Erdogan Seeks Meeting With Sarkisian

ANKARA (RFE/RL)–Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan asked for a meeting with President Serzh Sarkisian in the US next week through a high-ranking Turkish envoy who visited Yerevan on Wednesday.

Feridun Sinirlioglu, the Turkish Foreign Ministry undersecretary, met Sarkisian and Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian to discuss the current state of the stalled Turkish-Armenian normalization process and ways of salvaging it.

Sarkisian’s office said Sinirlioglu conveyed to the Armenian president Erdogan’s request for face-to-face talks on the sidelines of an nuclear security summit that will take place in Washington on April 12-13. Both leaders are due to attend the summit.

A statement by the office did not specify whether Sarkisian accepted the offer. It only cited him as saying that Armenia expects “practical steps” from Turkey that would “guarantee a decisive movement in the process of normalizing relations without preconditions.”

The Armenian Foreign Ministry said Nalbandian likewise told the visiting envoy that Ankara should move to unconditionally implement the fence-mending protocols signed by the two governments last October.

“The Turkish side assured us that they want the process of normalizing Turkish-Armenian relations to continue,” Nalbandian told the Armenian parliament later in the day. “The Armenian side reaffirmed its position and approaches that are in tune with the expectations of the international community, which expects from Turkey practical steps in this direction.”

The presidential press office also said Sinirlioglu assured Sarkisian that the Turkish government is committed to ensuring further progress in the Turkish-Armenian rapprochement. It gave no further details.

An unnamed senior Turkish Foreign Ministry official told AFP news agency ahead of Sinirlioglu’s visit that the envoy “will reassert Turkey’s commitment to the [reconciliation] process but will also convey our concerns.” The official did not elaborate on those concerns.

Erdogan and other Turkish leaders have made clear that the Turkish parliament will not ratify the protocols until a breakthrough in international efforts to resolve the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Yerevan has responded by threatening to walk away from the agreements.

It remains unclear, however, just how long the Sarkisian administration is ready to wait for Turkish ratification. According to some Turkish newspapers, Ankara hopes that the United States will press it not to scrap the agreements.

The Turkish official cited by AFP said Sinirligolu will also discuss in Yerevan “steps that need to be taken to ensure that the process moves forward.” The official also confirmed that Sinirlioglu will prepare the ground for a meeting between the Turkish and Armenian leaders in Washington.

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5 Comments

  1. raffi said:

    It is clear why Erdogan wants to meet sarkissian he wants to show that his loving hearth is open from the Armenians but not his borders . otherwise he is going to carry on the Genocide and deport thr remaining Armenians from Turkey .

  2. Shahen said:

    Absolutely, it's the same old rhetoric from last year. Every time there is a pending resolution, Turkey wants to play nice, once the time has passed you can rely on Turks to do what they do best, lie and deny…

  3. Nairian said:

    Because of the handling of our Sarkisian, Armenia has more of the upper hand; but Turkey's wishy washyness as well as Erdogan's crazy outbursts; Turkey looks even more of a problematic country.

  4. John K. said:

    Usual April 24 diplomatic move by a sly turk official to prevent a gullible US president to say GENOCIDE!!!!!!!!
    After April 24, all goes back to the square one until next year. We seen this scenario one time too many…

  5. Nairian said:

    Erdogan showed his true colours numerous times. He's a denialist Turk with the same fundamentalist fascist Mongolian tribal characteristics that hasn't changed through 1,000 years, who would use the “turkish yataghan” deporting any minority groups that is in his domain.

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