Erdogan Discusses Protocols, Karabakh with Wall Street Journal

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan

These are edited excerpts of a transcript of an interview with Turkey Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, conducted through a translator on Sunday, Oct. 3.

WSJ: Are you confident that the protocol on reopening the border with Armenia will be signed on Saturday and is it contingent on progress on the Nagorno Karabakh issue at the meeting between the Armenian and Azerbaijani presidents on Saturday?

Reccep Tayyip Erdogan: Thank you for the question I’m very glad you asked this question. Our foreign minister is going to sign this agreement with the Armenian foreign minister [Eduard] Nalbandian on Oct. 10, if there is no negative development on the part of the Armenians from today until the 10th of October, I don’t see any problem with signing of this agreement, because as the world has known and will see again we always stick to our promises. So, so long as there is no change to the text, we are ready as it is now to sign the agreement.

We’d also like to see the Minsk group [an international grouping that oversees peace talks on Nagorno Karabakh] witness the signing of this agreement actually — and if the French don’t come perhaps the Americans or the Russians will come. And in addition to that the meeting in Moldova is very important because although the Armenians sometimes say this agreement has nothing to do with the Azeris, there is in fact a relationship. Because most recently, I believe when president Sarkisian was on an international visit, he was faced by a reaction from the Armenian Diaspora. So what he does in face of the reaction of the Diaspora is very important. If he can stand firm, and if it is the government of Armenia and not the Armenian Diaspora that is determining policy in Armenia, then I think that we can move forward. As far as we’re concerned there is no problem. But it is up to the government in Armenia.

As for the parliament … of course as is the case in any democratic country, in any democratic parliament, what governments do is they prepare a draft, they send it to the parliament, and there is a secret ballot on that and everyone will vote in the way they want to vote, and there is no way one can control that. This in fact happened a few years back on the first of March — what we call the parliamentary motion of the first of March — where the government prepared a motion, sent it to the parliament, but it was not ratified, it did not get a majority of votes in the parliament and could not be passed. I became prime minister after that parliamentary motion was sent to the parliament, this was back in 2003, when we presented a new draft, this was about troops into Iraq. At the time the second draft….got the necessary votes in parliament, but our American friends and our brothers in Iraq did not want to have troops cross into Iraq by the time the second motion passed, so the second draft was not put into practice. ..

What is important and I would like to underline this, because this is perhaps the most important point is that Armenia should not allow its policies to be taken hostage by the Armenian Diaspora. It should be up to the government to carry out its policies. And in that context the Moldova meeting is very important on Nagorno Karabakh, because if you look at Nagorno Karabakh and where it stands today there aren’t in fact too many more issues left to be resolved. There are out of seven regions, five that have been resolved and two, Lachin and Kelbajar to be exact, where there is an issue with the size. If those issues can be resolved there could be a positive result. So all in all there is in fact a move for the better. But we have taken our positive steps. We have been taking pos steps for some time. For example we have allowed flights between Yerevan and Istanbul, cargo flights are free to travel. And we have about 40000 Armenians who live in turkey, who came from Armenia, who do not have the necessary legal papers. We do not send them back, we allow them to stay.

So all of these are important messages actually…

WSJ:  so is signature on the 10th of October contingent on progress at the meeting in Moldova?

R.T.E.: The agreement will be signed on the 10th. It doesn’t have anything to do with what happens in Moldova. But of course a positive development in Moldova will definitely have a positive impact on the process altogether.




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  1. John said:

    I think now is the time for the government of Armenia to officially recognize the free and independent republic of Artsakh. This will definitely lead to Turkey withdrawing from signing the Protocols.

    Unfortunately, the Soviet-style of leadership of Sarkisian and Nalbandian will help the Turks achieve their long-held objectives.

    1- Borders recognized
    2-genocide questioned
    3-Artsakh struggle will be treated as “terrorism” issue

    Congratulations Armenian Government!

  2. Grish Begian said:

    Only history will judge Sargsian, if he was a traitor or not…but for the most of Armenians as of today Sargsian is considered as a traitor …in our sad history if we had less traitors, we were stronger, politically, physically, financially, and geographically, where we lost our historical lands to our enemies, and we could not
    taken back from invaders.

    Good luck to Armenia, all I hope that Turks will not invest in Armenia, they are eager to invest with the help of Armenian Government approval, casinos and whorehouses, for Muslim Turks!!

  3. Katia K. said:

    What an incredible turn of events! What a shame! I would have never imagined an Armenian President doing this in a million years. This is simply baffling!
    Erdogan is ready to sign the protocols… Of course he is… The protocols make up a list of everything Turkey ever wished for.
    His is nervous and concerned that the Diaspora might wake up the Armenian government and have the administration change some of the protocol wording that innocent Erdogan has craftilly snuck into the text to assure that Karapagh is returned, that the Western Armenian lands are forever lost and the Genocide reduced to a study. Of course he is restless and wants the protocols signed fast; he would have never found an Armenian Administration that surrenders everything at a drop of a hat like this one does in his wildest of dreams. This is so childishly plain….” Don’t listen to your family; listen to me because I know what is right for you better than your family does….right.” He is advising Armenia not to let the Diaspora take its policies hostage, so that HE takes Armenia’s policies hostage, which he already has. Simply CRAZY!

    President of Armenia:
    1. Add the following clause to the protocols: ” If the Turkish borders are not opened immediately following the signing of these protocols, these protocols will be considered annulled by Armenia”
    2. Armenia will not sign the protocols unless the clause about accepting the “legality” of the borders is changed to “accepting the existing borders”
    3. Armenia will not sign the protocols unless the mention of a historic commission to study the Armenian Genocide has been taken out because it has no business there.
    4. One day before signing the protocols, Armenia should announce its acknowledgement of the independence of the Republic of Nagorno Karapagh.
    5. It can then sign that it will respect the territorial integrity of neighboring countries.

    If he does not do some of the above, he needs to be brought down. He can go live in Turkey that way he can serve them even better.

  4. AM said:

    I agree with John….

    Erdogan! you think you people always stick to your promises, what type of promises can you explain your promises to us the Diaspora Armenians for some reason that everyone is affraid of us have impact on your PROTOCOL, Serzh is blind Diaspora Armenians are not.

    Back to your promises…..promise the reconginition of the 1915 Genocide that did indeed happend, don’t waist your time on brining historians paying them off too….to tell you and your allies what you want to hear.

    I’ll come to you and tell you about my grandmother’s stories who lived them herself and lost her pregnant mother on the way to Iraq… I dont think she had any reasons to make that up…..who’s father was killed, who had to leave behind her 3 year old brother somewhere on the road dead because they couldnt carry him… dont need historians we are the living historians…..i am just biting my tongue you DOG….SERZH you are another DOG……toon shoon shan vorti munes yeta hyotz batmootiun ches keeder yes kezi gu sorvetznem unshnork unbedk shoon, khmatz gatut keetet var kah yete hayoo gateh???? gasgatz uneem

  5. Katia K. said:

    AM, sirdes baghetsoutzir! They deserve everything you wrote and then some!…