Disturbing Contradictions by Armenia’s Top Officials on Ties with Ankara

Foreign Minister Ara Aivazyan in parliament on March 29
Foreign Minister Ara Aivazyan in parliament on March 29

Foreign Minister Ara Aivazyan in parliament on March 29

Armenia’s relations with Turkey once again were front and center as Armenia’s top officials contradicted one another in what amounted to be disturbing and dangerous views on this critical issue for the country’s national security.

On Monday, Foreign Minister Ara Aivazyan told members of parliament that Ankara must end its “hostile” policies toward Armenia if it wants peace and stability in the region.

“In order for real peace in our region, we expect that Turkey will make serious and radical changes in its aggressive policy against Armenia and will end its hostile actions,” Aviazian said, adding that he is “unaware of any format within which consultations or talks could take place with Ankara.”

This was in stark contrast to a more conciliatory tone taken by Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and the secretary of Armenia’s National Security Council, Armen Grigoryan, whose statements seemed to have stemmed from the notion of “unblocking regional communications” as stipulated by the November 9 agreement.

In an interview with Armenia’s Public Television channel, Grigoryan declined to clarify whether he believes that Turkey remains an enemy of Armenia after the Karabakh war last fall.
“If we are opting for the unblocking of the region there have to be some corrections in our approaches, and we are working in that direction,” he said.

On Sunday, Pashinyan expressed similar sentiments, saying that Armenia should review its position on Turkey and Azerbaijan.

“We, the regional countries, must reappraise our mutual attitudes and postures,” said Pashinyan, who since signing the November 9 agreement, which ended the war but saw the surrender of territories in Artsakh and Armenia to Azerbaijan, has been advancing the notion of opening borders with Azerbaijan and the potential benefits it would bring to Armenia’s economy.

In his remarks in parliament, Aivazyan reminded lawmakers that Armenia had taken several steps to normalize relations with Turkey, which were not reciprocated by Ankara, pointing to the 2009 Armenia-Turkey Protocols process, which he said were “annulled by Turkey.”

“Furthermore, the Armenophobia of the previous century which culminated into the Armenian Genocide, not only hasn’t stopped but has been exported into our region,” Aivazian said, referring to Turkey’s overt support of Azerbaijan as it aggressively attacked Artsakh last fall.

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