2. Historical development of the Relations
2.1 "Armenian genocide" or "The massacre on the Armenians"
2.2 Armenian’s independence and the Nagorno-Karabakh War
3. Recent developments in the bilateral relations
3.1 The raise of the AKP and the new hope for an approach
3.2 The assassination of Hrant Dink and
3.3 Negotiations for the normalisation of diplomatic ties
Armenian-Turkish relations have been strained by a number of historical and political issues and the current status of this relations can traced back to the last moments of the Ottoman Empire and to be more specific to the massacres on the Armenians living in this empire.
According to available historical records and depending on the point of view, between 1915 and 1923, more between 300.000 and more than one million Armenians were killed by the Ottoman authorities. In the last years Armenia and its diaspora has campaigned heavily for international recognition of the killings. The modern Turkish state, the successor states of the Ottoman Empire, has repeatedly and heavily refused to acknowledge the Armenian interpretation of events. The Turkish government insists that the circumstances and the actually happening in this period of time were different and less horrific than the Armenian version is telling.
Most recently the bilateral relations between Armenia and Turkey took another serious nosedive in the wake of the war between Armenia and Azerbaijan at the beginning of the 1990s. As a loyal supporter of the Azerbaijan Turkey froze its diplomatic relations with Armenia and closed its common border. These two historical events and their consequences strain the relationship between the two neighboring states, which still have no formal diplomatic relation and Recent attempts of the international community to normalize the relations failed.
In this submitted term paper the historical development of the relationship between Armenia and Turkey supposed to be shown, whereas a special emphasis is put on the massacre on the Armenians in 1914/1915 and the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh. These two events play a crucial and decisive key role in Turkish-Armenian relations and are therefore considered separately. Subsequently the development of the modern relation since the year 2000 is to be analyzed to give an answer to the question, whether the bilateral relations can be normalized and a diplomatic relation can be installed in the near future.
2. Historical development of the Relations
2.1 "Armenian genocide" or "The massacre on the Armenians"
On 14 November 1914 the Ottoman Empire joined in the First World War on the side of the Central Powers against the Entente which included Russia. Motivated by the re-conquest of those territories lost in previous wars against Russia, but even more by Turkic ideas, the Turkish leadership ordered the end of 1914 a large-scale offensive in the Caucasus. This ended in the Battle of Sarıkamış at the turn of 1914/15 with a devastating defeat of the Ottoman Empire and territorial losses during the Russian counter- offensive.1
The fact that Armenians had supported the Russian army in the hope of independence and participated on the Russian side reinforced within the Young Turk leadership "the caricature of an alleged Armenian sabotage plan”.2 Although the Armenian civilians and serving soldiers in the Ottoman army had remained largely loyal to the governance of the Ottoman Empire, the Armenians now were made collectively responsible for the military problems in eastern Anatolia.3 In the period from mid-March to early April 1915 the conditions for the upcoming events have been created.4 The first step was the disarming of Armenian soldiers of the Ottoman armies, of which some were subsequently killed or partly were summarized in labor battalions. Shortly after the execution of several of these battalions followed.5 Before the installation of the actual deportation law of 27 May 1915 there were first deportations in Anatolia in February and April, but had not the target of scheduled destruction.6 In this context is not entirely clear, when finally the decision was made to run the deportations so that they had to lead to the death of as many Armenians.7 In April and June 1915 there were raids on the Armenian elite in Constantinople.
On 24 and 25 April 1915 235 people were initially arrested.8 According to the official presentation of 24 May 1915 the number of those arrested is about 2345.9 On 27 May 1915 the Government officially adopted the law of deportation. With this law, the security forces were instructed to deport the Armenians individually or collectively.
In June 1915 the German Ambassador Hans von Wangenheim wrote in Constantinople wrote to the German Chancellor Theobald von Bethmann- Hollweg: "That the banishment of the Armenians is not motivated solely by military considerations is evident. The Minister of the Interior Talaat Bey has been here recently about he told the at the Imperial Embassy employed Dr. Mordtmann ´that the gates of the World War II wanted to use to deal with their internal enemies - the native Christians - thoroughly clean without being disturbed by the diplomatic intervention of foreign countries, it was also in the interest of the Germans allied with Turkey, because Turkey would be strengthened in this way"10
Also in June the German General Consul Mordtmann stated: "That cannot be justified by military considerations. It is rather, as Talaat said to be a few weeks ago, about to destroy the Armenians."11
Until July of 1915 most Armenians were initially concentrated in their main settlement areas in some places.12 They were either at the same murdered by Turkish policemen and soldiers or Kurdish auxiliary forces13 or due to orders by Talat from 27 May 1915 sent on death marches over pathless mountains towards Aleppo. Max Erwin von Scheubner- Richter, the former German Vice-Consul in Erzurum stated regarding this: "is readily acknowledged that the ultimate goal of their action against the the Armenians is the extermination of the same in Turkey. After the war, we have no more Armenians in Turkey. The Turkish people themselves do not agree to this solving of the Armenian question and feels the already the dawning economic distress complicated due to the expulsion of the Armenians".14
