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From Discord to Cooperation? Armenia and Turkey in the 21st Century

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Dr Geoffrey Edwards.

2018 marks the centenary of the establishment of the Armenian Republic, recognised first by the Ottoman Empire in May 1918. Over the course of the last century Armenia has been on a challenging path towards independence, while Turkey was on the equally difficult quest to establish a secular, democratic state. In 1991, once Armenia declared its independence from the Soviet Union, Turkey once again was among the first to recognise the country. Yet, for a number of reasons, Turkey refused to establish diplomatic relations with its new neighbour, in part because of its unwillingness to recognise the Armenian Genocide. The issue was complicated further when Turkey sealed its border with Armenia in response to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan in 1993. Since then the border has remained closed and the relations between the two states have reached a deadlock.

As Armenia prepares to celebrate hundred years of its first republic, what are the prospects for the relations between the two states a century on? The sealed border continues to have a significant economic, political and social impact on the people of Turkey and Armenia. However, attempts have been made by both countries to resolve differences despite the political stalemate.

The forum, hosted by the European Centre @ POLIS , will seek to address these issues of discord and cooperation between the two countries, aiming to answer the following questions:

• What is the potential for the normalisation of Armenian-Turkish relations? • What are the constraints that prevent the two states from opening the border and establishing diplomatic relations? • How are the relations between Armenia and Turkey affected by Russia and the European Union? • And are there any possibilities for regional cooperation whether at economic, social or political levels?

The forum will be chaired by Dr Geoffrey Edwards, deputy director of the European Centre @ POLIS , Senior Fellow and Emeritus Reader in European Studies.


•Dr Ayşe Zarakol, Reader in International Relations at POLIS and Fellow at Emmanuel College

•Thomas de Waal, Senior fellow with Carnegie Europe

•Prof William Hale, Emeritus Professor of Politics with Special Reference to Turkey, SOAS University.

Refreshments will be served before 4.30pm and the event will be followed by a wine reception in the ARB foyer. For more information please email Lusi at

This talk is part of the All POLIS Department Seminars and Events series.

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