Less than 48 hours after the signing of Saturday’s landmark peace deal between Turkey and Armenia and doubts are being raised over the accord’s eventual implementation.
Firstly, both parliaments have to ratify the deal but word on the streets of Yerevan is that the controversial issue of the World War One killings of thousands of Armenians is still an obstacle. While Armenia wants a reluctant Turkey to admit the Armenian deaths in 1915 were genocide, both sides have at least agreed to set up a joint commission into the issue. But now Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has added his own proviso to the peace deal by saying Armenia must withdraw from Nagorno-Karabakh in Azerbaijan in order for his parliament to approve it. Turkey cut ties and shut its border with Armenia in 1993 in support of Turkish-speaking Azerbaijan which was then fighting a losing battle against Armenian separatists in Karabakh. With Armenian nationalists describing the genocide commission as “a delaying tactic” and now Turkish calls for progress on Azerbaijan, relief over Saturday’s signing may be short lived.