Armenia Slams Turkey’s Erdogan Over Karabakh Linkage


Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian makes a speech in Yerevan on April 10, 2009 on the one year anniversary of his inaugeration as president.

YEREVAN (RFE/RL)–Armenia on Thursday criticized Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan for again making the normalization of Turkish-Armenian relations conditional on a Nagorno-Karabakh settlement, saying that such statements could hamper Armenian-Azerbaijani negotiations.

Armenian leaders at the same time declined to comment on their implications for the success of the year-long Turkish-Armenian rapprochement.

Visiting Baku on Wednesday, Erdogan again publicly made clear that Turkey will not establish diplomatic relations and reopen its border with Armenia until the Karabakh conflict is resolved in a way that would satisfy Azerbaijan. “Occupation of Karabakh is the cause here and closing of the border is the effect. It is impossible for us to open the border unless that occupation ends,” he told a joint news conference with Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev.

President Serzh Sarkisian and Foreign Minister Eduard Nalbandian reacted to that as they separately met in Yerevan with Brian Fall, Britain’s special representative for the South Caucasus.

“The president said that, as he repeatedly pointed out during Armenian-Turkish contacts, any Turkish attempt to interfere in the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh problem can only harm that process,” Sarkisian’s office said in a statement. “

According to the head of state, if Turkey wants to assist in a peaceful settlement of the conflict, then it had better not meddle in the process of conflict resolution at all.”

In a separate statement, the Armenian Foreign Ministry cited Nalbandian as making virtually identical comments. Neither statement specified whether Yerevan thinks Erdogan’s stance precludes further progress in the ongoing Turkish-Armenian fence-mending negotiations. The presidential and ministry press services declined to make further comments.

Sarkisian said after his May 8 talks in Prague with Turkey’s President Abdullah Gul that Ankara had agreed to honor a still unpublicized “roadmap” to normalizing bilateral ties that was announced by Ankara and Yerevan on April 22. He said the two states are continuing their dialogue “without preconditions.”

However, Erdogan on Wednesday dismissed as “slander” and “disinformation” earlier reports saying that Ankara is ready to stop linking border opening with Karabakh peace.

His remarks come as criticism mounts over Sarkisian’s conciliatory policy toward Turkey and its gross failure to secure an end to the Turkish blockade with no preconditions.

The Armenian Revolutionary Federation strongly condemned the April 22 roadmap agreement released on the eve of the 94th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide and left the governing coalition, citing “insurmountable, fundamental disagreements” over the government’s approach toward normalizing relations with Turkey.

The negotiations process has seen Yerevan make major concessions to Ankara, according to the ARF, which has repeatedly warned Sarkisian that Turkey is exploiting the process to become an actor in the Nagorno-Karabakh peace talks and to deter the United States from officially recognizing the Armenian Genocide.

Sarkisian is seen as largely responsible for U.S. President Barack Obama failure to recognize the Armenian Genocide in a recent statement.


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  1. Rich said:

    Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian doesnt understand they’ve been lied too, no one is suprised. This was sadly expected.

  2. Papken Hartunian said:

    Turkey by keeping its boarder with Armenia unilateraly promotes anti-turkisim not only among all Armenians in the world but also minimizes its mutual declaratuins with US that the they share the same values.
    The conflict between these two nations will not resolve for centuries to come. As long as only one Armenian lives in the world, the whole nation of Turks are subject to inhaliation. All possible relations between Turkey and Armenia would be just temporary. I think the protocals (no preconditions) chosen by Armenian Republic is wrong. Normailzation between two neighbours with having such centuries old conflict cannot be achieved without preconditions. All parties must bring all their concerns on the table and set a comprehencive and fair plan. Unless just and fair plan is not executed fully, the danger of the existence of conflict between parties will be just defered.

  3. Emin A said:

    “As long as only one Armenian lives in the world, the whole nation of Turks are subject to inhaliation”

    You are obviously western Armenian. I don’t think that should be the case, tf we pertain this attitude. we will see no progress on the matter, we should trust our leaders (if you inf act live in Armeniaas i dont) and see what eventuates. If there is public outcry then democracy will follow course if in fact Armenia is i fact a true democracy.

