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tv   Inside Story  LINKTV  December 16, 2021 5:30am-6:01am PST

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in place for three years. ♪ >> hello again. the u.s. president says the federal government will cover the first month of cleanup cost caused by tornadoes. joe biden toward the devastation in kentucky. president biden: i have been involved in responding to a lot of disasters. you can see in people's faces that what they are looking for is to be able to put their head
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down on a pillow, close their eyes, take a breath, go to sleep, and make sure that the kids are ok. that is what people are looking for but a lot of hard work has to happen in the next three months for people to bring it all back. the government will cost 100% of the costs for the first 30 days. every single cost, the government is going to take care of. u.k. reports the highest number of covid-19 cases since the start of the pandemic and warns omicron will lead to an even bigger surge of infections. there has been a breakthrough at the nuclear talks in vienna. cameras will be able to film at a sensitive site. the issue had been a sticking point.
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zelensky spoke in brussels at the summit. over 100,000 russian troops on the border with ukraine, stoking fears of a possible invasion. a 79-year-old is supposed to be serving a sentence after defying a court. and qatar is out of fifa cup after losing to algeria. there was a late equalizer and extra time but algeria won with a penalty kick and will face tunisia in the finals on saturday. you are up to date. up next, inside story. ♪
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>> longtime fs make ands. why is it happening now, and can they build trust after decades of animosity? this is inside story. ♪ hello and welcome to the program. relations between armenia and turkey have been frosty and tense, even hostile. there was a mass killing of armenians in world war i but there are a current territorial dispute with azerbaijan.
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but things might improve. monday, turkey announced they will appoint special envoys to normalize ties. armenia confirmed a few hours later. the u.s. welcomes the decision. ankara will coordinate steps with azerbaijan. >> i want to share some news. we have consulted with azerbaijan and soon will mutually appoint special representatives with armenia for steps towards normalization. we will act with azerbaijan every step and in the near future, start charter ties with armenia. >> relations have been strained since the mass killing of armenians in the early 20th century during the ottoman empire. often referred as the first genocide, 1.5 million people were killed. turkey rejects the killings amounted to work -- amounted to
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genocide. the border between the countries has been closed since the 1990's and relations put on hold. in 2000 nine they signed a peace accord but the deal was never ratified. five years later, turkey offered condolences for the first time over the killings of armenians. joining us from istanbul, a professor of international relations. and richard in armenia, and istanbul, matthew reiser. welcome to you all. let's start with the first guest in istanbul.
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this has been a long time coming but the latest announcement is basically two jobs, two special envoys, and some flights between some countries. is it the breakthrough countries were looking for, or just a good start? >> a good start for the whole region. they've been negotiating for a long while. but after some tries, they failed to start. it seems like for the first time , there is a suitable environment in the region to get together and work on relations. they will positively affect overage and.
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-- they will positively affect all of the region. if they establish diplomatic relations it would bring peace across the region. >> richard, one of the sticking points has been language. was it a mass killing of armenians, or genocide? has the language been sorted out? >> i would argue that language is not a sticking point. we are talking about a process of normalization, not reconciliation. dealing with history is deferred
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to a later stage for reconciliation. but these are just basic objectives of normalizing relations. establishing diplomatic relations on opening the border. that's it. more practical and realistic. >> it is, but we have seen this before in international relations between jordan and israel and yet have not really progressed since the mid-1990's. all that has really happened is they are flights, but not true peace agreement between those countries. are you confident turkey can break that mold? >> yes, there is that possibility. this time, the parties know each other and expectations are not that high. they are just a start the move
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forward. they are willing to work together and now azerbaijan is involved in the process. so the equation is ready to move forward. there are some issues, but the parties are not concentrating on the big issues, they are concentrating on practical starting points. an all-inclusive perspective, so i have a positive perspective towards the success of this. >> how important was it that azerbaijan was part of the discussion?
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was that a driver for these latest talks? >> very much so. if we look back at the first run of engagement, the protocol process in 2008, azerbaijan belatedly opposed and then derail the process. now in a post world -- postwar reality, azerbaijan is more willing to see what they can do with normazation. a second round of negotiation, they learned lessons from the past and it is a low hanging fruit. a rare success for turkish foreign policy. >> matthew, one of the most interesting things about this is it was not u.s. influenced or led accord. it was these two countries getting together with azerbaijan and saying they could take the step.
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was the u.s. involved in any way? was it a surprise for them? >> i do not think it is a surprise for them at all. i was very involved in the mediation process in 2009 and president obama was strongly encouraging reconciliation. this time, the u.s. has not played that role. it lost a lot of significance in the region over the last couple presidencies, especially last year in july when the u.s. was not involved in mediation. i know president biden supports the reconciliation of turkey and armenia. i know that azerbaijani government would like to see reconciliation of armenia with
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azerbaijan and turkey. azerbaijan, armenia, and russia have signed agreements calling for reopening of all transit routes between armenia and azerbaijan, turkey, and russia. i think the armenian president has wanted to see normalization happened because it will lead to investment, economic growth, jobs, stability. but he has been obstructed by his political opponents who have talked about continuing, -- continuing conflict. so it is not a surprise for the u.s. because diplomats realize that the pieces were in place. armenia, turkey, azerbaijan, and russia would all like to see this normalization. >> let's talk about economics.
