BY ARAM SUREN HAMPARIAN
It’s self-evident that peace talks are held between enemies, not friends. And it’s reasonable to expect that in any serious negotiations, both sides will need to reconcile some big differences.
We all want peace.
And peace comes at a cost, and requires compromise.
You know the talk: Search for common ground, conflict-resolution, mutually-agreeable compromises, bridge-building, etc.
It all comes across sounding very reasonable.
Except…when it’s not.
Especially when only one side has a true interest in peace.
Consider Armenia’s potential partners:
Baku is still nominally part of the OSCE Minsk Group peace talks charged with finding a negotiated settlement of the Karabakh issue, but every single material action it takes undermines hope for peace, namely its war threats, cross-border attacks, torture of prisoners, and multi-billion dollar arms build-up.
The Armenian side has rolled up it’s sleeves and is working for a lasting peace, but Azerbaijan’s leaders, most likely because they want to steer domestic attention away from their own failings, seem intent on continuing their march toward a new Caucasus war.
Ankara remains technically engaged in Protocols talks with Armenia (primarily to defer progress toward universal acknowledgment of the Armenian Genocide), but, having already criminalized domestic discussion of this atrocity (the core point of contention), has now actually started, as a result of its own President’s legal actions, jailing it’s citizens for the “crime” of calling someone else an Armenian. (Turkey simply cannot act as a partner for peace with Armenia while at the same time using its legal system to define Armenians as the functional equivalent of an obscenity.)
Armenia has taken major, even reckless risks for peace, while Turkey, as its leaders, laws and legal system so clearly demonstrate, has yet to give an inch in terms of its hardline Genocide denial, its blockade, and its other patently anti-Armenian policies.
Sadly, despite all of Yerevan’s good-faith efforts and the highest hopes of the international community, neither Baku nor Ankara have shown yet that they are ready to step up as serious partners for peace with Armenia.