Sarkisian Warns Turkey, Vows ‘Tough’ Response to Azerbaijan

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YEREVAN (RFE/RL)–President Serzh Sarkisian again warned Turkey against delaying the implementation of its agreements with Armenia and vowed a “tough” response to a possible Azerbaijani attempt to take Nagorno-Karabakh by force as he defended his foreign policy over the weekend.

Sarkisian also insisted that the controversial agreements signed last month will not hamper greater international recognition of the Armenian genocide.

Ankara has made no secret of its intention to exploit the formation of a Turkish-Armenian commission of historians, envisaged by one of the two “protocols,” to keep more countries from officially recognizing the Armenian Genocide.

Sarkisian again dismissed these fears as he addressed a congress of his Republican Party of Armenia on Saturday. “On the contrary, I am confident that by establishing relations with Turkey, by coming into contact with Turkish society it will be possible to accelerate the recognition process within Turkey and the entire world,” he said.

Accordingly, Sarkisian defended the Western-backed Turkish-Armenian rapprochement that began shortly after he took office in April last year. He said Ankara and Yerevan have managed to “break the ice” in bilateral relations characterized by mutual hostility and mistrust until now.

But in what appeared to be another implicit threat to walk away from the agreements, the Armenian leader reiterated that he expects the Turkish parliament, in which the ruling Justice and Development Party has a clear majority, to ratify them within a “reasonable time frame.” “If Turkey drags out the ratification process, then, as I have already said, Armenia will not hesitate to take adequate steps conforming to international law,” he said.

Turkish leaders have indicated that Turkey’s parliament will not ratify the protocols without a resolution to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict favoring Azerbaijan. Sarkisian and Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev reportedly made further progress in that direction during their fresh talks held in Munich earlier this month. But whether they could cut a peace deal along the lines of the “basic principles” of a Karabakh settlement proposed by international mediators in the coming months is still not clear.

Sarkisian again cautioned on Saturday that the conflict’s resolution “may take years.” “However, the current stage of the conflict’s resolution gives me reason to hope that we could bring it to a logical conclusion within a reasonable period of time,” he said without elaboration.

He also issued a stern warning to Aliyev, who publicly threatened the Armenians with renewed war ahead of the Munich talks. “Armenia stands for a peaceful resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, but we will not allow any inroads against Nagorno-Karabakh and are ready to counter any inroads by toughest means,” he said.


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  1. Kiazer Souze said:

    I will never spend any money travelling to Turkey unless and untill they recognize the Armenian Genocide where they disrespected my great-grandparent’s bodies by decapitation, they raped my great-grand aunts and uncles, where they stole my grandparent’s land and the most sinfull and shameful betrayels by disarming my grand uncles in the Turkish Army, and taking them to labor camps and then burying them alive.
    May  those who have betrayed the Armenian cause go to Jahenemand quickly.  
    We shall wait and see if Sarkisian is the oligarchil/criminal/Russian stooge who caused the assissination of Monte Melkonian and who has betrayed Antranig Pasha. Time will only tell.

  2. David Davidian said:

    Serge Sarkisian, the Armenian President, is performing as he should. The Armenian parliament should be encouraged to add to Armenia’s political capital by ratifying the Protocol immediately. This will put the ball further in Ankara’s court, forcing the Turks to ratify the Protocol or face Armenia having called their bluff. Actually, Armenia is calling Turkey’s bluff. As Sarkisian stated, there are time limits on such diplomatic initiatives.
    David Davidian

  3. Mihran Keheyian said:

    Do not believe a word of what Serzh says,apart from being a corrupt crook he is also an arrogant lier,we don’t need people like him to run Armenia or a so called diaspora minister,they should all go,we need fresh faces who have the best interests of the Armenian nation.

  4. jerry sabounjian said:

    Thats the way to respond,  Mr. President, to those charlatans trying to bully us in to submission.

  5. Barkev Asadourian said:


  6. Stepan Sargsyan said:

    The article says “On the contrary, I am confident that by establishing relations with Turkey, by coming into contact with Turkish society it will be possible to accelerate the recognition process within Turkey and the entire world.” 