    Unfortunately for us we are stuck negotiating with country who has nothing to offer us but a common border and has repeatedly shown in history that it cannot be trusted in any sense. I agree that we should also set pre-conditions and to involve the karabakh authorities. We all share your sentiments and anger when we hear such comments, but we must also have an open an objective view on the matter. Otherwise we are no different.

    let the stalemate continue. Did Obama actually think turkey would put words into action? and for what? we must pressure turkey like it does to everyone else, otherwise no progress will be made for anyone but the Turkey.

  4. MGL said:

    Who needs open border with Turkey? It should be keep close for ever.
    Why Armenia did not recognize Karabakh yet and then join it? Waiting for Turkey or Azerbaijan or someone’s permissions? They are better doing it with out any more waiting.

  5. Papken Hartunian said:

    “..we must also have an open mind an objective view on the matter. Otherwise we are no different.”
    The matter is Ottman Empire has committed the Armenian Genocide, the heniest crime to human kind. Republic of Turkey denies Armenian Genocide by its predessores. Such a crime cannot be punished by opening boarders that can be closed at any time by adverse party. As long as justice is not served as has been done by Germany, no matter how much we have to be objective or open minded the problem cannot go away. Armenians can be in peace with so called Turkish people, when they are not turks anymore. According to Webester Dictionary, Turk informally means ” a cruel, brutal, and domineering man.” Turk formally means “a native or inhabitant of the Ottman Empire.”

  6. harutiunyan said:

    Do not be naive.
    Mr. Obama knows today what he will be saying one year later.
    He would not wait until Mr. Sarkisian will say, or not say something about something.

    He is an actor on a political stage.

  7. Humay said:

    I agree that Turkey should not interfere..Turkey’s borders are its borders and Azerbaijan has its own. No one makes Azerbaijan to open its borders. Turkey is free to chose as it may. These statements essentially nullify the entire “road map” concept, diminish Turkey’s credibility and jeopardizes any future influence once its borders are indeed open.

  8. jachik said:

    The border must not be opened. It will constitute a mortal blow to Armenian sovereign aspirations. With an open border the ” economic colonization” of Armenia by Turrkey would get started. Borders must stay closed.. The turks will not open the border unless there is consensus with Azeirbaijan, and Karabagh is the ultimate prize Armenian politicians will have to deliver if they so contumely insist on ” opening borders” . With open borders an iron pincer movement by azeri-turkey would envelop us. We don’t know what kind of backgamon play our leadership is engaged with the turks; whatever it is , it does not bode well.

  9. Jack Vartanyan said:

    Turks/Azeri’s need to realize that our lands will not be given back them …without war…period….the Azeri’s are making threats and our great President is cutting Aid to Armenia by 38%….Mr pro muslim….. Karabagh will never be Azeri land we cannot afford to lose it or else the rest of Armenia is in trouble. We dont have much already, what we have needs to be protected and preserved. The border will not open unless concessions are made by us to the Azeri’s…that will not happen….War with the Azeri’s is immenient.

  10. Papken Hartunian said:

    President Sarkisian had declared that Armernia has no territorial demand from Turkey, although the Constitution of Republic of Armenia calls for returning Western Armenia. Our political parties in diaspora should unite and demand Turkey to return our Western Armenia. The Republic of Armenia cannot continue as aviable country without Western Armenia. Our media must raise this issue on daily basis.

  11. Cristina said:

    Papken, i 100% agree with you.
    However, when i sustained this same point of view in a discussion forum, i was told approx. the following thing:
    “let’s assume we would get Arevmdyan Hayastan back; that means that 60% of Armenia would be turkish now. do you really want that?”… what would you reply to this?

  12. Papken Haertunian said:

    Cristina, Thank you for your question. First of all, recent history provides evidence that no foreign people can survive in regions populated by Armenians. For this reason, Armenia is only country in the world that has highest percentage of the natives. Second, I have been told that there are more than 3 million people living in Western Armenia that they have Armenian ancestors. These people could be converted to Armenians. Finally, it is possible to govern a nation with minority status. For example, Isreail has only 13% Jews and rest of the population are Arabs or have other heritage than Jewish.

    I am certain that once Turkey joins EU, Armenian will have a strong chance to regain the Western Armenia by applying EU standards. Now, Turkey dictates foreign policy of US as to Armenia and Kurds.
    We can make a valid case that Armenians are like any European nation have rights to live in peace and establish a viable state, and then and only then Armenia will contribute to the security and peace of the region.

