Sarkisian Jeopardizing Armenian National Security, Says Hovannesian

Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian at the EU Eastern Partnership Summit in Prague on May 7, 2009. Sarkisian met with Azeri President Ilham Aliyev and Turkish President Abdullah Gul on the sidelines.

Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian at the EU Eastern Partnership Summit in Prague on May 7, 2009. Sarkisian met with Azeri President Ilham Aliyev and Turkish President Abdullah Gul on the sidelines.

YEREVAN (RFE/RL)–President Serzh Sarkisian is jeopardizing Armenia’s national security with his diplomatic overtures to Turkey, a leading member of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation said on Monday.

Vahan Hovannisian, who leads the party’s faction in parliament, criticized the Armenian government’s “dangerous foreign policy course” as he and other ARF members campaigned for the May 31 municipal elections in Yerevan.

“As an opposition force, we will now certainly bring to your attention many other shortcomings which we might have considered secondary until now because of being convinced that at least the country’s national security is not in danger,” Hovannisian told students of a private university in the capital. “Now it is in danger.”

The former deputy parliament speaker and presidential candidate clearly referred to the Sarkisian administration’s conciliatory policy toward Turkey that led his party to pull out of Armenia’s governing coalition late last month. The move followed Ankara’s and Yerevan’s announcement that they have agreed on a “roadmap” for normalizing Turkish-Armenian relations.

The ARF strongly condemned the April 22 roadmap agreement and left the governing coalition, citing “insurmountable, fundamental disagreements” over the government’s approach toward normalizing relations with Turkey.

The still unpublicized agreement enabled U.S. President Barack Obama to backtrack on his earlier pledges to recognize the Armenian Genocide in his April 24 statement. The ARF says the roadmap has allowed Turkey to manipulate the negotiations. Since negotiations began in September, Yerevan has been making serious concessions to Ankara while failing to secure the lifting of Turkey’s 16-year blockade of Armenia or any guarantees that Turkey will not be allowed a role in the Nagorno-Karabakh peace talks.

Both Sarkisian and Foreign Minister Eduard Nalbandian insist that the Turkish-Armenian negotiations have been going on without any preconditions. Sarkisian said after Thursday talks in Prague with Turkish President Abdullah Gul that they agreed to mend ties “within reasonable time frames.”

However, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan reiterated the next day that Ankara will not establish diplomatic relations and reopen the Turkish-Armenian border before a resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

“No document, including the roadmap, describes the talks as unconditional,” Hurriyet Daily News quoted an unnamed senior Turkish diplomatic as saying on Monday. “Both sides’ conditions are always in their dossiers and guiding the talks.”

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3 Comments

  1. Hye4Life said:

    I hope one day I can see Vahan Hovannesian as the president of Armenia. He is a very smart man and deeply cares about Armenia. A well spoken leader who is not ready to make concessions to Turkey or Azeries in that matter.

  2. Pascal said:

    Every Armenian abroad and in Armenia criticized the ARF for being “outdated old party.” I am not a member of the ARF, nor have been in the past. But to all those who slandered this party, this is the time to listen to them. A whole nation is being sold and ONLY the ARF has the will to stand up and question this shameful sellout. Where are the rest of the 50 plus phony baloney parties in Armenia? Why the silence?
    Unless, of course, Nalbandyan and Sargissyan have some kind of a good news, a Surprise, that would cause all 7 million Armenians to stand up and dance in jubilation.

  3. Bolsohay said:

    As an Armenian of Istanbul I am for good relations between Armenia and Turkey.No one can force Armenians to make territorial concessions.Even the 5 adjacent territories of Artsakh shoud not be surrendered to Azerbaijan.These territories are strategic and help Karabagh to better organize its defense.Azerbaijan has good ties to Russia why Turkey shouldn’t have at least normal relations with Armenia?Armenia’s future lies with its strategic relations with Russia.I don’t have any faith in the western world.They can easily sell us just they did in the past.I speak not a single word in Russian but I would even prefer the worst of Russia to the entire western world including France.Russia is a respected country and no one in the region including Iran can challenge its strenght.We saw what happened during the 2008 August War.Russia finished the job in 4 days…Armenians who believe that Armenia must shift to Nato or Eu etc are those people who have no idea about the history or the current reality of our nation.The weakening of Russia will be the death of our homeland.Wake up! We are Russia’s outpost in the Caucasus just like Israel’s position for American interests in the middle east.Visit Armenia you will see it with your own eyes.Turkey even multiplied with 10.000 and a supporting American uncle always fears Russia I know this fact very well.

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