    Who is he kidding?  The irony is that these protocols are having the diametrically opposing effect.  Instead of helping Turkey to face its past, they are “helping” Armenia to encourage Genocide denial within Armenia.  Just read David Harutyunyan’s quote (former justice minister and current parliamentarian):

    Հարությունյանը հայտարարեց, որ այս պահին Հայաստանը նման օրենքի ընդունման անհրաժեշտություն չունի, որովհետեւ, նախ, օրենքի ընդունումը կհանգեցնի հայ-թուրքական բանակցություններում «լրջագույն խնդիրների»

    Apparently, condeming Armenian Genocide denial within Armenia threatens Armenian-Turkish non-existent relations.  So how are the relations going to help Turkey face its past, if before we even establish those relations, we’re trying to stifle genocide denial condemnation in our own motherland?

    The theater of the absurd genre continues…

  7. Haro said:

    I agree 100% with Mihran Keheyian’s comment.
    Serzh has thrown us into mud, and now he is trying to clean our ears with his handkerchief while pouring a fresh bucket of mud over our face.

  8. Antranik said:

    It looks as though Mr Sarkisian is learning fast like he said during the RPA conference,this is the kind of language the president should be using against AZJ or any other threat.I don’t understand what kind of game he is playing regardin the Turkish Armenian rapprochement and Artsakh,but he seems to be ducking and diveing for the time being.I have the impression that Armenia is gradually growing in confidance politically and hopefully will stand up to this b- – – – – -s.
    Regarding the historians commission  I don’t share his views and hope that this is all part of the game.
    It has to be otherwise the ARF will see to it .Where would we be without the ARF?

  9. Albert G said:

    Now that the heat of debate surrounding the protocols has relatively cooled off, we realize that the signing of the protocols may have more merits to the Armenian side than harms. We clearly assessed the possible harmful affects but we failed to realize the merits before and immediately after signing of the protocols. The protocols may have caused an uproar among Armenian diaspora however, the protocols also created a rift between Azerbaijan and Turkey and it put the ball on Turkey’s court. Turkey is now in an awkward situation. The protocols are as unpopular for Turks as it is for Armenians. However, the opening of borders will have more benefits for Armenians than Turks.  The Armenian economy will get a boost from free trade and low cost of trade. The Turkish market is much larger for Armenian businessmen than the Armenian market for the Turks. The open contact between the people will help the Turkish society to openly discuss the Armenian Genocide issue. This debate will help with educating the general public and hopefully pressuring the Turkish government to acknowledge and apologize for what befell the Armenians in 1915. At the meantime, the Armenian side will be in a better position negotiating with their Azerbaijani counterparts regarding the settlement of Nagorno Karabagh.
    Another issue needs attention is that our lobbying efforts to get the US government acknowledge the Armenian Genocide as “genocide” is simply not working. Turkey is strategically more valuable for US than a landlocked country of no significant political or economic importance like Armenia. The Obama administration is the most Armenian friendly administration and yet they failed to keep their campaign promises. President Obama, Secretary Hilary Clinton, Vice President Biden were all on records for supporting the Armenian Genocide recognition and condemning the genocide denial by the Turkish government. We can conclude that lobbying alone is not going to help this situation, not in the US at least. Now that the Armenian government is directly tackling this issue, foreign countries may back Armenia more than backing Turkey.
    I hope I’m not being too optimistic. This is a very delicate issue and requires much research and analysis. I just hope my people will come out winners and Mount Ararat will return to Armenia in my life time.

  10. roni said:

    Is he trying to stand and  show himself as  a real Armenian man  this time ?
     Go on Mr. president go on we don’t need further concesions ?
    please we don’t like seeing a weak Armenian president

  11. Haro said:

    Albert G, your conclusive two lines in your comment is the only truth that you have in your commented text. Namely, you are overly too much optimistic, in fact so much that you are unknowingly imploring the  Ջայլամի Դիւանագիտութիւն (Ostrich Diplomacy)

  12. Frank said:

    For too long Azerbejian has been threatening the Armenians with military attack.
    They know that we Armenians are ready for them.
    I see the Azerbejanis as Dogs who are constently barking and barking and barking.
    They should shut their mouths and just stay silent before we loose our temper and hit them good.