  13. Cristina said:

    It was not my question, but i didn’t know what to answer to it, so i asked someone else – you, in this case. And yes, i am aware of the “hidden” Armenians in Arevmdyan Hayastan, i know about the hamshentsis as well… i rememebr also reading some kind of article that showed them as a turkish sub-branch: Hamshinlis (not Hamshentsi)…

  14. Cristina said:

    I agree with almost everything you say, but as an EU citizen, i personally do not think that Turkey has a place in the European Union.
    Let us be honest, Turkey has NOTHING european, NOTHING to really link it to Europe, except hundreds of years of looting, killing and vandalising more than half of Europe. or support it’s claims to such a membership. And the 3% represented by Istanbul doesn’t count.
    Secondly, i don’t know why, but i am rather skeptical of the efficiency of EU standards, particularly, and of UN&co, generally. They granted independence to Kosovo on the basis of “people’s right to self determination” ( a very important principle, no?)…but they close their eyes, ears and minds when it comes to Artsakh (Karabagh), because a lot of oil and gas comes from Azerbaijan…

  15. Papken Haertunian said:

    “…but they close their eyes, ears and minds when it comes to Artsakh..”
    I agree with everything you said but sometimes our personal feelings eventhough have logical basis should not be allowed to support a common cause that is vital to our national interest. Yes, Turks are brutal, cruel,and domineering man. See Webster’s Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language. Just for this reason, they must be put in cage otherwise they are what they are. Armenia is lucky that Turkey is member of NATO.

    The reason that EU&co cannot hear Armenians is that Armenians cannot shout loud enough. There are many, many Armenians like you and I that care about these issues. We can comet ogether in near future to raise our voices so loud that even the gods in the heavens can hear not only our voices but the voices of all those that were cut by Turkes.

    In case of Artsakh, we can use Kosova as precedent and demand application of the Constitution of Europe to provide justice.

    The Republic of Armenia and Artsakh have not been able to defend Armenians’ rights. Our political leaders in Diaspora are not qualified to bring an action in the International Court. However, I believe the Congress of all Armenians or some groupe of people with their own capital will be able to take Turkey to the International Court. You can count on me on this one. Already I have managed to raise $4000.00 to prosecute anyone that denies Armenian Genocide l. My first target is Boson Globe because it has published an article on June 13 titled “Armenian Genocide Lawsuit Rejected,” which I think is bias, misleading, contains falsifications and is proturkish. ANCA has characterized the article as “hate speech,”

    [email protected]

  16. Grish Begian said:

    Turkey deliberately make all these nonsense noises, for one thing “to confuse” everybody, especially Armenian leadership minds, they love to see Armenian side, make a political mistake and win the battle of “Armenian Genocide recognition by US Senate”.

    European Union already recognize Armenian Genocide, let’s Turkey face with Union and try to get into EU!!

    All Armenian leadership should do “not to make any political mistake and not to rush for the opening of the boarder” let’s West to put pressure on Turkey, if they really despaired to see an open boarder!!

  17. Pingback: Nalbandian Slams Erdogan, Urges Him to Respect Genocide Survivors | Stop the Protocols Campaign

  18. papken hartunian said:

    Erdogan’s comment is based on terms within the protocals that are already Nalbandian agreet to.
    Nalbandian protest will not unring the bell.

    We are going to see many unexpected comments and even action aginst all Armenians. Turkey must respect Geoncide Survivors is not mentioned in the protocals.

    The near future of Armenian Government is in deep trouble. I predict there would be bloody days in Armenia and Azerbaijan will attack Artsakh and Armenia at the same time. Armenia would have new goverment with new platform and she would be vcitorious against Azerbaijan.

    Armenian Government does not believe that the liberated territories are Armenian land. Mr. President calles them security belt or region.

    Artsakh and Diaspora and most of Armenians of homeland believe otherwise.

    Once Armenian government pulls out her forces from the liberated territories, which she will, Azerbaijan will violate all the agreements and existing treaties and will attempt to take over Artsakh.

    The current Government will not be able to control the situation and new leadership will take over and
    Mr. Sarkisian and his company will disappear.

    At the end of the day, Armenia will win the war and new treaties will be signed between Armenia and Azerbaijan and Artsakh.