Identity Conflicts? The Sense of ‘Victimhood’ and the Enemy Images of Turkey and Azerbaijan in the Foreign Policy Discourse of Armenia

  • Aram Terzyan Malmo University
Keywords: Armenian-Turkish, Armenian-Azerbaijani relations, Victim, Enemy, ‘Self’-‘Other’

Abstract

Students of Armenia’s foreign policy have broadly treated the troubled relations with neighboring Azerbaijan and Turkey as an unsurprising consequence of the long-standing Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. It is taken for granted that  the volatile geopolitics of the South Caucasus region is the core rationale behind the perpetual confrontations and hostilities (Melander, 2001; Shaffer, 2009).

However, this line of thinking tends to overlook the ideational landscape of the turbulence . This article argues that modern Armenia’s political identity has been characterized by an acute sense of ‘victimhood’ arising from the  memory of the Armenian Genocide, and that Turkey plays an important role as an ‘Other’, which enhances Armenia’s self-image as a ‘victim’. It  suggests that negative images of  Turkey and its ally Azerbaijan are deeply embedded, rather than being a product of manipulation . Yet the ruling elite has consistently appealed to the enemy images  in attempts to assert Armenia’s ‘victimhood’, divert attention from complex problems and legitimate its power by presenting the country’s plight as ‘structurally inevitable’ in its ‘dog-eat-dog’ neighborhood. Furthermore, it argues that Armenia’s self-image of a ‘victim’ has significantly affected the treatment of Russia as an indispensable security ally.

