Turkey Again Links Armenia Ties With Karabakh Concessions

ANKARA (RFE/RL)–Turkey will not normalize relations with Armenia before a breakthrough in the Nagorno-Karabakh peace process, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Sunday, raising more questions about the implementation of Turkish-Armenian agreements signed the previous night.

“I want to reiterate once again that Turkey cannot adopt a positive attitude unless Armenia withdraws from occupied Azerbaijani territories,” he was reported to tell a news conference held in Ankara after a high-level meeting of Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).

Erdogan made clear that an internationally brokered agreement on Karabakh acceptable to Azerbaijan is critical for the ratification by the Turkish parliament of the two protocols envisaging that the establishment of diplomatic relations and opening of the border between the two nations.

“If the problems between Azerbaijan and Armenia are solved, then it will be easier for the Turkish community to embrace the normalization of the relations between Turkey and Armenia. Also, it will make it easier for the Turkish parliament to adopt the protocols,” he said. The parliament and the Turkish public will therefore be closely following the Armenian-Azerbaijani peace talks, he added.

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, who signed the protocols with his Armenian counterpart Eduard Nalbandian in Zurich late on Saturday, likewise linked their ratification with a Karabakh settlement. “We, the government, want the protocols to pass through Parliament but they need to be submitted for approval in an appropriate psychological and political atmosphere,” he told the state-run TRT television on Sunday.

“Not only Karabakh but also the seven Azerbaijani districts adjacent to Nagorno-Karabakh are under occupation. That should come to an end,” said Davutoglu.

The remarks came just hours after Azerbaijan criticized Turkey for sealing a deal which it said “clouds the spirit of brotherly relations” between the two Turkic countries. “The normalization of relations between Turkey and Armenia before the withdrawal of Armenian troops from occupied Azeri territory is in direct contradiction to the national interests of Azerbaijan,” the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

Official Yerevan did not immediately react to the latest statements by the Turkish leaders. In a televised addressed to the nation on Saturday, President Serzh Sarkisian implicitly threatened to walk away from the agreements if Ankara fails to complete the ratification process “within a reasonable time frame.”

Sarkisian has for months been on the defensive at home and in the Diaspora in the face of criticisms over his pledges to make more concessions to Azerbaijan in the fence-mending talks with the Turks. He has been anxious to disprove any connection between the Karabakh issue and his policy of rapprochement with Turkey, despite the two processes having already been linked by Turkey.

That should explain why Nalbandian strongly objected to a speech which Davutoglu planned to deliver during the signing ceremony in Zurich attended by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and other foreign dignitaries. According to the “Hurriyet Daily News” newspaper, Davutoglu would have declared that the normalization of the historically strained Turkish-Armenian relations “will lead to new reconciliations in the South Caucasus.” The paper said the Turkish side, for its part, protested against Nalbandian’s intention to refer to the 1915 massacres of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire as genocide in his statement.

The dispute delayed the high-profile ceremony by more than three hours. The two sides agreed not to make any statements there in what appears to have been a compromise personally brokered by Clinton. “We had a good night in Zurich,” she said afterwards, according to the Associated Press news agency.

U.S. President Barack Obama reportedly telephoned Clinton to congratulate her on overcoming the last-minute hitch that threatened to scuttle the deal welcomed by both the West and Russia. “He was very excited, he felt like this was a big step forward and wanted to check in,” the Associated Press quoted an unnamed senior State Department official as telling reporters aboard Clinton’s plane as she flew from Zurich to London.

Both Obama and Clinton stated earlier that the Turkish-Armenian agreements should be implemented “without preconditions and within a reasonable timeframe.”


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  1. Pingback: Kamil Pasha » Turkey and Armenia Sign Historic Accord

  2. For1915 said:

    Surprise, surprise!! Let the “games” begin! As if no one saw this coming.

    A diplomatic (another word for “weak”) approach to bringing Turkey to terms with its past only serves to demonstrate the futility of such a thing. 70M+ Turks and 8M+ Armenians: What is wrong with these numbers?

    As long as they have the power to bully us, it is in their nature to bully us (and then some). We need to reexamine and reevaluate our approach with these people. They would rather destroy us than concede to anything that is rightfully ours.

    Armenia is surrounded by those who wish (and have attempted) to destroy her. The solution to this problem is in those above numbers. Diplomacy does not work with remorseless and uncivilized people. Turkey proves that there is strength in numbers and the effect of that for any situation (right or wrong).

    We need to change ourselves before we can force change upon them.

  3. raffi said:

    Turkey doesnt show any mercy neither for what she did nor for what she is doing . Where is Armenia Where are Armenians

  4. Tamzarian said:

    Erdoğan = Dumb
    Sargsyan = Dumber
    Aliyev = Dumbest (No matter what, Aliyev will always be number one.)

  5. Mike said:

    “U.S. President Barack Obama reportedly telephoned Clinton to congratulate her on overcoming the last-minute hitch that threatened to scuttle the deal welcomed by both the West and Russia.”

