turkish authorities want to refocus their diplomatic strategy on the Southern Caucasus and Near East, on the markets of that old Ottoman Empire which they are rediscovering, and which occupy a priority place in the agenda  of the great international powers. Thus, in the first instance, what they need is to offset their position as ‘great brother and favoured partner of Azerbaijan.’ This is why the two agreements may be understood as a a stage in a new diplomatic policy undertaken by Turkish Minister of Foreign Affairs Ahmet Davutoglu, who is a believer in ‘zero conflict’ on the Turkish borders.


During the last five years, Ankara achieved a considerable breakthrough in the domain of bilateral relations with Syria.[11] Let us recall that in October 1998 Turkey and Syria were on the brink of war.[12] Since the very first visit of Syrian President Bachir el Assad in January 2004, diplomats of the two countries have held many constructive discussions on managing and sharing the water of the Euphrates and on the Kurdistan independence movements.


An inevitable corollary of this refocusing has been a ‘soft blow’ to relations with Israel.[13] Recent statements by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who does not grant Turkey the right to get involved as mediator in future discussions with Syria and the cancellation by the Turkish authorities of their participation in a joint military exercise in October, show very well the malaise in Israeli-Turkish relations which came into the open several weeks ago.


Publishing in the columns of the Guardian on 26 October, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan clearly positioned his country as a ‘bridge between Europe and the Muslim world.’[14]  Reaffirming his belief in the strategic alliance with Israel, he nonetheless displayed his wish for an overture towards Iran, ‘a friendly country with which Turkey has no difficulties.’[15]


For Barry Rubin, the director of Global Research in InternationalAffairsCenter (GLORIACenter), an Israeli think tank, the Israeli-Turkish alliance no longer exists. He believes that ‘the conditions which have prevailed for nearly sixty years during which this alliance was built have eroded’ and ‘the Turkish government considers that apart from the economic factor which still has a certain value in its eyes, there is not much tying it to Jerusalem.’[16]  What seems obvious in the view of Emrullah Uslu, an expert on Turkish terrorism and official at the Near Eastern Studies Center of the University of Utah is that Turkey is ‘very visibly on course to seize its opportunity to play a role of mediator between Iran and the West and, in return, to extend its influence in the entire Near East.’[17] 


  1. b.       Economic pragmatism


Turkish officials and business men have an obvious interest in developing relations with Armenia and they are hardly constrained to make a secret of it. In 2004, the NATO website published the report of a Turkish researcher, Burcu Gültekin, entitled ‘Prospects for Regional Cooperation on the Southeast frontier of NATO, Development of Russian Turkish Cooperation in the the Southern Caucasus.’ [18]. This researcher found that Turkish politicians are hostages of the Ankara-Baku relationship and believes that ‘the opening of the Armenian-Turkish border will improve the image of Turkey within Armenian society and will contribute to finding a way out of the crisis.’[19]. For several years, the feeling that the economic blockade of Armenia has not improved regional stability is widely shared within the community of Turkish businessmen and experts. According to Kaan Soyak, director of the Council for Development of Turkish-Armenian Business, the volume of commercial exchange between the two countries is only 70 to 80 million Euros. This is why after so many years the need for Turkish-Armenian reconciliation has made itself felt more and more within all strata of the population of these two countries.


Without a tacit agreement or, at least, a position of neutrality, of the ruling classes and masses, the two agreements of 10 October would not have been rendered possible. Bilateral Armenian-Azerbaijani and Russian-Georgian relations do not enjoy any similar national support. This is why no real progress along the road to peace has been achieved in the cases of these other two South Caucasus republics.


3) The Azerbaijan factor 


Turkish-Azerbaijan relations have for some time experienced tension essentially due, on the one hand, to the energy policy of Ankara and, on the other hand, to its desire to resolve its diplomatic problems with Yerevan. The speech of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to the Azerbaijani Parliament last May was hardly reassuring to authorities in Baku. It is true that he spoke at a moment when discussions between Ankara and Yerevan were already well advanced.


