Hello, and welcome to the Armenian News Network, Groong, Week in Review. I’m Asbed Bedrossian.
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This week Hovik Manucharyan and I will to talk about the following major topics:
● Turkish-Armenian normalization
● Brussels Sprouts
● Armen Grigoryan in Washington DC
● The Armenian Project - US Tour
● Analyst Rants
To talk about these issues, we have with us:
Varuzhan Geghamyan, who is an assistant professor at Yerevan State University and teaches on Turkey’s modern history and the history of Azerbaijan.
A few days before the trip to Brussels, a little unexpectedly we heard news reports that Armenian-Turkish relations are in the process of being normalized. The two countries were at the time slated to nominate envoys for the process. Another surprise, for us, was that the news was announced by Mevlut Cavusoglu (Turkey’s foreign minister) at a routine event. Only a day after it was confirmed by the Armenian Foreign Ministry in a short statement.
What does this process mean? Also, why was this anxiety-ridden topic for Armenians disclosed to the Armenian public in such a manner?
What does “normalization” mean? Is now the right time to normalize relations for Armenia? And if not, when is the right time to normalize relations?
Is the noise raised by the opposition for internal consumption or is there really something to worry about?
● Isn’t “talking to the enemy” a good thing?
● Is the problem only that there is distrust in who is doing the talking OR have we already seen causes for concern?
What is the right model of normalization for Armenia and Turkey to pursue?
● Varuzhan Geghamyan’s Facebook post
What is the history of this episode of “warming”
○ Has this process been going on for longer than the Armenian government is admitting?
○ When did the Armenian government start working towards normalizing relations?
○ There were reports several months ago that Armenia sought Georgia’s help in establishing relations with Turkey, with Pashinyan even visiting Batumi for that purpose. Then, the process seems to have been transferred to the 3+x platform. What followed in these developments?
○ Turkey announced it a day earlier, in an unceremonial manner at a parliamentary committee hearing
○ Armenian MFA, the following day made an unceremonious statement on their website
○ Who is Serdar Kiliç?
○ Who is Ruben Rubinyan?
What was achieved in Brussels, as prime minister Pashinyan and President Aliyev met, twice. One with Charles Michel, and once with Emmanuel Macron.
● Aliyev’s statement about equating Berdzor/Lachin corridor with the “Zangezur corridor” & threatening to put checkpoints there. Why did he say this in Brussels, but not in Sochi?
● The entire analytical community expected this meeting to be around humanitarian issues such as return of POWs, mine maps, etc… Yet in reality it appears that they touched on geopolitical issues, including apparently coming to an agreement on a rail route going through Meghri.
● There was an alternative rail route from Ijevan to Qazakh.
○ Can you describe the difference between the southern route through Meghri and the northern route, which at one point was touted by Pashinyan?
○ What is the advantage and disadvantage of each?
○ Ijevan-Qazakh seems to already be mostly there.
● Details about the train route
Armen Grigoryan, the secretary of Armenia’s National security council visited the US. Was this a consequential visit, or was it just PR?
The Armenian Project: We’ll also talk about the Armenian Project, which Varuzhan Geghmayan co-founded. They were touring various communities recently and will reflect on these meetings and provide more details about the project.
That was our Week in Review show, and we hope it helped you catch up with some of the issues in and around Armenia from this past week. As always, we invite your feedback and your suggestions. You can find us on most social media and podcast platforms, or our website Groong.org.
Thanks to Laura Osborn for the music on our podcasts. Don’t forget to subscribe to our channel on Youtube, Like our pages and follow us on social media. On behalf of everyone in this episode, we wish you a good week, thanks for listening and we’ll talk to you next week.
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