Internet Press Conference of Senior Researcher of Ankara Policy Center Burcu Gultekin Punsmann for Armenian Media

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Burcu Gultekin Punsmann
Senior researcher of Ankara policy center Turkey
Турция
On august 2, Internet Press Conference of Senior Researcher of Ankara Policy Center Burcu Gultekin Punsmann for Armenian Media.
 
Hetq online newspaper, www.hetq.am
 
Question – What is the situation in Turkey after the military coup attempt? Whether the recent events contributed to strengthening of the position of the current government in the country, in relations with European countries and the United States?
 
Answer – I haven’t been to Turkey since the failed coup attempt, I will be back end August. I don’t believe therefore to be in a position to address very specifically your question. Sometimes however it helps to look from distance. This is a terrible test for all Turkish citizens, our democracy and our institutions. Thanks God, the criminal attempt failed. Turkey would have been pushed into a terrible civil war. Could you imagine, what it would have meant for the region, I am including into this region, Armenia as well of course. We have already too many failed states and civil wars in the Middle East. The government hasn’t become stronger. How can one feel stronger while facing so many stories of betrayal within your very close circle? This a national test.  The EU – especially France where the state of emergency has just been extended for an additional period of 6 months- and the US should support us throughout these difficult times. 
 
Question – How does the Turkish society perceive the methods of punishment of forces that could be involved in the coup attempt in Turkey? How does the Turkish society perceive the criticism of the methods of dealing with the opponents by the international human rights and other organizations?
 
Answer –The population is still traumatized, so many people have their personal stories from the dreadful night of 15 July where they had to face and struggle against those whose only duty is to protect the nation. My district in Ankara was at the epicenter of the air attacks…This is our own 9/11. Don’t expect too much compassion for those who were affected in the aftermaths of the attempt.
 
Question – How can the possible normalization of Turkish-Russian relations effect the situation in Nagorno-Karabakh front?
 
Answer –I am convinced that the Turkish-Russian crisis had a negative effect on the South Caucasus at large and the dynamics of the NK conflict in particular. Considered from the Turkish perspective, this crisis made Turkish-Azerbaijani energy relations looked even more valuable. Turkey doesn’t have the possibility to impact directly on the dynamics of the NK conflict, and especially in the context of a resumption of hostilities. I would say that the Russian anti-Turkey propaganda campaign had a negative impact on the Armenian public opinion. Well, as Armenians’ fear of Turks increases, their policy options decreases proportionately. 
 
Davit Stepanyan, www.arminfo.am
 
Question - What, in your opinion, substantiated the official appearance of the Turkish military bases in Azerbaijan?
 
Answer–I don’t know to which development you are referring to. We have mainly talked recently about the establishment of a Turkish base in Qatar and possibly in Somalia. These initiatives fit within the context of the fight against terrorism. Turkish and Azerbaijan have as you know close military and security cooperation. However Russia is to remain Azerbaijan’s first security partner. 
 
Question - More and more frequently, Turkey plays geopolitical games independent from NATO in Eurasia.  To what extent is today’s Turkey able to realize its foreign policy, continuing to claim on regional leadership as a minimum?
 
Answer–That’s a wrong perception. Please tell me what precisely NATO’s strategy in Eurasia is. Decisions within NATO are taken by consensus. And as Turkey is a full fledged NATO member, no decision that Turkey doesn’t agree with will come out from the decision making body of NATO.
 
Question - What interests does Turkey pursue in the context of the issue of the migrants from the Middle East, who are seeking get to Europe through its territory?
 
Answer –Turkey is home at 2.5 million of registered Syrian refugees. The total number of Syrian nationals living in Turkey should probably be even higher. As of today Turkey is the second country, after Syria, with the highest number of Syrian nationals. The main objective of the agreement reached with the EU is to reach lives, stop the Eagean from being a mass grave. Turkey learned how to use conditionality in its relations with the EU from the EU itself…so many unrelated issues have been bound together in the EU-Turkey relations unfortunately…
 
Question - Is the clash between Recep Erdogan and Turkish Generalitat a result of internal or external problems of Turkey?  Share your prognosis of further developments.
 
Answer - No comment. 
 
Gagik Baghdasaryan, www.newsarmenia.am
 
Question -Do you think we can talk about the possibility of normalization of relations between Armenia and Turkey after the failure of the attempted coup d'état in Turkey, considering strengthening of Ergodan's position?
 
Answer- Turkey has today more burning issues to deal with...I don’t think this has anything to do with Erdogan becoming stronger…What I am sure about, is that the perspective of the opening of the Turkish-Armenian border would have completely disappeared had the coup been successful. Haven’t you noticed that the management of SOCAR Turkey has changed after the coup attempt and that the former head was arrested?
 
Question - What will be the policy of "new" Turkey in the Caucasus region: passive or aggressive?
 