References

Armeniandiaspora. (2009). Coalition Partner Leaves Armenian Government Over Deal With Turkey. [online]. Available at: http://www.armeniandiaspora.com/showthread.php?168693-Coalition-Partner-Leaves-Armenian-Government-Over-Deal-With-Turkey [Accessed 22 Nov. 2017].
Asbarez. (2001). Kocharian Discusses Territorial Claims in Interview With Turkish TV. [online]. Available at: http://asbarez.com/44407/kocharian-discusses-territorial-claims-in-interview-with-turkish-tv/ [Accessed 7 Jan. 2018].
Aravot. (2017). Mi Spaseq meznic takardi mej ynknelu miamtutyuny: Ashotyany Elqin. [Do not expect from us the gullibility of falling into a trap: Ashotyan to ELQ}. [online]. Available at: http://www.aravot.am/2017/11/27/922568/ [Accessed 8 Dec. 2017].
Azatutyun..(2003). Kocharian Says Armenians, Azeris ‘Ethnically Incompatible’. [online]. Available at: https://www.azatutyun.am/a/1570666.html [Accessed 14 Feb. 2018].
Cacianalyst/ (2010). Turkey Enhances Pressure oN Armenia after Consititutional Court Ruling. [online]. Available at: http://www.cacianalyst.org/publications/analytical-articles/item/11986-analytical-articles-caci-analyst-2010-2-3-art-11986.html [Accessed 28 Dec. 2017].
Campbell, D. (1998). Writing Security: United States Foreign Policy and the Politics of Identity. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press.
Crrc. (2015). Survey on Armenia-Turkey Relations. [online]. Available at: http://www.crrc.am/hosting/file/_static_content/events_attachments/CRRC-Armenia_press%20release.pdf [Accessed 17 Nov. 2017].
Eurasianet, (2003). Russia Tightens Grip on Armenia With Debt Agreements. [online]. Available at: http://www.eurasianet.org/departments/business/articles/eav050703.shtml [Accessed 13 Feb. 2018].
Europeanforum. (2009). Massive protests in Armenian Diaspora against Armenia-Turkey protocols. [online]. Available at: https://www.europeanforum.net/headlines/massive_protests_in_armenian_diaspora_against_armenia_turkey_protocols [Accessed 27 Dec. 2017].
Freedomhouse. (2005). Freedom in the World: Armenia. [online]. Available at: https://freedomhouse.org/report/freedom-world/2004/armenia [Accessed 2 Dec. 2017].
Galstyan, N. (2016). Armenia's Foreign Policy in the Public Perception In: Kakachia, K., & Markarov, A., ed., Values and Identity as Sources of Foreign Policy in Armenia and Georgia, Universal, pp. 233-263
Gasparyan, A. (2016). The Armenian Political Elite's Approaches and Beliefs in Foreign Policy In: Kakachia, K., & Markarov, A., ed., Values and Identity as Sources of Foreign Policy in Armenia and Georgia, Universal, pp. 184-232.
Ghaplanyan, I. (2017). Post-Soviet Armenia: The New National Elite and the New National Narrative. Routledge.
Giragosian, R. (2009). Changing Armenia-Turkish Relations. Friedrich Ebert Stiftung. [online]. Available at: http://library.fes.de/pdf-files/bueros/georgien/06380.pdf . [Accessed 2 May 2018].
Heo, S. E. (2012). Reconciling enemy states in Europe and Asia. Springer.
Hermann, R. K. (2003). Image Theory and Strategic Interaction in International Relations In: Sears. D., Huddy L. and Jervis. R., ed., Oxford handbook of political psychology, 1st ed. Oxford University Press, pp. 285-314
Interview.(2015). Margaryan, H., Armenia’s Relations with Neighbours [Interview] (19 August 2015)
Kocharyan R. (2011). Eluytner ev harcazruycner {Speeches and Statements},Yerevan
Mediamax.am. (2011). Armenian President: “Azerbaijan considers Europe only as a convenient oil and gas market”. [online]. Available at: http://www.mediamax.am/en/news/politics/628/ [Accessed 28 Feb. 2018].
Melander, E. (2001). The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict revisited: was the war inevitable?. Journal of Cold War Studies, 3(2), 48-75.
Middents, G. (1990) Psychological Perspectives on Enemy-Making. Organization Development Journal. Summer, 44-48.
Mikhelidze, N. (2010). The Turkish-Armenian Rapprochement at the Deadlock DOCUMENTI IAI 10, pp. 1-9.
Mirzoyan, A. (2010). Armenia, the regional powers, and the West: between history and geopolitics. Springer.
News.am (2016). Armenia official: April war once again proved terrorist nature of Azerbaijan. [online]. Available at: https://news.am/eng/news/azerbaijan/allthemes/ [Accessed 18 Jan. 2018].
News.am. (2009). Serzh Sargsyan’s pan-Armenian tour: Diaspora this week. [online]. Available at: https://news.am/eng/news/5777.html [Accessed 17 Feb. 2018].
News.am. (2010). On Turkey’s discontent with Armenian Court. [online]. Available at: https://news.am/eng/news/12592.html [Accessed 20 Nov. 2017].
Petersson, B. (2006). Stories about Strangers: Swedish media constructions of socio-cultural risk. University Press of America.
Rferl. (2009). Armenian Party Seeks To Criminalize Talk Of Karabakh Concessions. [online]. Available at: https://www.rferl.org/a/Armenian_Party_Seeks_To_Criminalize_Talk_Of_Karabakh_Concessions_/1870903.html [Accessed 14 Feb. 2018].
Sargsyan. (2008). Speech delivered by President Serzh Sargsyan in the United States at the official reception hosted by the Embassy of Armenia to the US, Permanent Mission of Armenia to the United Nations and leading Armenian-American organizations. [online]. Available at: http://www.president.am/en/statements-and-messages/item/2008/09/24/news-18/ [Accessed 22 Feb.. 2017].
Sargsyan. (2010). Remarks by The President of the Republic of Armenia H.E. Serzh Sargsyan at the OSCE Meeting of the Heads of State or Government (Summit). [online]. Available at: http://www.president.am/en/statements-and-messages/item/2010/12/02/news-78/ [Accessed 26 March 2018].
Sargsyan. (2011a). Speech of Serzh Sargsyan, the President of the Republic of Armenia, in the House of representatives of the Republic of Cyprus. [online]. Available at: http://www.president.am/en/statements-and-messages/item/2011/01/17/news-84/ [Accessed 19 Feb. 2018].