The two agreements make no reference either to the problem of the Nagorno-Karabakh or to the need to find a solution to the Azerbaijani-Armenian conflict. Azerbaijan is a collateral party to the rapprochement between Armenia and Turkey and it could end up being the big loser if its strategic ally, Turkey, establishes new relations with Yerevan.


In fact these relations do not depend either on the course of the conflict over the Nagorno-Karabakh or on the relationship between the two former republics of the complex entity which was once the Soviet Trans-Caucasus. In Turkey, the defenders of the Azerbaijani cause play an important role and are trying to influence the course of the peace process. Just prior to the ceremony in Zurich, Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Cemil Çiçek was obliged to remind people about the strategic importance of Turkish-Azerbaijani relations. He believed that it was not simply a question of ‘relations based on mutual interest, because nothing is more important for Turkey than friendship with Azerbaijan.’


The day after the signing of these agreements, the Azerbaijan Minister of Foreign Affairs publicly shared his doubts.[20] He believes that ‘normalisation of relations between Turkey and Armenia prior to the withdrawal of Armenian occupation forces goes against the interests of  Baku and casts a shadow on the fraternal relations between his country and Turkey.’[21] 


On 15 October, in the district of Baku, the local authorities had the Turkish flags removed from the cemetery of martyrs commemorating the sacrifice of Turkish soldiers during the fight for independence of Azerbaijan in 1918. The Azerbaijani authorities explain this action by invoking respect for a law on foreign flags. The Turkish media saw this as a sign of Baku’s reaction to the prohibition imposed on spectators at the Turkish-Armenian football match attended by the Armenian President to display Azerbaijani flags.[22] Hand on heart, Turkish Minister of Foreign Affairs Ahmet Davutoglu reaffirmed at once ‘the unchangeable support of Turkey for the Azerbaijani position on Nagorno-Karabakh’ and assured Baku  ‘that Ankara would faithfully honour its commitments.’[23]. Beril Dedeoglu, director of the Department of International Relations at the University of Galatasaray, nonetheless tempers the Minister’s profession of faith, since it seems obvious to her that ‘Turkey will not support Azerbaijan unconditionally.’ [24].


Since then, recent statements by Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliev have reinforced the impression of a serious chill in the Azeri-Turkish relations. During a Council of Ministers meeting on 18 October 2009[25], he spoke of his ‘disappointment at seeing the negotiations over gas prices with Turkey at a standstill.’  He even mentioned the ‘ingratitude of the Turkish authorities’ who, according to him, ‘have benefited for many years from preferential rates, 30% below the international prices.’[26] Announcing openly his wish to diversify his gas export routes, Ilham Aliev also criticised the financial conditions requested by Ankara for transit across Turkish territory of Azerbaijani gas towards European markets.


Deeming Ankara’s conditions to be unacceptable, he added that his country was considering other alternative routes to the European gas pipeline Nabucco which could thus bypass Turkish territory by going directly from Georgia to Bulgaria and Romania along the Black Sea.[27] These statements took place after the signing on 15 October in Baku of an agreement between the State Oil Company of the Azerbaijan Republic, SOCAR and the Russian gas giant Gazprom[28]. This agreement clearly confirms that Baku is thinking seriously about reducing its excessive dependence on Ankara with respect to exports.


The Turkish authorities have up to now reacted to these positions taken by Azerbaijan with a certain indifference. Taner Yildiz, Turkish Minister of Energy, responded to the statements of President Aliyev by passing all responsibility for the bogging down of price negotiations to the Azerbaijani side.[29] What is certain is that the favourable geographic position of Turkey turns it into a possible gigantic energy platform allowing access of producer countries in the Caspian Sea basin to European markets. And this dominant position which allows Ankara to pose its conditions is accepted with greater and greater difficulty by the Azerbaijan authorities, in particular by Ilham Aliev, who no longer conceals his disappointment at seeing Turkey commit itself to a path of rapprochement with Yerevan even before the Armenian-Azerbaijan disputes are resolved. People remarked upon his absence from the 2nd forum of the Alliance of Civilisations (United Nations Conference on Human Rights) in Ankara last April and at the signing ceremony of the intergovernmental agreement for the European gas pipeline project Nabucco. These were the first signals of his disappointment caused by the new diplomatic orientation of Turkey.


