Barack Obama, who had openly spoken about Armenian “genocide”, has eluded the question during his official trip to Turkey, and has encouraged both countries to take steps towards diplomatic rapprochement · Azerbaijan puts pressure on Ankara not to reestablish relations with Erevan before settling the Nagorno-Karabakh issue in its own terms
Barack Obama's visit to Turkey this week has provoked several readjustments on the Ankara-Erevan-Baku relations. PanArmenian.Net online journal has published today that Armenia and Turkey may open their shared border in September 2009 as another step for reconciliation between the two States, which have long been confronted due to the 1915 Armenian genocide and the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. In his speech before the Turkish Parliament -transcribed by Hürriyet newspaper - US President Barack Obama stated that his country "strongly supports the full normalization of relations between Turkey and Armenia" and the opening of the borderline that has remained closed since 1993 due to Ankara's blockade to Erevan.
Many were expecting to hear the word "genocide" in Obama's speech as a reference to 1915 events, when Turkish troops executed thousands of Armenians. The Afro-American president had already done so few years ago as a senator, but he refrained from it this time, referring to the matter as "the terrible events of 1915". Some political analysts (see ArmeniaNow and Le Monde) see in the precaution a move by Washington to avoid losing Turkey as an ally in the Middle East and a concession to Turkey in exchange of the opening of the border and a more moderate position on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
Baku remains distrustful
Meanwhile Azerbaijan distrusts the moves and keeps a close eye on them. Azerbaijan, Turkey's neighbor and main ally in the region, is witnessing how rapprochement between Ankara and Ereven might restrict its influence in Nagorno-Karabakh, a secessionist territory within Azeri borders backed by Armenia. According to Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, the Azeri government has criticized Turkey -a very unusual fact, considering both states often regard themselves as only one Turkic nation-, and the Parliament has adopted a resolution against the opening of borders. For the Azeri parties in favour of the declaration, reestablishment of diplomatic ties between Turkey and Armenia mean "moral and economic support to the invader" -Armenia on Nagorno-Karabakh-, and "will have a negative effect" on the peace talks about the territorial dispute. Le Courrier International weekly, quoting the Azeri newspaper Zerkalo, spoke of an "ultimatum" from Baku to Ankara. Azerbaijan threatens Turkey to redirect gas and oil pipelines, sending its energy resources to Europe through Georgia and Ukraine instead.