Sargsyan. (2012). Statement by the President of Armenia, Chairman of the Republican Party of Armenia Serzh Sargsyan at the14th RPA Convention. [online]. Available at: http://www.president.am/en/press-release/item/2012/12/15/Address-by-Serzh-Sargsyan-at-the-14th-Republican-Convention/ [Accessed 13 Dec. 2017].
Sargsyan. (2013a). Statement by the President of the Republic of Armenia Serzh Sargsyan at the Ceremony of Inauguration. [online]. Available at: messages/item/2013/04/09/Statement-by-Serzh-Sargsyan-at-the-Ceremony-of-Inauguration/ [Accessed 11 Nov. 2017].
Sargsyan. (2013b). Statement by President Serzh Sargsyan at the extended meeting held at the RA Ministry of Defense. [online]. Available at: http://www.president.am/en/statements-and-messages/item/2013/01/15/President-Serzh-Sargsyan-speech-session-Ministry-of-Defense/ [Accessed 19 Dec. 2017].
Sargsyan. (2013c). President Serzh Sargsyan participated at the Summit of the EPP Eastern Partnership Leaders in Chisinau. [online]. Available at: http://www.president.am/en/press-release/item/2013/07/11/President-Serzh-Sargsyan-participated-in-EPP-summit-Moldova/ [Accessed 21 Nov. 2017].
Sargsyan. (2014a). Interview of President Serzh Sargsyan to the Czech “Lidové Noviny” (National News). [online]. Available at: http://www.president.am/en/interviews-and-press-conferences/item/2014/01/30/Interview-of-President-Serzh-Sargsyan-durin-state-visit-to-Czech-Republic/ [Accessed 14 Dec. 2017].
Sargsyan. (2014b). Statement by the President of the Republic of Armenia Serzh Sargsyan at the High-level Meeting on the 5th Anniversary of the Eastern Partnership. [online]. Available at: http://www.president.am/en/statements-and-messages/item/2014/04/24/President-Serzh-Sargsyan-visit-Czech-Republic-April-24-speech/ [Accessed 13 Oct. 2017].
Sargsyan. (2014c). Statement by President Serzh Sargsyan at the 69th session of the UN General Assembly. [online]. Available at: http://www.president.am/en/press-release/item/2014/09/24/President-Serzh-Sargsyan-New-York-speech/ [Accessed 20 Nov. 2017].
Sargsyan. (2015a). President Makes Address at Session of UN General Assembly. [online]. Available at: http://www.president.am/en/press-release/item/2015/09/29/President-Serzh-Sargsyan-speech-UN-General-Assembly/ [Accessed 7 Oct. 2017].
Sargsyan. (2015b). Address by President Serzh Sargsyan to the representatives of the U.S. Expert Community at the Carnegie Endowment. [online]. Available at: http://www.president.am/en/statements-and-messages/item/2015/10/01/President-Serzh-Sargsyan-speech-at-Carnegie/ [Accessed 28 Feb. 2018].
Sargsyan. (2016a). Statement by President Serzh Sargsyan on the Day of Commemoration of the Victims of the Armenian Genocide. [online]. Available at: http://www.president.am/en/statements-and-messages/item/2016/04/24/President-Serzh-Sargsyan-speech-April-24/ [Accessed 21 Nov. 2017].
Sargsyan. (2016b). President Serzh Sargsyan in Nicosia attended the ceremony of unveiling the cross-stone which symbolizes the Armenian-Cypriot friendship. [online]. Available at: http://www.president.am/en/press-release/item/2016/03/16/President-Serzh-Sargsyan-Cyprus-opening-Armenian-khachkar [Accessed 20 Jan. 2018].
Sargsyan (2016c), Statement of President SerzhSargsyan for the Mass Media on the Results of the Meeting with the President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin. [online]. Available at: http://www.president.am/en/statements-and-messages/item/2016/ 08/10/President-Serzh-Sargsyan-statement-in-Russia-10-08/ . [Accessed 10 Feb. 2018].
Sargsyan. (2017). Remarks by President Serzh Sargsyan at the Carnegie Center. [online]. Available at: http://www.president.am/en/statements-and-messages/item/2017/02/28/President-Serzh-Sargsyan-remarks-at-the-Carnegie-Center/ [Accessed 17 Nov. 2017].
Secrieru, S. (2006). Russia's Foreign Policy under Putin:" CIS Project. UNISCI Discussion Papers, (10). [online]. Available at: http://www.redalyc.org/pdf/767/76701018.pdf . [Accessed 17 Jan. 2018].
Shaffer, B. (2009). The geopolitics of the Caucasus. The Brown Journal of World Affairs, 15(2), 131-142.
Stefes, CH. (2008). Governance, the state, and systemic corruption: Armenia and Georgia in comparison. Caucasian Review of International Affairs. 2008, 2(2), pp. 73-83
Tamaki, T. (2010). Deconstructing Japan's image of South Korea: identity in foreign policy. Springer.
Ter Petrossian, L. (2018). Armenia's Future, Relations with Turkey, and the Karabagh Conflict. Palgrave Macmillan
Ter- Petrosyan, L. (2006), Yntrani: Eluytner, Hodvacner, Harcazruycner {Selected Speeches, Articles, Interviews, Archives of the First President of the Republic of Armenia}, Erevan
Terzyan, A. (2016). The Evolution of Armenia’s Foreign Policy Identity: The Conception of Identity Driven Paths. Friends and Foes in Armenian Foreign Policy Discourse In: Kakachia, K., & Markarov, A., ed., Values and Identity as Sources of Foreign Policy in Armenia and Georgia, Universal, pp. 145-183.
Terzyan, A. (2016b), The Evolution of the European Union’s Conception in the Foreign Policy Discourse of Armenia: Implications for U-turn and the Path Beyond the Association Agreement’, Eastern Journal of European Studies, 7(2), pp. 165-184
Terzyan, A. (2017). The EU vs. Russia in the foreign policy discourse of Armenia: The fragility of normative power or the power of Russian coercion? Eastern Journal of European Studies, Volume 8, Issue 2, pp. 185-203.
Terzyan, A., Galstyan, N. (2015). The Portrayal of “The Other” in Foreign Policy Discourse and Public Consciousness in Armenia (2008–present). Caucasus Analytical Digest, No. 77, 2-6.
Published
2018-11-05
How to Cite
Terzyan, A. (2018, November 5). Identity Conflicts? The Sense of ‘Victimhood’ and the Enemy Images of Turkey and Azerbaijan in the Foreign Policy Discourse of Armenia. Slovak Journal of Political Sciences, 18(2). Retrieved from http://sjps.fsvucm.sk/index.php/sjps/article/view/76