But also other foreign envoys captured the events in all its magnitude, such as the U.S. Ambassador Henry Morgenthau, who summed up the result of discussions with the Young Turk leaders in his memoirs, published in 1918: "When the Turkish authorities gave the orders for these deportations, they were giving the death warrant merely to a whole race, they understood this well, and, in fact their conversations with me, they made no particular attempt to conceal. [...] I am confident that the whole history of the human race contains no such horrible episode as this. The great massacres and Persecution of the past seem almost insignificant when compared to the suffering of the Armenian race in 1915."15
The deportations happened around the same basic pattern. Disarmament, elimination of the able-bodied men, liquidation of local leaders, expropriations, death marches and massacres.16 Measures for the settlement were not taken. The request reject the Home Office from a request by the Governor of Aleppo, to provide temporary housing for the deportees was rejected by the Department of Interior.17 All offers of other States to provide humanitarian aid for the deportees during the marches or at the destination were refused strictly from Constantinople.18
It seemed clear that the "delocalization" under the conditions in 1915-16 would have let to a death sentence.19 In the finally reached camps in what is now Syria, the Armenians died of lack of care by emaciation and diseases.20 In the following two years by and by the in western Anatolian provinces living Armenians were deported or assaddinated - with the exception of Constantinople and Smyrna, where the German General Liman von Sanders fought against the deportations and massacres under threat of military counter- measures.21
The main problem in quantifying the number of victims, which the massacres and deportations demanded , results from the serious defects of the Ottoman demography in the last decades of the Ottoman Empire. Depending on what is expected of pre-war number, and if only the main phase of the genocide from 1915-1917 or the entire period to 1923 is taken into account, the estimates of about 300,000 (official Turkish Estimates) up to 1.5 million Armenians deads.22
Although almost one entire century passed the examination of the events are still not fully progressed.In the Republic of Turkey official successor stat of the Ottoman Empire, is still not officially speaking of a genocide. But whoever does this gains the risk of prosecution and monetary and, where the writers Elif Shafak and Orhan Pamuk probably represent the most prominent examples of this. Nevertheless, the Turkish government to date defends against an contemporary assessment of the mass killings as genocide.23 The official call the events name in the Republic of Turkey are terms like “ermeni soykırımı iddiaları” ("Alleged Armenian Genocide") and “ermeni Kırımı” ("Armenian massacre").
The Turkish denial of genocide does not mean the fundamental denial of hundreds of thousands dead.
1 Strachan, Hew, Der Erste Weltkrieg. Eine neue illustrierte Geschichte, Pantheon-Velag, München: 2006, p. 139.
2 Barth, Boris, Genozid. Völkermord im 20. Jahrhundert. Geschichte, Theorien, Kontroversen, C.H.
Beck-Verlag, München: 2006, p. 68.
3 Kreiser, Klaus, Kleine Geschichte der Türkei, Stuttgart: 2006, p. 319
5 Ternon, Yves, Bericht über den Völkermord an den Armeniern im Osmanischen Reich, In: Hoffmann, Tessa, Das Verbrechen des Schweigens, Göttingen: 2000, p. 57
6 Akçam, Taner, Armenien und der Völkermord. Die Istanbuler Prozesse und die türkische Nationalbewegung, Hamburg: 2004, p. 63
7 Akçam, Taner, Armenien und der Völkermord. Die Istanbuler Prozesse und die türkische Nationalbewegung, Hamburg: 2004, p. 63
8 Notice of the Foreign Office to the German Reichskanzler No.349: <http://www.armenocide.net/armenocide/armgende.nsf/$$AllDocs/1915-06-05-DE-001>, (opened: 12.01.2012, 13:33).
9 Akçam, Taner, Armenien und der Völkermord. Die Istanbuler Prozesse und die türkische Nationalbewegung, Hamburg: 2004, p. 63
10 Notice of the Foreign Office to the German Reichskanzler No.372 <http://www.armenocide.de/armenocide/armgende.nsf/fcdf51bb2368582cc1256d00003c4572/ ecd802ded50a4089c12568f30059b196?OpenDocument>, (opened. 12.01.2012, 13:45).
11 Notice of the Foreign Office to the German Reichskanzler No 372 b. <http://www.armenocide.de/armenocide/armgende.nsf/e6b76f959bbba2fec1256d060042df1c/ d2d51b90fea5e094c1256b8200553bae?OpenDocument>, (opened: 12.01.2012, 13:50).
12 Ternon, Yves, Bericht über den Völkermord an den Armeniern im Osmanischen Reich, In: Hoffmann, Tessa, Das Verbrechen des Schweigens, Göttingen: 2000, p. 57
13 Gust, Wolfgang, Der Völkermord an den Armeniern 1915/16. Dokumente aus dem Politischen Archiv des deutschen Auswärtigen Amtes, Springe: 2005, p. 25.
14 Ibid. P.219.
15 Morgenthau, Henry, Ambassador Morgenthaus Story, A Personal Account of the Armenian Genocid, New York: 2008, S. 208.
16 Berlin, Jörg/ Klenner, Adrian, Völkermord oder Umsiedlung. Das Schicksal der Armenier im Osmanischen Reich. Darstellung und Dokumente, Köln:2006, pp. 44-45.
17 Akçam, Taner, A Shameful Act. The Armenian Genocide and the Question of Turkish Responsibility. London: 2007, p. 202.
19 Kreiser, Klaus, Kleine Geschichte der Türkei, Stuttgart: 2006, p. 321.
21 Gust, Wolfgang, Der Völkermord an den Armeniern 1915/16. Dokumente aus dem Politischen Archiv des deutschen Auswärtigen Amtes, Springe: 2005, p.53.
22 Ternon, Yves, Der verbrecherische Staat. Völkermord im 20. Jahrhundert, Hamburg: 1996, S. 51.
23 Webpage of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism: Frequently asked questions. <http://www.kultur.gov.tr/DE/belge/3-10913/kamen-15-millionen-armenier-ums-leben.html>, (15.01.2012, 17:10).