The Turkish press does not cease underlining the fragility of the notion ‘one nation, two states,’ used in the past to depict relations between Baku and Ankara. Reflecting the new era which opened with the signing of the agreements, a Turkish daily, Hurriyet, spoke on 19 October of ‘One nation torn apart.’ However, as developments in the area of energy show, the Turkish-Armenian normalisation threatens not only fraternal relations between Turkey and Azerbaijjan, but also their economic relations. An old popular Azeri song, also very widely liked in Turkey, deals with the theme of a ‘painful separation’ between the two countries. With the recent developments, Turks and Azerbaijanis will have to overcome a new challenge if they are going to tone down the impact of a new separation which has become public.


4)  The question of genocide in abeyance


Throughout the Armenian diaspora, in France, in the United States, in Lebanon, just as in Armenia, these agreements are accepted with difficulty. Some people are heading into the wind, others are cautious and wounded because the word ‘genocide’ does not figure in the two agreements signed in Zurich. For all Armenians, the recognition of this genocide by the Turks constitutes a crucial, even vital point.


The two countries have only decided to put in place an international commission of historians which is charged with the task of studying the circumstances and extent of the massacres committed in 1915 against the Armenian minority of the Ottoman Empire from which modern day Turkey emerged. What is at issue is ‘through the impartial scientific study of the historical archives to establish mutual confidence, to define the exact contours of the problems and to formulate  recommendations.’ This dialogue is expected to take place within the ‘History’  sub-committee of the inter-governmental commission. Estimates vary but it seems reasonable to say that there are around 800,000 Armenians who died in these  abominations which constitute the first of the three genocides of the 20th century. It will soon be a century that the memory of those events haunts the Armenian collective memory and at the moment when the two countries have decided to establish diplomatic relations no mention is in any way made of the ‘genocide.’ No recognition of this tragedy, still less any sort of apology, just some historical research into the fact which otherwise cannot be challenged.


To be sure, the Turks no longer deny the massacres, but the word ‘genocide’ does not cross their lips, because they would have to admit that they are historically guilty of this bloodbath whereas they see themselves as historical victims. For Turkey, recognizing this genocide means taking on the obligation to revisit their history – something which no nation does with pleasure – to look once again at another question which bores into them, the Kurdish question, and to admit that Turkey was and remains a multinational State whose greatest fear is to experience the same dramatic explosion which befell its former Ottoman Empire.


It is difficult at first glance to imagine that such a sub-committee can succeed in resolving a dispute that is nearly a century old and which mobilises as many historians as politicians and the masses, and which raises many dangerous passions. Is it possible that a group of researchers, politically neutral and perfectly objective, will succeed in changing the positions and views of the Turks and Armenians on the events of 1915? What risks happening, most likely, is that the Armenians will continue to insist on Turkish recognition of the genocide and that the Turks will persist in not recognising it. However, it is not impossible scholarly  formulae will be found which allow each side to agree to disagree and save face.


5)  The new dimension de Serge Sarkissian 


Until now, President Sarkissian was considered by most observers to be the worthy successor of his predecessor, Robert Kotcharian. Before his accession to the presidency, he occupied a number of key posts within the security organisations. After being President of the Committee of Self-Defence of Nagorno-Karabakh from 1989 to 1993, he then assumed, until 1995, the duties of chief of the Department of Armenian state security. From 1996 to 1999, he was Armenian Minister of Foreign Affairs and, finally, he served as Prime Minister from April 2007 until his election on 5 January 2008.


This succession of responsible posts shows clearly the nature of a personage who is the complete opposite of a liberal or a dove. This also explains why he has a perfect vision of the extreme complexity of the geopolitical position of his country, wedged between Turkey and Azerbaijan, both of them hostile, and having two ‘exit doors’ – in the North towards Georgia and in the South towards Iran, both rendered uncertain and unreliable by the Russian-Georgian conflict, on the one hand, and the American-Iranian dispute, on the other hand.


