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Turkish-Armenian Normalisation and the Karabakh Conflict

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Over three years after the signing of protocols on opening diplomatic relations and land borders, the prospects for Turkish-Armenian normalisation in the absence of progress on the Karabakh conflict are slim. But there is also little sign of a breakthrough in the Karabakh conflict-resolution process. Given these impasses, this article proposes an alternative way forward: an unconditional opening of Turkish-Armenian diplomatic relations followed by a retooling of the Basic Principles. This retooling would accept a linkage between the border opening and the withdrawal of Armenian forces from territory outside Nagorno-Karabakh. It would also reduce ambiguities in the Basic Principles that have stalled the peace process to date. The article first analyses the failure of the Turkish- Armenian protocols, then justifies a change in policy, and finally, proposes a retooled set of interim principles and focuses on intermediate steps that would help normalise Armenian- Azerbaijani relations while deferring the final settlement of Nagorno-Karabakh’s political status for a later time.

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This article was originally published in Perceptions: Journal of International Affairs.

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