US priorities responsible for low level of relations with Armenia – political scientist

13:51 • 17.11.17



The US-Armenia relations have been on their lowest level in the past 25 years since Armenia's gaining independence, according Suren Sargsyan, a political scientist and researcher at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy (Tufts University).


In an interview with Tert.am, the expert shared his concerns over the existing negative dynamics, attributing it to systemic problems unrelated to the human factor.

“It has to do with the United States’ priorities, so we really have a lot to do in this connection,” he noted.


Sargsyan also addressed the US-Turkey relations and possible challenges stemming from the  current rapprochement processes between Turkey and Russia.

Noting that despite recent normalization efforts, US and Turkey have not yet fully re-established their dialogue, Sargsyan said he is under the impression that Washington still wonders “why Turkey, a NATO ally, should have purchased the S-400 air-defense system from Russia.”


“The second important factor is that Turkey has totally deviated from its path towards European integration [which implies] more active ties with the EU, the West, etc. This too, is treated as a very serious problem in the US. But most importantly, the human rights protection is on a very low level [in Turkey], and that’s really a crucial problem for the United States, as they have been repeatedly addressing the topic recently,” he said, noting that the frozen relations between the two states entered into a new period of tension after the arrests of US diplomats in Turkey.


Asked whether Turkey’s somewhat dominant role in the bilateral format may cause the United States to eventually offer concessions to the country, Sargsyan admitted the possibility of such a scenario but ruled out a very serious compromise amounting to the extradition of Fetullah Gulen.  

“The Turkey-US relations have always seen ups and downs, but the Turks do manage to give a specific orientation to the United States on the spur of the moment. [Such an example could be], if you will, the arrival in the United States every April of a big Turkish delegation which attempts to bring the bilateral relations to the agenda in an effort to derail the Genocide recognition process and prevent the use of ‘Armenian Genocide’ by [US] presidents,” he added.

Sargsyan agreed that the strategic alliance between the two states, as well as their membership in NATO will stop them from eventually severing their ties despite the continuing confrontations.  “The United States has specific interests in our region,” he said, citing the developments in the Middle East and Iran's lowered influence.

 

“Turkey, as a regional superpower, is naturally gaining importance for them, being the most accomplished country in the region with the most efficient army ,” Sargsyan added.

 

Asked to comment on the possible impact on Armenia, the expert stressed the need of revising and considering the diplomatic agenda. Meantime he admitted that Armenia does not and is not likely to ever have any agenda with Turkey.

 

“We do not have any possibility of cooperation with Turkey. There is neither Track II diplomacy nor a direct dialogue,” he added.

Hripsime Hovhannisyan





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