Once elected in 2008 to the presidency of the Republic of Armenia[30], President Sarkissian took his time establishing his power before beginning his ‘Turkish deal.’ The American and Russian diplomats showed an evident interest in this diplomatic approach. He thus seized a unique opportunity to smash a breach in the isolation of his country and to open, via Turkey, ‘a third exit door to the world.’ [31]


Many people say that President Sarkissian has sold the memory and the honour of his people in exchange for economic prospects in Turkey. This necessity certainly weighed in; but one could also believe that, on the contrary, he proved his patience and political intelligence. He was able to understand that in the Turkish memory, genocide is linked to the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, to its systematic dismantlement organised by the great powers of that age and the declared ambition of the Armenian minority to form an independent State as did the Ottoman possessions in the Balkans. By resolutely committing himself to the path of normalising relations with Turkey, President Sarkissian assumes, at one blow, another  dimension.


6) Armenian opinion split between …


  1. a.   … approval …


The Apostolic Armenian Church and the General Union of Armenian Benevolence of America immediately gave their support to this initiative. They call for a constructive and objective dialogue on the basic problems between the two countries.  


Two days before the historic signing of these agreements, a group of notables from the Armenian diaspora, among whom figure the singer Charles Aznavour, who is also the Ambassador of Armenia in Switzerland – and the Muscovite billionaire  Ruben Vardanian signed a letter of support for the process begun by Presidents Serge Sarkissian and Abdullah Gül. For this group, ‘the Armenian leaders are demonstrating a very high sense of responsibility both for the future of the motherland and to future generations, and the decision to establish relations between the two countries without any preconditions, as well as the determination to proceed quickly with reopening the Armenian-Turkish frontier is evidence of wisdom and courage.’ [32]


As regards parliament, President Sarkissian does not have much to worry about. The process begun is not expected to have any difficulty passing the stage of ratification. The Armenian parliament is in fact majority controlled by the party of the President - the Republican Party – and its allies in the government coalition, the ‘Prosperous Armenia’ party and the ‘Rule of Law’ party.


  1. b.  … and opposition


Standing against this agreement are the diaspora and the parties of national opposition. The Armenian National Committee of America criticises the ‘blindness of the Obama administration which is seeking to force the Armenian authorities to make unilateral concessions’[33] and its representatives predict that such an agreement will create more problems than it will resolve. President Sarkissian’s trip around the world to try to convince his compatriots in the United States, in France and in Lebanon touched off passions and demonstrations. More than 3,000 demonstrators assembled in front of his hotel in Los   Angeles and booed him.[34] A similar demonstration during his visit to Paris ended in violent confrontations with the police force and in Beirut he endured the insults and jeers from a diaspora which reproached him for not having demanded Turkish recognition of the genocide of 1915. 


Several days before the signing of this accord, thousands of demonstrators, people close to the oldest political party of Armenia – the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF), otherwise known as the ARF-Dashnaksoutioun - went out onto the streets of Yerevan to attack these agreements and the political parties and organisations of the diaspora which were favourable to them.


The critical principles of opponents centre on two fears.  One is to see the historical sub-committee justify the side of Turkey by putting in question, on the one hand, the genocidal nature of the events of 1915-1918 and by recognising, on the other hand, collateral damage inflicted on the Turks by the Armenians at the end of WWI. The second fear: recognition of the present borders. According to the opponents, such recognition would immediately have an impact on the occupation of nearly one-tenth of the territory internationally recognised as being Azerbaijani territory. It would also have a negative consequence on the territorial claims of the survivors of the genocide, and their descendants, who have been fighting for the restitution of ancestral lands from which they were chased between 1915 and 1918.


