Clinton Presses Turkey to Move Forward with Protocols

Hillary Clinton with Ahmet Davutoglu

ANKARA (RFE/RL)—Secretary of State Hillary Clinton pressed Turkey to unconditionally comply with its normalization agreements with Armenia during a weekend trip to Istanbul.

A senior State Department official said Turkish-Armenian relations were on the agenda of her talks with Turkish President Abdullah Gul, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu.

“She encouraged Turkey to support and move the [Turkish-Armenian] protocols, which have been stuck in the Turkish parliament, but more generally to reach out to Armenia with confidence-building measures and do whatever possible to strengthen that relationship, leading ultimately to restored diplomatic ties,” the official told journalists.

The two protocols were signed, in Clinton’s presence, by the Turkish and Armenian foreign ministers in Zurich in October 2009. They committed the two neighboring nations to establish diplomatic relation and open the Turkish-Armenian border which Ankara closed in 1993 in a show of support for Azerbaijan.

The Turkish government has repeatedly made clear that it will not ensure the protocols’ ratification by Turkey’s parliament before a resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict acceptable to Baku. Yerevan rejects this linkage, saying that it contradicts the letter and the spirit of the U.S.-backed agreements.

Citing the Turkish precondition, President Serzh Sarkisian suspended the process of Armenian parliamentary ratification of the protocols in April 2009. But he stopped short of formally annulling them.

Clinton welcomed this stance as “very statesmanlike” when she visited Yerevan in July 2010. “The ball is in the other court,” she said, urging the Turks to drop the Karabakh linkage.

Nevertheless, Erdogan and other Turkish officials have continued to make normal relations with Armenia contingent on Karabakh peace. In a sign of Yerevan’s growing frustration with this stance, Sarkisian threatened to scrap the protocols altogether earlier this year.

The normalization of Turkish-Armenian relations has long been a U.S. policy goal in the region. The State Department official who briefed U.S. journalists on Clinton’s talks in Istanbul described it as a “historic project.”

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8 Comments

  1. Edward Demian said:

    Narmalization of relations is not in the best interests of our nation. Armenia has access to all markets through Iran and Georgia. A wide open border will flood Armenia with cheap goods and Turkish muslims. They are like cockroaches. Once they move in, they won’t move out.

  2. bigmoustache said:

    scrap them, we should be setting the preconditions! “sorry US, no normalization to give you credit and boost your image, until Artsakh is recognized

  3. Sylva-MD-Poetry said:

    What an ugly smile
    This short man has
    He smirks on humans
    As if they are flies…

    Dear Mrs Bonapart—
    Blue Dressed Lady
    Do you think you can change criminals behavior
    You can’t even move one cell…To behave humans
    They will invade and invade…
    Invaded Cyprus invaded Iskenderun changing it’s name to Hatey
    Have you heard this name before
    In the Maps nothing has changed yet…
    Already starting cheating illiterate Arabs…
    To invade them once more
    And changing their language Turkish
    Probably changing letters of Quran to Latin…
    They took and modified Aya-Sofia to mosque
    They can do any thing they want…
    Without saying sorry to any and all
    For them everything seems easy…
    Kill and confiscate…
    Let one and half million Armenians’ skulls
    Remain to dry under Der-zor sunlight
    Without any apology…!
    This is Turkish Theory
    Even God should obey…!

    Sylva-MD-Poetry
    Written Instantly

  4. manooshag said:

    This is not an ”historic project”. It is not a project. It is not historic. It is double talk via the USA State Department, and Turkeys… As if normalizaion of Turk-Armenian relations will exist – not with the Ottoman bullying mentality of the Turk. Name another country that has normal/honest relations with Turks… or, any relations – for any length of time. Better still, see the list of the nations that have NOT (AND why not) normal relations (of any length of time) with a Turkey…. Start with USA (supposedly USAs BEST ally – truth: … too, Israel, Armenia, Greeks, Assyrians, Germany, France, Spain, (NATO nations) and more…Bulgarians, Hungarians…etc etc….

  5. gary S. said:

    US wants Turkey to have good relations with Armenia because it wants to bring it out of the Russia & Iran orbit. Eventually, it would like a pipeline through Armenia–Georgia has too many rebellious areas.

  6. Vazken said:

    Well said Silva, “Already starting cheating illiterate Arabs…” Look what happened to Syria…

  7. Raffi said:

    A Protocol that the president Sarkissian should have trashed it a long time ago ,we should not give in to pressures and be sacrificed for OIL interest, we have waited 100 years we can still wait, learn from the Chinese, a Chinese proverb says wait patiently and you will see pass by the coffin of your enemy

  8. bigmoustache said:

    i remember seeing soap, paper towels from turkey when i was in armenia….i imagine we have more goods from turkey than just that…i wonder how many of OUR products are in turkey?
    and if the borders are open, what will happen to our ‘domestic’ industry? our soap factories?
    if you think the soviet union created unemployment…

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