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the turkish lira is taking against the dollar. turkey needs investment. was that a driver for this? a lot of investment can be made. >> that's true. but all of the networks established via turkey to the region. [indiscernible] [echo in audio] to move forward to link to turkey as peaceful in the region
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. it is important that turkey has removed all political obstacles. it seems like armenia is giving a green light. ankara is ready to negotiate. >> richard, is this advantage because of the economic situation turkey finds itself in, does armenia have the upper hand? >> i would not say that. but there are important
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observations. economics and trade for the first time ever are now recognized as important incentives in this postwar period. that is important in terms of positive change. secondly, four turkey, normalization is not just about armenia. it is normalization with israel and the uae. it is also about russia. after the war last year, russia exploded turkey. so for ingres, normalization with armenia is a way to regain a seat at the table for the broader problems, restoration of regional trade and reopening of borders. so in that context, armenia is in a good position to counter the threat of isolation. >> matthew, russia is in a good
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position, but it does not mean the americans have a seat at the table. do they have relevance here? >> i was hinting at that before. i think u.s. relevancy has decreased dramatically since right before and during the war. the u.s. is still the u.s. and a member of the multilateral working group called the minsk group. but the role in that organization remains to be seen. the basics of the conflict have been settled militarily and there is a need for negotiation and a comprehensive peace agreement and an agreement to demarcate the borders. and russia was able to insert in a communique to say the parties
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will begin negotiations and form working groups and russia will help them. so russia stepped in with a 2000 person peacekeeping force. turkey has a smaller peacekeeping contingent. the u.s. is not absent but it is unclear to me what role they will play. for the last few administrations, since george w. bush, they have not been much of a -- that was in reaction to a very active engagement by the bush administration in the south caucus. so the u.s. by choice has sort of withdrawn. not entirely but they have seated diplomatic c -- ceded
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diplomatic territory to other countries. >> turkey bought russia defense systems, which angered the u.s. does one thing have to do with another? our normalized relations a gift to the u.s. -- are normalized relations a gift to the u.s.? >> turkey has issues with some countries but they are an independent country. [indiscernible] it is a game changer to change
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the environment. it serves american interests but it serves russia, as well. they are not working to rezone the issue. [indiscernible] but change the environment. it will be a game changer. i do not think the u.s. or others would work against it. [indiscernible] maybe russia will be part of developments. [indiscernible]
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>> richard, but we keep talking about normalizing relations, not a consolidation of relations. russia is a key player. what is russia looking to get out of this, do you think? >> i would argue that russian support is both demonstrable and also necessary. what we see is even with the reopening of the border between turkey and armenia, it is also turks between -- it is russian own to sectors of the economy that benefit most and first over border reopening. for russia, there is little danger of losing armenia to nato or turkey. having said that, i do think the
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future in terms of normalization is a process that is inevitable. it is not a question of if, but when and how. >> but is it inevitable because the russians are deeply involved, or was it always going to happen? >> i think there is an accidental conversion of interests for turkey, armenia, and azerbaijan. this is a rare positive game changer in a region very much at risk. >> do you trust the russians? >> yes. russians have limited capacity in terms of [indiscernible]
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[echo in audio] but this new trend is between turkey and armenia. [indiscernible] [inaudible] there is a potential that the union will reach more to the west. >> matthew, it is almost extraordinary to think that post
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world war ii, there is a finally an agreement on international conflict that the americans and russians can get behind. that seems unusual. would you agree? >> is quite unusual. i have to say in my experience as a u.s. mediator, there was a moment in september 2008, one month after russia invaded georgia, when i had a conversation with the russian foreign minister. he made clear that as opposed as the u.s. and russia are in georgia, we were on the same side when it came to a conflict. it was not just rhetoric. the way they spoke was sincere. they collaborated with us, looking for breakthroughs in ways to move the process
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forward. i always thought the russian side wanted to avoid the armed conflict. they wanted a framework in place, but maybe not to finalize it. be a peacemaker but allow for some instability on the horizon so they could stir the pot in the future. they were not in favor of it then but now they are. >> turkey and armenia are the main drivers of this agreement, not russia or the u.s.. did you ever think this day would come? >> yes. i have been long engaged and invested in normalization between armenia and turkey and now my eternal optimism is justified. >> i thought the day would come.
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for the first time, they have declared they are ready to move. [indiscernible] [inaudible] >> although this is a turkey-armenia success, i will ask matthew the last question. if this works out and the americans and russians can get behind it, does that mean they can get behind other disagreements, or is this a one-off? >> i think this is a one-off for all sorts of reasons. the russian side always negotiated in good faith when dealing with the core of carbo
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baca and it would be hard for armenia to be any more dependent on russia than it is and if russia wants to improve diplomatic standing, that means they have to improve relations with azerbaijan. russia sees this as a zero-sum game. >> i want to thank all of our guests and you for watching. you can see the program again any time by visiting al jazeera.com. and for further discussion, facebook. and join the conversation on twitter. goodbye for now. ♪
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