    Russian newspapers claim that the idea to go ahead and sign without statements belongs to the other Armenian in the room – Sergey Lavrov…

  6. Haro Mherian, PhD Mathematics said:

    ALERT 2: In one of my comments (I don’t recall which article), I stated a few diversion actions to either delay the ratification of the Protocols or hopefully destroy it. Since Mr Erdogan is insisting on linking Garabakh with the Protocol ratification (which I personally don’t want it ratified), then an extremely interesting diversion would be to have a referendum in Artsakh (as soon as possible), in which the goal is to declare Artsakh part of Republic of Armenia («Միացում Հայաստանի Հանրապետութեան»). By raising this political move the “Territorial Integrity” trap of the Protocol would be eliminated before its ratification. Even though this move will certainly not be accepted at international stage, but the status quo will change thereby defying the Protocol ratification.
    In general, let us assume that the Protocols cannot be changed, given this, we must then change the geopolitics conditions in order to eliminate the three traps. One is the Artsakh trap, which I described above. Then there is the Genocide trap and the Sevres treaty trap. These can be eliminated by declaring Diaspora as a result of Genocide, and their land under Turkish illegal occupation (this was already stated in one of the articles of Ara Babyan).

  7. robert malkhasian said:

    Erdogan is day dreaming. What is Armenian will remain Armenian. Not an inch o f Artsakh’s liberated lands will be given to azeri-turks. Long live indepent Artsakh. Long Live Armenia. Long live the Armenian Nation.

  8. Edward Demian said:

    Hello people. Pay attention. Sarkissian signed an agreement without preconditions. Turkey has already brocken it by setting Karabagh rezolution as a precondition. But wait. Their parliament has to ratify it. Let us appear to want a resolution and let them reject it. It will turn out to be a rare diplomatic win for Armenia. All the pressure should dissipate and focus on Turkey then. So relax, someone more astute than me wrote an article about this some time ago and so far it has played right along with the script. Perhaps Sarkissian is playing a more Byzantine game than it is obvious to us here on earth. I surely hope so.
    Edward Demian

  9. gaytzag Palandjian said:

    With much respect and appreciation to all above posts,I wish to commend some good thoughts therein explained.My insight into this issue is above all a more “Hazgerdyan” or above “Byzantine) like.Thus.-
    It is ,has been quite clear that great Turkey ties the Karabagh issue with the ongoing.Years ago I wrote on many an Armenian site and above all to one of our political parties,namely ARF,that we should never have seperated our demands,viz .Genocide Recognition-in extension reparations Land etc.,from that of NAOGRNYI KARABAGH ,OUR ARTSAKH. ONLY ESTERDAY MR. VAZGUEN MANOUKIAN ,EX PREMIER OF RA,in an interview with “Shant” T.V. interlocutor , mentioned that…after a long “tmbir” siesta..whatever..
    We lost that oppertunity,since had we done so right from the beginning the whole world would have understood that our PROBLEM was not IS NOT only the NK solution.It is as above tied together.
    pparently Mr. Erdogan and his diplomacy FULL WELL UNDERSTANDS THAT.In brief ,they are dead scared.
    If we keep all as is ,i.e. an Independetn NK and press for the other two Recognition and reparations..then they will be trapped further and hence their intransigence.For when a turk says no ,in spanisjh we used to bring as example “CABEZA DE TURCO” IMPLYIN TURKISH HARD-HEADEDNESS..(now of course in Spain they do not much use that..since BIG BUSINESS IS PREFERRED THAN CALLING NAMES AND ANTAGONISM.FEW HERE KNOW THAT Javier Solan´s country of birth,also has had its share with the Ottoman Empire, the “La Batalla del Levanto” when the spanish armada crushed theirs on high seas..anyhow,back to ours now.We,thinking all Armenidad have to be as flexible as they are and make a small-outwardly-like concession coming to terms thus:-NK ,Artsakh-let us admit very graciously has never been totally Armenian ,it was partially Persian, mogul azeri, arab and Russian dominated,just read George Bournutyan´s book”KARABAGH” based on facts from historians other than Armenian,etc.,thence:-
    I have suggested even in 1997 in an article entitled “Nagornyi Karabagh after Lisbon” published in Hay Gyank of L.A, to come to a mutual understanding with Azerbaijan , adopt the “Andorra” model.Latter a bone of contention for 2 centuries ,you read right, between Spain and France, and a war..agreed to mutually govern it.
    However,the javier Solana country diplomacy-is such- did so, as they knew most of the population there were ethnic (Catalans) from nearby Province.Nominated -officially the president of France as permanent Pres. of same and Archbishop of Seu D´´Urgel-next door as vice so. actually admitting french parliamentarians in latter -Parliament , a few – ansd above all declaring it as..A FREE TRADE ZONE!!!
    Artsakh we all know was in old times also kept Armenian -see above book-by 5 of our MELIKS..thence if we agree to rename it and not only name but accept above mode of rule,AS “Principlaity of Nagornyi Karabagh”-in Armenian “Gharabaghi Melikutyun” in azeri “Gharebach Malakiat-i” this will appease all parties..especially great Turkey,why not the Anglo Am oil companies and their governments and Russia.Latter tri parties -all they want is peace in the region to be able to suck in more of that precious metal..-.
    I think I have said it all.Except this part. That as concession , rather mutual give and take…JABRAIL AND FIZOULI to be exchangsed with sHAHUMIAN, refugees returned to said areas ONLY:Ig they insist on more concesessions this wise.Then the OSCE Minsk and their supporting tri partite gov. should step in and pull the great Turkey´s ear and tell Azerbaijan off!!
    In such a diplomatic ,move we can always refer to “Andorra” ´s mode of government and point out….
    presented by gaytzag palandjian DO PLEASE VISIT MY WEB SITE.www.ARMENIDAD-worldwide.or
    Thanks for reading me.

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