In Facts and Comments, the first article of the current number of our journal, addresses the developments occurring in the six months within the second half of 2012 concerning the Armenian Questions and Turkey-Armenia relations. Within this period, full stagnation has dominated Turkey-Armenia relations. Furthermore, it has been observed that the contacts made between civil society and professional organizations, which are particularly encouraged by the US, have not created any results.
The issues coming to the fore from among quite a number of the issues addressed in this rather long article are summarized as follows: The importance the US attaches to the normalization of Turkey-Armenia relations is continuing. Since Barack Obama has been elected once again, it could be understood that this policy of the US will continue for the next four years. Although the desire to establish better relations between the two countries has become more apparent following the election of François Hollande as President, this time the inclusion of some information in French textbooks, which only takes the Armenian views into consideration in regards to the Armenian genocide allegations, has created a new problem. It appears that the incumbent president will be elected again in the presidential election to be held in Armenia in February 2013. When considering that the Armenian Republican Party, the great partner of the Government, has won the parliamentary election, it could be deduced that in the next couple of years there will be stability in Armenia in terms of its domestic policy. On the other hand, it is believed that to what extent Armenia will join a movement to form a bloc such as the Eurasian Union and customs union led by the Russian Federation and to what extent it will develop its relations with the European Union, NATO and the US and also what kind of a policy it will follow regarding the resolution of the Karabakh conflict and the normalization of its relations with Turkey will carry priority for Armenia among its foreign policy issues in the upcoming years.
Concerning the other articles, in his article entitled Caucasus 2012 Drills: Russia’s Efficacy Attempts in the Caucasus as Part of Its Security Strategies, Ali Asker focuses on the hidden political purposes of the military exercises being performed this year in September in Southern Russia, Abkhazia, Southern Ossetia and Armenia.
In his article entitled Armenian Relocation and International Law, Yılmaz Eracar develops an interesting view that the research of the 1915 events should be conducted through a historical aspect rather than a legal aspect and indicates that since the 1948 Convention cannot be applied retroactively, it cannot be applied to the 1915 events either and furthermore, that the 1915 events can also not be considered as a crime against humanity due to the decision of relocation being taken for reasons of statute of limitations and war.
Armand Sağ, in his article entitled Categorizing History: Turkish-Armenian Relations Throughout History, has divided scholars researching the Armenian Question and the Armenian genocide allegations into four categories according to their tendencies. While in the first category are those who recognize these allegations without any hesitations, the other categories entail, although to different extents, scholars who question the genocide allegations. Furthermore, it is indicated in the article that two great discussions exist on the Armenian question; the first is proving that the Ottoman Empire acted with the purpose to annihilate the Armenians while the second is the uncertainty of the number of Armenians who died.
In the article entitled Self-Determination vs. Territorial Integrity: Ottoman-Armenian Conflict of 1915 From Two Perspectives of Statehood written by Bülent Temel, the relocation of Armenians is addressed in light of these two countries of international law and it is emphasized that self-determination is used to support secessionist claims.
An interview on this issue with Prof. Dr. Hüseyin Bağcı who had recently visited Armenia and in which interesting observations have been made could also be found in our Journal. The humanitarian approach and the optimism of Professor Bağcı is welcome. However, sentimentality bordering naivety and wishful thinking do not necessarily lead to realistic and feasible policy initiatives. As regards to his evaluation of Azerbaidjan, AVİM reserves the Azerbaidjani point of view’s right of reply to this interview.
Furthermore, two book reviews are found in our Journal. The first is Dr. Arnold Reisman’s book Armenians: Perpetrators and Victims which is to be published soon. The second is Chris Bohjalian’s The Sandcastle Girls, published last July in the US, which entered the best seller list for a short time and which addresses the Armenian genocide allegations.