Monday, September 28, 2009

Ahh gelmez olaydım

Ahh görmez olaydım

Hat tip to my dear friend Fatih for finding this beautiful song...and judging by the youtube comments, brilliant as always, there is actually a somewhat-decent lede into this post.

According to, well, just about everybody (even Clinton! Jeez, who could've guessed?), Turkey and Armenia are about to normalize relations. This is big-deal stuff, rewrite the history books stuff. And really, can only be sniped about by the extremists on both sides. Good stuff, fellas.

So, uhh, where do we go from here? I should go forwards by saying that I know very little about Armenia as a sovereign (or communist) state. Soooo yeah, keep that in mind. Say, did you know that it's a member of La Francophonie? That's weird.

So trade with Turkey is a really good thing for Armenia. The border has been pretty much welded shut since Armenia and Azerbaijan got into a fight over Naxcivan and Nagorno-Karabagh (which I always confuse with Kabardino-Balkaria) back during the Soviet Breakup. Armenia is basically the southern border of the Caucasian Confusion, and being landlocked and ex-Soviet and bordering Azerbaijan (getting out of a war), Iran (still kinda/sorta doing the Islamic Revolution, which is awkward for Christian neighbors), and Georgia (YOU try dealing with Misha) is no fun. So a link with Turkey, by far the biggest economy between Germany and India is really only good news, on the business suit side of things.

Unfortunately, that also means that the alphabet suit of economic hitmen are well entrenched there, and the Turks are going to deal with them and everyone else trying to get a piece of the pie. $1.1 of IMF money ain't nothing to sneeze at, and you can bet that the IMF won't be forgetting it. And this pretty much precludes Armenia from developing a self-sufficient economy for reasons that are a whole other post, unfortunately.

Basically...Armenia doesn't have a lot of resources. It's an awful lot similar to Georgia in a lot of regards, except with a better-situated diaspora (hey, did you know that Kardashian = "Son of the brother" in Turkyeren?) So the real big deal that this treaty hopefully represents is a way out for the Armenian government, in a way. Georgia, Israel, and Armenia (and Uzbekistan and Thailand and a whole lot of other places...but let's stick with these 3) are the West's pet projects. They are 3 burgeoning democracies with doo-rah nationalisms and reliant on foreign aid. Georgia and Israel have both been very big on using their militaries to protect their borders above anything else. Armenia fought a pretty one-sided war with Azerbaijan, sure, but they never tried to get back the areas of Turkey they could have claimed with some legitamacy. Which probably was pretty smart, because Turkey was really just itching for an excuse to break out their toys for oh, the past 40 years or so.

So Armenia can be one of these pet democracies, but without the military complex. Here's there chance to open up some nice trade routes, hope that the Aliyevs won't try anything too brash, and try to get rich Armenians abroad to come back (how does Herzl translate?) Crazier things have happened. But Armenia is probably in a great spot to become a successful ex-Soviet state, and can maybe even give my Central Asian Republics, particularly the resource-poor Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan, a blueprint to success. A blueprint that involves wealthy diaspora and economic powerhouse neighbors, but still, a blueprint. I'm admittedly optimistic about the whole thing.

And hey! A post on Armenia-Turkey stuff without talking about Ottoman times. Well, almost. Operation Nemesis had one of the more Metal names (and goals) of pre-WWII history. And Tehlirian's trial is always a fascinating read for any law students.

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