Normalization | Brussels Sprouts | NSC Chair in DC | Armenia Project Tour | Ep. 108 - Dec 19, 2021 [EP108]

Posted on Tuesday, Dec 21, 2021 | Category: Armenia, Artsakh, Azerbaijan | Series: WIR

ANN/Groong Week in Review - December 19, 2021


  • Turkish-Armenian normalization
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Armen Grigoryan in Washington DC
  • The Armenian Project - US Tour
  • Analyst Rants


Episode 108 | Recorded: December 20, 2021

Show Notes

Turkish-Armenian Normalization

A few days before the trip to Brussels, a little unexpectedly we heard news reports that Armenian-Turkish relations are in the process of being normalized. The two countries were at the time slated to nominate envoys for the process. Another surprise, for us, was that the news was announced by Mevlut Cavusoglu (Turkey’s foreign minister) at a routine event. Only a day after it was confirmed by the Armenian Foreign Ministry in a short statement.


  • What does this process mean? Also, why was this anxiety-ridden topic for Armenians disclosed to the Armenian public in such a manner?
  • What does “normalization” mean? Is now the right time to normalize relations for Armenia? And if not, when is the right time to normalize relations?
  • Is the noise raised by the opposition for internal consumption or is there really something to worry about?
  • Isn’t “talking to the enemy” a good thing?
  • Is the problem only that there is distrust in who is doing the talking OR have we already seen causes for concern?
  • What is the right model of normalization for Armenia and Turkey to pursue?



  • What is the history of this episode of “warming”
    • Has this process been going on for longer than the Armenian government is admitting?
    • When did the Armenian government start working towards normalizing relations?
    • There were reports several months ago that Armenia sought Georgia’s help in establishing relations with Turkey, with Pashinyan even visiting Batumi for that purpose. Then, the process seems to have been transferred to the 3+x platform. What followed in these developments?
  • Announcements
    • Turkey announced it a day earlier, in an unceremonial manner at a parliamentary committee hearing
    • Armenian MFA, the following day made an unceremonious statement on their website
  • The Turkish and Armenian envoys are known:
    • Who is Serdar Kiliç?
    • Who is Ruben Rubinyan?

Brussels Sprouts

Pashinyan and President Aliyev met twice. Once with Charles Michel, and once with Emmanuel Macron.


  • What was achieved in Brussels?

Note Aliyev’s statement about equating Berdzor/Lachin corridor with the “Zangezur corridor” & threatening to put checkpoints there.


  • Why did he say this in Brussels, but not in Sochi?

The entire analytical community expected this meeting to be around humanitarian issues such as return of POWs, minefield maps, etc… Yet in reality it appears that they touched on geopolitical issues, including apparently coming to an agreement on a rail route going through Meghri.

There was an alternative rail route from Ijevan to Qazakh.


  • Can you describe the difference between the southern route through Meghri and the northern route, which at one point was touted by Pashinyan?
  • What is the advantage and disadvantage of each?
  • Ijevan-Qazakh seems to already be mostly there.
  • Details about the train route

Armen Grigoryan in Washington DC

Armen Grigoryan, the secretary of Armenia’s National security council visited the US.


  • Was this a consequential visit, or was it just PR?

The Armenian Project - US Tour

Varuzhan Geghamyan co-founded The Armenian Project and was touring various communities recently and will reflect on these meetings and provide more details about the project.

Thoughts from the Participants

  • Hovik: On Malena’s winning Eurovision performance.


We hope you found our Week in Review helpful. We invite your feedback and your suggestions, you can find us on most social media and podcast platforms. Thanks to Laura Osborn for the music on our podcasts.


Varuzhan Geghamyan

Varuzhan Geghamyan

Prof. Varuzhan Geghamyan is assistant professor at Yerevan State University’s Department of Oriental Studies, teaching courses on Turkey’s modern history, History of Azerbaijan; Sociocultural anthropology of Azerbaijan; Political ideologies and parties in Modern Turkey & History of the Turkish Republic.


Asbed Bedrossian

Asbed Bedrossian

Asbed is founder of the Armenian News Network Groong and co-founder of the ANN/Groong podcast.

Hovik Manucharyan

Hovik Manucharyan

Hovik Manucharyan is an information security engineer who moved from Seattle to Armenia in 2022. He co-founded the ANN/Groong podcast in 2020 and has been a contributor to Groong News since the late 1990s.

Disclaimer: The views expressed by Hovik Manucharyan on the ANN/Groong podcast are his own and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of his employer or any other organization.

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