  13. Harout Akhverdian said:

    I beleive Serj Sarkisian has made the move of the trojan horse in shaxmat
    ete shaxmatis gaxapar unek mi hat lav nayek tesek te incha katarvum mer shurje ete turke entuni
    azerbejane turki het lav paymanerum chi lini u es bolore protocol storagrele des u den vazele xaxer en vore vor klini xaxi tatronum i ogut mezi ev ete turke chestoragri i ogut mez e linum ev ayt jamanak
    el azerbejane karoxa porsi harsakvi xarabaxi vra na tuvelu es ete paterazme sksi kani vor es ankam vochte 20 % ayl + 25 % el piti korsni ir hoxis.
    Im karsikov jamankne menk bolores mianank irar u linenk mer presidente koxke ayo voch mek 100% chi u chi el lini bays mievnuyn jamanak karam asem arten shat e linum menk spyurkum linelov knnadatenk mer hayrenakisnerin chapis durs kani vor ayskan tari ansela bays chem tesnum mer hayakan terterum Hambik Sasunyani masin xosaksutyun lini te arten morasel ek Hambikin ete morasel ek hiahsanem bolorit Hambike Harout Sasounyani axperna linum u hima na bantum e hima hishesik che????

  14. B. Baronian said:

    I think the RA President is on the right track and probably has been all along…like in any democracy…you need to give hime a chance to succeed.

  15. Artin said:

    Sorry Albert G. I disagree with your comments. There is very little chance that Armenia will be able to sell products to the large Turkish market. If Armenia hasn’t been able to capitalize on the large Iranian market with open borders all these years, then they will never be able to capitalize on the Turkish market. The right insentive and encouragement for production and export doesn’t exist in Armenia due to incompetent leadership. So what is more likely to happen is that what little manufacturing and agriculture there is in Armenia will be destroyed and cheap quality Turkish garbage will flood Armenia’s markets. Armenia will be just another spender of foreign remittances. And when the Armenian economy becomes heavily dependent on the  Turkish border, the Turks will simply close the border again and once again devistate the Armenian economy. What can I say, we deserve it for being so stupid.

  16. Armanen said:


    It is so nice to see a rational person with some understanding of international affairs make a comment.  There has been to much hysteria over this issue as is and much of it has been proven to be unfounded so far.  I hope it continues this way and Armenia reaps the rewards of the so called ‘pipeline politics’.

  17. Cristina said:

    what about tsayne partsratsnel Artsakhi hamar?? Since Artsakh is what it is all about in these talks/negotiations – “we will go on with the process if the nagorno karabagh conflict will be solved” (read “in favor of azerbaijan”) @ turkey, “we will take back gharabagh by force if armenians don’t retire from our lands”& such @ azerbaijan – WHY DON’T WE CONCENTRATE ON ARTSAKH?

  18. Darwin Jamgochian said:

    The question for me has always been just who can Armenia rely on? Why haven’t Armenia’s so called friends taken a position on the matter? There is no doubt in my mind that the protocols were developed without Armenia’s participation. The glare from the west would make someone think that the sun rises from the opposite direction. Are we going to see a replay of the Georgian fiasco? 

  19. manooshag said:

    Hye Mihran Keheyan, the government of our Armenian nation is a disaster…
    As it was with Germany when it lost WWII – their whole government was dismantled…
    as it should be in our Armenia…

  20. Albert said:

    I believe I’m being optimistic too. I believe a rational person must evaluate both pessimistic and optimistic views before coming to a conclusion. As I mentioned earlier in my comments, we rightfully assessed the possible harmful effects of the protocols. I reacted to the news with much surprise and disbelief. I don’t deny any of the negative aspects of the protocols. We must not give up our fight for Genocide recognition and rightful self determination of the people of Karabagh. However, I believe it’s worth mentioning the positive aspects of the protocol in an optimistic way on this forum just because we need it. it’s good for the debate.