The main challenge which the Armenian authorities are going to confront is not so much parliamentary opposition - only 23 seats in parliament- but a myriad of opposition groups outside of parliament.  They are united under the banner of the National Armenian Congress directed by the charismatic Levon Ter-Petrossian, Armenia’s first President. He is a brilliant orator, a polemicist accustomed to confrontations with the government in the streets, who freely depicts himself as the ‘founding father and protector of the values of the third republic which arose from the ruins of Soviet Armenia.’ Thus, it is no surprise that he was violently opposed to the trip undertaken by President Serge Sarkissian to visit with the Armenian diaspora. No one doubts that if Levon Ter-Petrossian succeeds in uniting the various opposition groups the process of normalising relations with Turkey will be more complicated for President Sarkissian and his government. But Ter-Petrossian must not lose sight of the fact that his margin of manœuvre is relatively limited because, in 1998, it was precisely due to his own attempt at rapprochement, with Azerbaijan which forced him to resign.


7)  Conclusion 


With a nobility that does it honour, Armenia has been able to see the point of view of the other side. It has bet on the dynamic created by Turkish intellectuals who call upon their country to look its history in the face and to consider the obligation which Turkey would soon dare assume if it wants its candidacy for the European Union to succeed.  


From all sides, the hopes of seeing Armenian-Turkish relations take a new turn are great. For Armenia, it is a question of putting an end to its encirclement. Its possible anchorage in the West and its survival are in play. For Turkey, it is a question of its emerging on the international scene and in the private preserve of the great powers.  


Ankara and Yerevan have chosen a diplomacy via small steps in order to end, inevitably with a successful conclusion. A century has now passed, a lot of water has passed under the dam, and the aspects of the problem are no longer just regional but worldwide in extent. They have done so because the European model, with its force of attraction is extending the peace.



Copyright© ESISC 2009

[3]The speech of the Turkish Minister of Foreign Affairs, cancelled at the last minute, raised the question of the genocide of the Armenians in less than diplomatic terms. Thanks to the insistent intervention of Hillary Clinton and Sergei Lavrov, the minutes were signed after three hours of intense and final negotiations in an atmosphere of palpable tension.

[4]France, the United States and Russia  co-chair the Minsk Group of the Organisation for Security and cooperation in Europe (OSCE) which has been charged with the task of supervising the talks over Nagorno-Karabakh, an enclave situated on Azerbaijani territory and populated mostly by Armenians.

[5] Cf. note 1.

[6]In response to the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict of 1993, during which the Armenian forces took control of many Azerbaijani districts adjoining the non-recognised Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh and Turkey decreed a total embargo on Armenia. 

[7] The establishment of such a commission charged with the task of studying the events of  1915 was the subject of a proposal made already in 2005 by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, a proposal which the then Armenian President, Robert Kotcharian, immediately rejected.

[9] The negotiations relating to the Oslo accords, known as the Declaration of Principles, ended on 20 August 1993 and on  13 September the accords were officially signed in Washington by  Mahmud Abbas, for the PLO, Shimon Peres, Israeli Minister of Foreign Affairs, Warren Christopher, U.S. Secretary of State and Andrei Kozyrev for Russia in the presence of Yasser Arafat, President of the Palestinian Authority, Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and American President Bill Clinton.

[12] In October 1998, Turkey masse dits troops on the Syrian border in order to force Damascas to expel from its territory, Abdullah Ocalan, the founder of the Kurdistan Workers Party - the PKK – who was said to be responsible for many terrorist acts on Turkish terroritory staged from bases in Syria and in the Bekaa Valley of Lebanon. After a year of traveling between Moscow, Rome, The Hague and Amsterdam, he found refuge in the Greek Embassy in Kenya but was kidnapped by Turkish secret agents with the help of the Israeli Mossad. He was brought to Turkish territory on 16 February 1999 where he is imprisoned on the prison-island of Imrali.

[15] Ibid.

[17] (archives of 29 October 2009 :  ‘Erdogan’s Visit to Tehran Raises Questions over Turkish Foreign Policy ).

[19] Ibid.

[24] Beril Dedeoglu ‘Opening to Syria, Armenia and beyond ,’ Today’s Zaman, 17 October 2009

[26] Ibid.

[31] Sergei Markedonov, ‘The protocols of hope’ (in Russian),, 16.10.2009

[33] Ibid.

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