Turkey to Hold Protocols Ratification Hostage For Karabakh Resolution


ANKARA (RFE/RL)–Turkey’s parliament will not ratify the normalization agreements with Armenia unless international efforts to resolve the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict yield a breakthrough that favors Azerbaijan, according to Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu.

“In order to get a yes [vote,] we need to have some progress in the [Karabakh] peace talks because Azerbaijan is a strategic ally and almost a domestic issue for Turkish foreign policy,” Davutoglu said in an interview with Al Jazeera television aired on Monday. The international community should help to end “the illegal occupation of 20 percent of Azerbaijani territories” if it wants a speedy normalization of Turkish-Armenian relations, he said.

“We have been saying that these protocols will have a positive impact on stability in the South Caucasus and particularly on the Armenian-Azerbaijani dispute to end the occupation of Azeri territories by Armenians,” Davutoglu said. “This is our belief. Such progress will definitely have a very positive impact on the ratification process in our parliament.

“If there is a deterioration of the situation [in the Karabakh dispute] or … if there is no hope for such [progress] then the members of our parliament will have a negative tendency to vote. Therefore, we now have to work on a positive scenario.”

When asked whether that means the government of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan will not have its ministers bring the protocols to a vote before it sees decisive progress in the Armenian-Azerbaijani negotiations, Davutoglu replied, “Yes, of course.”

The minister seemed to play down the fact that Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) has a clear majority in Turkey’s Grand National Assembly. “According to our constitution, the government’s responsibility is just sending these agreements to the parliament,” he said, speaking in English. “We can not impose anything on the parliament.”

He also said that the a clause in the protocols that calls for the establishment of a commission to examine whether the Armenian Genocide occurred  would help his government depoliticize the highly sensitive issue. Davutoglu went on to indicate that Ankara is confident that it can get the Turkish-Armenian historical “subcommission” to accept the official Turkish version of the 1915 killings.

“Historical facts should be researched based on historical documents,” Davutoglu said. “There is a historical fact and there is a war of propaganda. Until now what we observed was a war of propaganda for political purposes. “This new condition will take it to the right place: a research based on historical data. Historical data means archives.” “I am self-confident. I know the archives,” he added.

Davutoglu’s remarks were in tune with Erdogan’s repeated preconditions that Turkey will not open its border with Armenia before a Karabakh settlement acceptable to Azerbaijan. Official Baku, which strongly criticized the signing of the Turkish-Armenian protocols earlier this month, was quick to welcome them.

“Azerbaijan relies on the Turkish side’s assurances that it will not open the border with Armenia without a resolution of the Karabakh problem and we have no reason to doubt the Turkish leadership’s statements on the issue,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Elkhan Polukhov told the 1news.az news agency. “We find very positive the fact that the Turkish leaders adhere to their previous positions on the issue.”

The Armenian government did not react to Davutoglu’s interview as of Tuesday evening. President Serzh Sarkisian implicitly threatened earlier to walk away from the agreements if the Turks fail to implement them “within a reasonable timeframe.” Some of his political allies have spoken of “early spring” as Yerevan’s unofficial deadline for the completion of the ratification process.

Armenian leaders continue to claim that negotiations with Turkey continue without preconditions and that neither Turkish-Armenian protocol makes any reference to the Karabakh conflict. Their political opponents claim, however, that the Sarkisian administration promised to make more concessions to Azerbaijan during its fence-mending negotiations with Ankara.

Earlier last week, Nairi Petrosyan, a spokesperson for the Armenian parliament said lawmakers will probably wait for Turkey to act on the treaty before bringing it to a vote themselves.




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  1. Stepan said:

    Good, we hold the line on Karabagh and the Turks will not support ratification. That sounds like a plan and then,maybe, we can learn from this in round 2. Sarkisian must not blink on Karabagh. In fact, don’t do anything. There are plenty of contraditions and veneer coming out of Turkey. Just follow Erogan’s or Davutoglu’s public comments.

  2. Sarkis Y said:

    And there you have it. The fools in Yerevan have again been TKO’ed. Are they happy now? The turk has again stabbed them in the back while they were deep in slumber. …erentz tus togh ela asi noren.

    Goosagtzootioone aveli arak bedke sharje.

  3. Arman said:

    This shows that criminal Turkey can not and will not be a neighbor of good will toward Armenia and if anyone thinks the opposite, they are sorely misguided. I have had a feeling that Turkey will indirectly help Armenia by linking the Karabakh question with the Turkey-Armenia question. I only hope Turkey continues to link the two questions together and thereby torpedo these protocols by itself, because Armenia will never allow Karabakh to be under Azerbaijani rule, even though this is what Turkey and Azerbaijan want, therefore these protocols are doomed from the start. Thank you Turkey for helping us.

  4. John Keusseyan, Lt. Col. USAF (Retired) said:

    It looks like the Turks blinked first. This is good news for Armenians who were against the Protocols. I guess, no pre-conditions means with pre-conditions for the Turks. If the Turks drag their feet on the ratification of the Protocols, this should give Serge Sarkissian the exit strategy that he was looking for.

  5. Armen said:

    Well DUHH!!!!! This is never going to happen so we can all calm down and forget about this protocol thing. On the bright side of things, this will make turkey look bad since they’re the ones who are adding conditions after the fact…

  6. jerry sabounjian said:

    How many times we need to tell the turks that they are not welcomed, and have no business,when it comes to Karabagh talks.
    The U.S , Europe and the Russians keep telling them the same thing over and over. I think the problem is, the bully that they are, they think they can get there way, well they will not. and they may not get this opportunity any time soon. They will be the loosers.

  7. Ishkhan babajanian MD said:

    Unfortunately our inexperienced and unskillful Authorities in Yerevan do not realize that politics is Profession nowadays and their rivals are not honest Armenian people but a bunch of sly politicians in national and international affairs
    And we think that sooner or later the “old Foxes” will bring Armenian authorities to their knees …..

  8. Ara Sabounjian said:

    Are we so dumb???? I can’t see why the Armenian government does not put a precondition like the Turks are asking “to withdraw from the Azeri land Armenia is occupying” He is mentioning that Armenia is . The Armenian government should ask Turkey to withdraw from 37% of Cyprus that they are occupying since the 70s. The Cypriots are our Christian brothers after all.

  9. Aram said:

    I would like to add to all these comments that how we may be sure that the Armenian Government will not make concessions on Artsakh too! After all they sold 1.5 million souls in one signature….how can we be sure about that ?

  10. Pingback: Turkey to Hold Protocols Ratification Hostage For Karabakh … | armeniatoday

  11. Stephen T. Dulgarian said:

    We thank the Turks for not going to ratify the Protocols between Armenia & Turkey in Parliament. Shame on Armenia for having the Foreign Minister signing that Protocol. Serz Sarkisian should be removed from office for not getting the Turks to recognize the Armenian Genocide and to return those lands signed under the Sevres Treaty in 1920. Also reparations must be made to the Armenian Nation. If Turkey & Azerbaijan think the Artsakhsi’s will give one inch of territory back, they better think twice. We didn’t lose 15 thousand soldiers & people for nothing. Artsakhsi’s will fight to the end. The Armenian Government must wake up & listen to the diaspora and the Armenian Revolutionary Federation who is showing the correct road for the Armenian People.