YEREVAN (Combined Sources)—In response to statements made by U.S. State Department spokesman John Kirby, Giro Manoyan, the political affairs director of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation and a member of the party’s Bureau said that Kirby’s statements should serve as the basis for Armenia to raise the issues of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic’s participation in the peace process with Azerbaijan.
Last week during a daily press briefing, Kirby said that the U.S. recognizes the role of the population of Karabakh in deciding their future, but does not recognize Nagorno-Karabakh as an independent sovereign state.
“The need for Nagorno-Karabakh [to] participate in the process instead of waiting for it to be completed must be regularly suggested. This is a basis for raising the issue once more instead of waiting for principles to be laid down and [for] Nagorno-Karabakh [to] be finally involved and forced to say ‘no’ to everything. It would be better if it had an opportunity to voice its opinion. But Azerbaijan is not creating a constructive atmosphere, and this must be the reason why Armenia’s authorities are not raising the issue,” Manoyan said, speaking to Tert.am.
According to Manoyan, foreign policy has reached the point where no headway is possible without Nagorno-Karabakh’s participation.
“I think it has its reasons, because the negotiations are not progressing. It is a fact that Armenia raising the issue could freeze the negotiations. The day anything gets moving, Nagorno-Karabakh must be fully involved in the process from the very beginning, not at the end,” Manoyan said.
Manoyan says that the statement by the US Department of State is not a new thing. Since 2009, the U.S. as well as the other OSCE Minsk Group co-chair states, at the presidential level, have stated that the right to self-determination is one of the three principles of settling the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
“This is the reason for Azerbaijan’s discontent. Azerbaijan is sparing no effort to get this principle annulled. But the world has come to realize that the conflict cannot be settled without it,” Manoyan said.
As to the reasons for the U.S.’s mentioning of the starting point, Manoyan said that the U.SS is trying to press Azerbaijan over the political situation in the country—the reason for recent tensions along the border with Armenia.
“They are trying to divert public attention from domestic problems and creating tension.”
In regards to recent developments in Turkey, Manoyan said that the situation there does not pose a serious threat to Armenia’s security but that there still is a need for vigilance, commenting on the deterioration of relations between the Turkish government and the country’s Kurdish minority.
“We should be vigilant and watch the developments as all this is taking place not far from the Armenian border,” he said.
“These events may impact—I believe they are already impacting Azerbaijan’s opportunities,” Kiro Manoyan added, recalling that sections of the Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum gas pipeline were targeted twice recently.
According to Manoyan, the escalation of tensions in Turkey has only one goal: to stop the country from voting in favor of the pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP) in the upcoming November 1 early elections. Manoyan cited statements made recently by the President and Prime Minister of Turkey to the public: “If you want peace and security in the country, you should vote for one party”.
“Obviously, tension and use of force will continue until November 1, as Erdogan wishes to extend the responsibilities of the president by making changes to the constitution.” Manoyan emphasized.
In regards to the Armenian community in Turkey, Manoyan said that there will be no serious threats, saying that there are three Armenian deputies in Turkish parliament, including one from the ruling Justice and Development party. “I do not exclude that the authorities will conduct anti-Armenian policies and threaten them but they will not undertake serious operations,” Manoyan said. According to his assessment, Armenia must take lessons from the situation in Turkey as it can influence Azerbaijan’s policies.
The situation in Turkey has sharply escalated in recent months after the Islamic State militant group carried out a bombing attack in Suruc on the border with Syria, and Turkish police officers were killed in the country’s southeast, with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) claiming responsibility for the killings. On July 24, Turkish troops attacked positions of the Islamic State in northern of Syria as well as PKK positions in northern Iraq, using F-16 fighter jets, tanks and artillery. In response, the PKK stated on its website that the peace process with Ankara was over. Turkish President Erdogan also rejected the peace process.