Armenian Conflict (1991 - )

While Turkey was one of the first countries to recognize the independence of Armenia in late 1991, the two countries have not yet established diplomatic relations. The Protocol on the Establishment of Diplomatic Relations and Protocol on Development of Relations between the Republic of Armenia and the Republic of Turkey, signed in Zurich in 2009, were a failed attempt to normalize the relationship between the two countries. Though the Protocols were signed, neither of the parties succeeded in ratifying them. Their conflict has roots in the pre-WWI era as Armenians formed a significant proportion of the population in the Ottoman Empire’s northeast. The relationship between the Turkish majority in the Empire and the Armenian minority was fraught with difficulty, and the 19th and early 20th century saw protests, pogroms, and conflict. This culminated in 1915, as the Armenians were found on both sides of WWI. The Turks had suspected Armenians of working with the enemy (Russia), which resulted in mass violence, murder, displacement, a process that is now widely accepted as genocide. Turkey, however, remained adamant that, while the deaths and displacement of Armenians occurred,there was no genocide. Along with the history of violence and conflict, formalization of the relationship between the two countries was made difficult due to Armenia’s rejection of the 1921 Russo-Turkish Treaty, which implied a non-recognition of the existing borders between the two countries. The contemporary disputes also include the two countries’ opposing views concerning the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, where Armenia is a party, and Turkey is supportive of Azerbaijan and its claims on the region.

The University of Edinburgh