Israel welcomes peace agreement between Turkey and Armenia


From the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs Spokesperson’s Bureau:

Israel welcomes the signing of an historic peace agreement between Turkey and Armenia. The agreement, which was signed by the foreign ministers of the two states on Saturday (10 October 2009), proves once again that open, brave and direct dialogue is the only way to overcome controversies and past fears and to make a new start towards a better future.

Israel hopes that the peace agreement will lead the entire region into a period of peace and cooperation.

This is a terrific development and I hope the pace of reconciliation efforts takes hold. But things are very complicated in Turkey.  Prime Minister Erdogan has to balance his embrace of former adversaries of Turkey while keeping allies. He must embrace Arab causes such as the rights of Palestinians without humiliating Israeli leaders. Turkey can be the bridge between the West and the Middle East, between Muslims and non-Muslims, between secular and religious, but it is a delicate balancing act, and I fear for the future if former allies are so incensed at mistreatment that they attempt to capitalize on divisions in Turkey. It is vital for the future of the region that Turkey’s future be nonviolent, and it is vital for the rapprochement with Armenia to take hold as a symbol of healing past wounds, grievances, and even major atrocities. I am glad that Israel congratulated Turkey, and I hope there are lessons learned about the courage it took Erdogan to face the past enough with Armenians to get this far in repairing the relationship. From what I understand things are moving forward with Kurds as well, in addition to what is publicly seen in the new Syrian/Turkish relationship. But for Erdogan to succeed he must successfully bring along Israel and its supporters, or at least bring along the progressive wing of Israeli supporters. The region cannot afford an all out break between Israel and Turkey, and many Turks will not stand for it either. Complicated but in some ways hopeful. P.S. Hail to Hillary for doing some terrific diplomacy.

© Marc Gopin