Hello, and welcome to the Armenian News Network, Groong, Week in Review. This show was recorded on Sunday, January 30th, 2022. This week’s major topics are:
● Game of Chicken over Ukraine
● Antalya Diplomatic Forum
● Army Day in Armenia
● Armenian Ministry of Foreign Affairs
To talk about these issues, we have with us:
Suren Sargsyan, who is the founder and President at the Armenian Center for American Studies, a research center based in Yerevan.
Over the course of January, we’ve talked with experts on this podcast about the standoff over Ukraine between the West and Russia. We don’t want to rehash through all the back and forth in the politics of the affair, but basically Putin has demanded that the West should respect its security needs, including its right to influence post-Soviet and Warsaw Pact states in a manner to protect itself. Meanwhile the West, led by the US, has ramped up the rhetoric about Russia’s imminent invasion of Ukraine, and threatened a “severe and coordinated” response to it.
Suren you have a solid grasp of the West’s security doctrine. Can you summarize what each side wants, their redlines, and how you see this Game of Chicken resolving itself?
In the context of the Turkish-Armenian Normalization process, Turkey has invited Armenia to attend a diplomatic forum it's holding in a quote-unquote “beautiful Antalya resort on the coast of the Mediterranean”.
The media has quoted various Turkish officials who have said that Armenia “may” be attending the diplomatic forum, and also hinting that possibly prime minister Pashinyan himself, or maybe foreign minister Mirzoyan, may lead the Armenian attendance. Meanwhile, Armenia’s MFA won’t yet confirm whether a decision has been made to attend the forum or not.
● What’s special about the forum in Antalya? In what way is this forum important for Armenia?
● Notable Armenians have attended the forum in the past, for example Prof. Jirayr Libaridian is listed among the attendees of the 2021 Forum. Why is it important for Turkey for Official Yerevan to attend this forum?
● Is there anything to gain by Armenia in attending this?
● Why is the Armenian government being wishy-washy about whether it’s going to attend or not? The general statements from Turkey indicate that they’ve received a positive RSVP, but maybe Pashinyan’s government does not want to strike the wrong chord by telling its public something it might react negatively to?
Suren, you’ve been very vocal about the Armenian foreign policy in general on social media, as well as in your analysis. So, we wanted to ask: is Armenia’s foreign policy alive and actively pursuing our national interests?
I’m always thinking: how come nobody follows through on President Armen Sarkisian’s multiple trips to the Gulf countries like Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and so on, and trying to build on his efforts to promote those important relationships?
Is Armenia’s Ministry of foreign affairs equipped to deal with the issues the country is facing?
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.
Suren Sargsyan, Armenia, Foreign Policy, Azerbaijan, Nikol Pashinyan, Antalya Diplomatic Forum, Turkey, Russia, Turkish Armenian Normalization, Foreign Affairs, Armenian Foreign Ministry, NATO, Ukraine, George Bush, 41, Georgia, South Caucasus,