Sarkisian Says He will Annul Protocols

YEREVAN (RFE/RL)–President Serzh Sarkisian has threatened to formally annul Armenia’s normalization agreements with Turkey if Ankara continues to link their parliamentary ratification with the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

In an interview with the Ekho Moskvy radio station aired late on Wednesday, he also said that Armenia is prepared for another war with Azerbaijan and insisted that Karabakh’s final status be determined by the disputed territory’s indigenous Armenian population.

Sarkisian made clear that the stalled process of Turkish-Armenian normalization could resume only if Turkey’s parliament ratifies “without preconditions” the protocols signed by the two governments in October 2009. “I therefore see no point in starting new negotiations,” he said. “The only continuation can be the ratification of those protocols by Turkey’s parliament.”

“If all continues like this, it is possible that the only way out for us will be the withdrawal of our signature from those protocols, and in that case, those protocols will have no legal force anymore, even after being ratified by Turkey,” he warned.

Shortly after the signing of the protocols in Zurich–attended by top diplomats from the United States, Europe and Russia–Ankara made clear that the Turkish parliament will not ratify them without decisive progress in the Karabakh peace process. Azerbaijan, which has been highly critical of the Turkish-Armenian rapprochement, welcomed this linkage.

Sarkisian responded by freezing the process of protocol ratification by Armenia’s parliament in late April. In a televised address to the nation, he said he decided not to scrap the agreements altogether at the request of the U.S. and other foreign powers. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton praised this stance as “very statesmanlike” when she visited Yerevan in July.

The Armenian president raised the temperature in the dispute with Ankara during a state visit to Cyprus last week. Addressing the occupied island’s parliament, he accused the Turks of “destroying” the normalization process and denounced their perceived efforts to take on a leadership role in the region.

Sarkisian similarly blasted Turkish foreign policy in the Ekho Moskvy interview. “The policy of ‘zero problems’ [with neighbors] declared by the Turks amounts to looking for solutions only beneficial for Turkey,” he said.

“We do realize that Turkey is a big state, that the Turkish economy has grown strongly in recent years, that Turkey is a member of the G20 [group of nations.] But that doesn’t mean they can act like our mentors. They are not our instructors,” he added.

Turning to the Karabakh conflict, Sarkisian said that the only way to resolve it is to eventually hold a referendum on self-determination in Karabakh and again denounced Azerbaijani threats of military action. “We are prepared for any development of events,” he said when asked about the possibility of renewed large-scale fighting.

Sarkisian further noted that he thinks Russia is capable of preventing another Armenian-Azerbaijani war. “Given Russia’s big weight and possibilities in our region, our expectations from it are very high,” he said.

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11 Comments

  1. Berge Jololian said:

    Well said Mr. President. I would also make it clear to the failed-US-State-Department and the spineless-EU that without justice to Armenians there will NOT be a southern energy corridor. No Justice No Energy Pipelines. Turkey is a dead end corridor to the Caspian Basin and Central Asia’s gas & oil fields. Baku has no viable outlet to export its energy resources to the West – Georgia is deemed unreliable and risky to transit energy pipelines.

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  3. Harout said:

    It is actually Turkey who annulled the Protocols… on April 25, 2009, when they re-linked the pre-conditions, having successfully navigated Obama’s first April 24 message. It should not be spun that Armenia is the one turning its back.

  4. Levon Margaryan said:

    The status of Artsakh ( Nagorno-Karabagh ) has already been determined and there is no need for future referendoms. Artsakh is free and independent and this is final. Mr. Serzh Sarkisyan must stop begging Turkey to ratify the protocols. Even if Turkey ratified these protocols today, those are not in the interest of Armenian Nation and the Armenia Cause. Serzh Sarkisyan must stop selling his ill fated protocols to the Armenian people. There are no buyers of these protocols! Stop fooling the Armenians.

  5. Vacheh said:

    President Sargsyan should have withdrawn Armenia’s signature from the infamous protocols last spring right after meeting Erdogan in Washington DC. In that one hour meeting Erdogan used a language of threat and intimidation towards Armenian President and the Armenian Nation in general, stating that the ratification of the protocols was contingent upon virtually returning Karabagh to Azerbaijan. Even if today these protocols are declared void and null, it will represent a gain for the entire Armenian nation.

    Erdogan should learn that Armenians of today cannot be victimized like the Armenians of 1915. Language of threat and bullying no longer scares us and will not generate any results. Unfortunately we either have to wait until the time when an open-minded generation of Turks will be born who will loudly read the bloody pages of his history, like what Germans did. Alternatively, the time will come that the language of battle will settle our issues in a far future point in time, when Armenians and Kurds will take back what was stolen from them.

    May God be between us and harm.

    • Gagik said:

      Vacheh, do you realize what you are saying there with that last sentence? The Kurds stole from us too. The lands they claim are our lands. If they win we lose Western Armenia. This fight is against Turkey and somewhat against the Kurds, we have no allies.

  6. Raffi said:

    Turkey has check mated the western world by its Geopolitical strength, the world should stand up for principles and values, people are watching what the west is doing, they are receiving their message by judjing their actions and on what the west stands for, double standard can’t live anymore. Unless Justice is made for all the people in the area, NO peace will perdure.

  7. nana said:

    Open eyes wide – Artsakh is a free and independent country.
    No matter how many *oglu or *iev try to keep alive a ghost of “we want Artsakh back”, it is not going happen. I am not a fortuneteller or shaman. This is a reality and future. It has nothing to do with a “justice” or “international law”. It has to do with innate physical drive of a human being to fight and therefore to love the land and anything about it.
    Azerbaijan will never start the war. First, it has to demonstrate stability in the region to profit from the oil-gas economy. Second, they are not fighters. The history proves it. Thirdly, they are isolated. Just live and see.
    Therefore, Armenia can enjoy a freedom to recognize Artsakh any time.
    In my opinion, the sooner, the better.

  8. AM said:

    Mr. Sarkisyan,

    I hope that you realize that there was no need to sign those protocols and now to be the one to annul them. Millions of Armenians were begging you not to sign them but you went ahead and did it. Please, annul them or else you will to be considered second Vasak Mamikonian for next generation. Armenians from diaspora if you want your voice to be heard move back.

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