Armenia Criticizes Erdogan Over ‘Friendship’ Statue Row

YEREVAN (RFE/RL)–Armenia criticized Turkey’s government on Friday for planning to tear down a giant monument meant to promote reconciliation between the two estranged nations, saying that could further complicate the normalization of bilateral ties.

The 30-meter (100-foot) unfinished concrete statue, located in the northeastern Turkish city of Kars, just 50 kilometers from the Armenian border, depicts two figures emerging from one human shape and symbolizing the pain of division.

Visiting Kars on Sunday, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan described the monument as a “monstrosity” that overshadows a nearby Islamic shrine. He ordered the Kars mayor, a member of his ruling Justice and Development Party, to replace it with a park. The move prompted strong criticism from some opponents of his government.

Commenting on Erdogan’s statements, Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian said, “Instead of putting new building blocks on the foundation for normalizing bilateral relations, this kind of statements and actions could only cause damage.”

“The international community has not forgotten the most recent statements of this kind, and a new one is being added to them. One can only express regrets,” he told journalists.

Nalbandian also repeated the official Armenian line that the onus is on Turkey to kick-start a rapprochement between the two neighboring states that brought them close to establishing diplomatic relations and opening their border a year ago. He said Ankara has “finally reverted to the language of preconditions.”

Nalbandian referred to the Erdogan government’s refusal ratify the Turkish-Armenian normalization protocols signed in October 2009 before a resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

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10 Comments

  1. Vacheh said:

    The friendship status is a soar reminder that our holy churches (Sourp Arakelots of Kars and Ani Mayr Dajar near Akhourian River) are in a deteriorating state. Hell to that friendship. It is better to tear down that statue. We Armenians cannot be cheated by such cheap actions. Our fundamental issue remains the recognition of Genocide and discussions on returning of our occupied territories, in particular Kars, Ardahan, Van, Ararat Mountains, and several other places.

    As far as Nalbandian is concerned, he should have thought hard 2 years ago and should have envisaged this kind of attitude from Erdogan (neo pan-turkist), before putting his signature on the protocols. If Zoravar Andranik was alive today, he would have never supported what Nalbandian did. Instead, he would have asked his jokats to teach Nalbandian a proper lesson.

    • Frank said:

      Politics aside, just from an artistic perspective that monstrosity should be torn down, such an obvious design with the open hand symbollicaly trying to invite an imaginary invitation for peace.

      On one hand they carry their blood stained sword, the other hand waiting to strike us if we dont bend to their lies and demands.

      I say tear it down, as it dishonors the memory of the victims of the Armenian Genocide.

    • sepastasi mourad said:

      Vacheh, i agree with everything you say

      But how on earth can you refer to Nalbandian and my hero, Zoravar Andranik, in the same sentence???

      It like mixing oil with water

      • Vacheh said:

        Dear Sepastasi Mourad,

        Zoravar Andranik and many other national heroes (Zoravar Dro, Aram Manookian, Garegin Njdeh, General Silikian, Mshetsi Smbat, Gevorg Chavoosh, Serop Aghbyur, etc.) represent our national aspirations and have fought against Pan-Turkists and Ottoman murderers. They would never have stretched a hand of friendship with those who deny the Genocide and refuse our territorial issues.

        Nalbandian on the other hand represents the defeatism and compromising agent who is blind to see the Turkish agenda. He was blind when he put his signature on the protocols. That is why I mention that if Zoravar Andranik was alive today, he would have dispatched his Jokats / Haydouks to teach Nalbandian an appropriate lesson.

  2. Armen SImonian said:

    YOU CAN NEVER TRUST THE TURKISH GOVERNMENT. ANY ARMENIAN LEADER SHOULD HAVE ALREADY KINOWN THAT, HISTORY REPEATS ITSELF. THEY HAVE BROKEN SO MANY PROMISES THAT ANY PROMISE FROM THEM IS AS GOOD AS USED TOILET PAPER. IF ANY NEGOTIATIONS SHOULD CONTINUE WITH THEM, THEN THERE HAS TO BE A SIGNIFICANT COLLATERAL FROM THEM WITH RUSSIA OR FRANCE AS MEDIATORS, USA WILL ONLY KISS THEIR ASS, BECAUSE WE THINK WE NEED THEM. TEARING IT DOWN ONLY REMINDS THE WHOLE WORLD THEIR TRUE NATURE. AND WHAT THE HECK WAS THAT STUPID PROTOCOLS ALL ABOUT AND THE LAME AS SOCCER GAME GET TOGETHER. AGAIN I IWILL SAY NEVER TRUST ANYTHING TURKS PROMISE .

    ONLY SOLID GUARANTEES BACKED UP BY COLLATERALS ARE ACCEPTABLE.

    • ARN.Sweden. said:

      THERE IS ONLY ONE WAY TO SPEAK TO THE TURKS SO THEY UNDERSTAND,
      AND THAT IS BY ACTION.

      WHEN YOU CAN PUT THE TURK IN THE POSITION,
      WHERE HE CAN ONLY CHOSE BETWEEN THE GILJOTIN AND YOU WORDS,
      FIRST THEN WILL HE PAY SERIOUS ATTENTION.

      Arn.Sweden:

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