Answer–I hope Turkey’s new policy in the Caucasus would neither be passive or aggressive but rather proactive! I have been an advocate for the normalization of Turkish-Armenian relations for almost two decades. Yes, I would reiterate once more. Turkey has to normalize its relations with Armenia in order to become proactive in the South Caucasus.
 
Question - Do you think the warming of relation between Moscow and Ankara is of a long-term nature?
 
Answer – I wish to believe that the warming of relations between Moscow and Ankara is if a long term nature as you say. Both countries have seen what it costs them to sever their relations. The economic cost is minimal compared to the strategic cost both for Russia and Turkey. The Turkish-Russian bilateral relations matter for the future of our region. We should however bear in mind the reason why the unthinkable happened between Turkey and Russia: Syria. Turkey and Russia need to have a common ground in Syria that would save lives and respect the will of the Syrian people. 
 
Karine Asatryan, www.a1plus.am
 
Question–What kind of security problems occurred in South Caucasus as a result of the failed military takeover attempt in Turkey? 
 
Answer– I haven’t been to Turkey since the failed coup attempt, I will be back end August. I don’t believe therefore to be in a position to address very specifically your question. Sometimes however it helps to look from distance. This is a terrible test for all Turkish citizens, our democracy and our institutions. Thanks God, the criminal attempt failed. Turkey would have been pushed into a terrible civil war. Could you imagine, what it would have mean for the region, I am including into this region, Armenia as well of course. 
 
Eurasia Daily, www.eadaily.com
 
Question - Discussions on Karabakh Conflict Settlement with participation of OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs should have been held in Ankara on July 17. The meeting was postponed due to recent events, but the questions remain. Turkey’s position is well known-it openly supports Azerbaijan. To what such discussions might lead, and do you think Ankara's involvement in the negotiation process, for which it strives for so many years, is possible.
 
Answer - I have been an advocate for the normalization of Turkish-Armenian relations for almost two decades. Yes, I would reiterate once more. Turkey has to normalize its relations with Armenia in order to become proactive in the South Caucasus. I don’t see how Turkey can be involved in the NK negotiation before normalizing its relations with Armenia. The only possibility would be that Moscow asks openly for Turkey’s  involvement !
 
Question - What will be the effect of Russian-Turkish rapprochement on these strivings of Turkey? The official representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation Maria Zakharova did not reject such a possibility last week and was criticized for that. There is much talk about the existence of so-called "Lavrov plan", which in addition to the return of the territories, also plans to open Armenian-Turkish border. Even the dates are specified - realization until the end of the year.  Do you think the existence of this plan and this scenario possible?
 
Answer–I don’t have any specific information on this aspect. I welcome though Russia’s renewed effort for the settlement of the NK dispute and appreciate the creativity of the peace plan that takes into account this linkage between the NK dispute and the normalization of Turkish Armenian relations.
 
Question–In your opinion, what changes may Turkish policy towards the neighboring countries undergo after the failed attempt of military takeover, considering West's criticism of the harsh actions of the Turkish authorities in that context, including losing the perspectives of EU membership.
 
Answer - I haven’t been to Turkey since the failed coup attempt, I will be back end August. I don’t believe therefore to be in a position to address very specifically your question. Sometimes however it helps to look from distance. This is a terrible test for all Turkish citizens, our democracy and our institutions. Thanks God, the criminal attempt failed. Turkey would have been pushed into a terrible civil war. Could you imagine, what it would have mean for the region, I am including into this region, Armenia as well of course. We have already too many failed states and civil wars in the Middle East. This a national test.  The EU – especially France where the state of emergency has just been extended for an additional period of 6 months- and the US should support us throughout these difficult times. 
 
Tatev Harutyunyan, www.aravot.am
 
Question–Representative of Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation Maria Zakharova recently announced that Turkey might participate in Nagorno-Karabakh conflict settlement process. Is it realistic and will the OSCE chairs support that participation?
 
Answer - I don’t have any specific information on this aspect. I welcome though Russia’s renewed effort for the settlement of the NK dispute and appreciate the creativity of the peace plan that takes into account this linkage between the NK dispute and the normalization of Turkish Armenian relations
 
Question–Do you share the opinion, that there is some tension in NATO-Turkey relations against the background of military takeover attempt, and how will this military takeover attempt affect the process of Accession of Turkey to European Union? 
 
Answer - This failed coup attempt was a terrible test for all Turkish citizens, our democracy and our institutions. Thanks God, the criminal attempt failed. Turkey would have been pushed into a terrible civil war. Could you imagine, what it would have mean for the region, I am including into this region, Armenia as well of course. We have already too many failed states and civil wars in the Middle East. This a national test. This is our own 9/11. The EU – especially France where the state of emergency has just been extended for an additional period of 6 months- and the US should support us throughout these difficult times. 
 

 

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