Obama Hails Protocols as Erdogan Presents Ultimatum
President Barack Obama hailed the Armenia-Turkey protocols and pledged US support for the process as Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erodagan, on the eve of his meeting with the president, issued an ultimatum to the White House saying that normalization process could not move forward without an end to the Karabakh conflict.
“We have announced to U.S. representatives since the beginning that if you want to resolve the Turkish Armenian issue you should also resolve the Karabakh conflict. Otherwise, you will fail to resolve either,” Erdogan told the Azeri ANS TV ahead of his scheduled meeting on December 7 with Obama at the White House.
“This is because the Turkish-Armenian issue and the Nagorno-Karabakh problem are interrelated. I told this to Barack Obama and Dmitry Medvedev, to which they replied: ‘We will accelerate this question,’” claimed Erdogan adding that “if the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is settled, the Turkish-Armenian problem will also be finally resolved.”
Meanwhile in Washington, Obama, in response to a letter addressed to him by a group of Armenian organizations supporting the protocols, among them the Armenian Assembly of America, the AGBU and the Diocese, voiced his “vigorous” support for the protocols, but again fell short of characterizing the events of 1915 as “genocide.”
“I agree that normalization between Armenia and Turkey should move forward without preconditions and within a reasonable timeframe. On October 10, Secretary Clinton represented the United States at the historic signing of the protocols providing a framework for normalization. We continue to support Armenia and Turkey as they move ahead to fulfill the promise of normalization,” said Obama.
“Regarding the past, I deeply appreciate your views on what is one of the great atrocities of the 20th century. As I said in my Remembrance Day message, my view of that history has not changed. My interest remains the achievement of a full, frank, and just acknowledgement of the facts. I believe that the best way to advance that goal is for the Armenian and Turkish people to address the facts of the past as part of their efforts to move forward. We will continue to vigorously support the normalization effort in the months ahead,” added Obama.
“Prime Minister Erdogan – having succeeded in using the Ankara-inspired Protocols to enlist the cooperation of yet another U.S. Administration into its campaign to block recognition of the Armenian Genocide – is now coming to Washington to cement his gains and further press his advantage,” said ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian.
“High on his agenda, it seems, will be showcasing Turkey’s public disregard for President Obama’s twin priorities for Armenia-Turkey normalization, namely that they be established without preconditions and within a reasonable time-frame. Today, more than seven months after our President’s speech in Ankara – during which he broke his pledge to recognize the Armenian Genocide – it’s patently clear that Turkey has in fact imposed preconditions, will not act in a reasonable time-frame, and, more broadly, views this entire process as simply a way to extend U.S. complicity in Turkey’s denials from one April 24th to the next,” added Hamparian.
Erdogan, whose government unequivocally rejected a US call for troops to Afghanistan, travels to the US with the intention to address the Karabakh conflict within the context of the Armenia-Turkey protocols, ignoring Obama’s own clearly-stated view that the Armenia-Turkey talks should proceed without preconditions.
At the same time, the White House has chosen to selectively respond to Armenian-American community concerns, choosing to address only those voices that represent a clear minority in support of the US-backed protocols.