Alex Massie

Good News for Armenia! And Turkey!

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Turkey and Armenia are planning to establish diplomatic ties and open their shared border. There's still a long way to go, of course, and it owuld be wise to remain cautious on this but, nonetheless, the signs are encouraging. Normalising relations with Armenia will be another small step towards Turkey establishing its credentials as a candidate for EU membership. And it's good news for Armenia too.

Since I argued that Barack Obama might have been tougher on Turkey and the question of recognising the Armenian genocide, one should admit that staying relatively quiet was probably a sensible move. That doesn't mean that the improvement in relations between Ankara and Yerevan necessarily has anything to do with any so-called "Obama Effect", merely that the Amrican president didn't make matters worse by inflaming Turkish opinion at a delicate, sensitive time.

Turkey will still need to make a proper accounting of the genocide at some point, but in terms of substance and the improvement of Armenian lives, normalising links with Turkey is rather more important to the well-being of your average Armenian than insisting upon Turkish recognition of the genocide even if, as I say, that will need to come eventually.

Written byAlex Massie

Alex Massie is Scotland Editor of The Spectator. He also writes a column for The Times and is a regular contributor to the Scottish Daily Mail, The Scotsman and other publications.

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