  21. Haro said:

    Albert, I am not against any optimism, it is good to stay optimistic even when you are hit by a bullet in battle and continue fighting with the other hand. But, optimism with a correct strategic assessment makes the nation more powerful. It just reminds me of the Lebanese story about an old Syrian cannon found in Tripoli. They erect the cannon in the wrong way (i.e. wrong end pointing the target), and fire it supposedly to target Haleb. The explosion devastates the village, and the survivors, exclaim, “Wow, look what happened here, imagine what has happened in Haleb”.
    It’s not the optimism that is the problem it’s how people analyze the reality.

  22. Sammy said:

    Mr David Davidian,

    You have a site which wants land reparations, yet in your post you claim “The Armenian parliament should be encouraged to add to Armenia’s political capital by ratifying the Protocol immediately”.
    This does not make any sense at all. So you are for the protocols, yet also for land reparations? If the protocols pass, we can all kiss land reparations goodbye. Your vision is contradictory.
    And “Calling Turkey’s bluff” has zero value.

  23. Albert G said:

    We are all making an assumption that the Armenian government was forced into signing these  protocols without full assessment of the impact on Genocide recognition, Karabagh’s self-determination, and our demand for the return of Armenian land and properties taken by Turkey after the Genocide of 1915 and thereafter. We may be correct to assume this was done without due diligence to a certain degree, but I’m positive much thought and consideration was invested in it long before the protocols were introduced. As for our relationship with Turkey, our fight for Genocide recognition is not new. Many secret and public debates and forums have taken place between Turks and Armenians to resolve the century old conflict to a resolution in the past two decades. I’m pretty positive some of the provisions of these protocols were discussed during TARC meetings one way or another. After many discussions, meetings and forums between Turks and Armenians, one thing persist in Turkey’s disadvantage, a Genocide against the Armenians did take place in 1915. Now, the reason why this unequivocal truth has not been acknowledged by U.S. presidents is precisely the reason why  the Armenian government and some lobbyist groups in the U.S. (i.e. AAA) felt they should approach Turkey differently. Let me add, I’m not taking sides and I’m not affiliated with AAA or the Armenian government. I’m a typical Armenian born and raised in diaspora who has fought for the Genocide recognition all his life. It would be ideal for us if the Senate and Congress passed the legislation recognizing the Armenian Genocide, but it’s obvious that Turkey is too valuable to U.S. interest that even the most Armenian-friendly administration to date failed to recognize the Armenian Genocide. This is a sad reality and until the Armenian government does not engage with Turkey directly, the U.S. will not do anything to take sides on this issue. Moreover, if Turkey was cornered by U.S., Europe and other big powers to recognize the Genocide, Turkish people would react to it as if it’s a conspiracy by Christian countries ganging up against their powerful Muslim country.
    Anyway, although enjoyable, I may be spending too much time getting deep into this conversation. It gives us an opportunity to learn from one another. I don’t agree or disagree with anyone’s opinion. I just wish the best for Armenians in Armenia and around the world.

  24. Haro said:

    Albert G, I understand you are concerned about the situation as much as I am. But, your approach is very faulty, in the same way as that of Serj Sargsyan’s. First, the USA government, just like any other current governments on the planet, does not give a damn about the Armenian people or even its own people. Everything is in the hands of a few corporation CEOs. This situation is no different for the current Armenian government (meaning Serj and his oligarchs).
    Secondly, why should we always twist all our strategies to please Turkey’s appetite (I am referring to your comment line ” …if Turkey was cornered by U.S., Europe and other big powers to recognize the Genocide, Turkish people would react to it as if it’s a conspiracy by Christian countries ganging up against their powerful Muslim country…” ?).
    Turkey can crash Armenia in few hours if we allow to. In fact, the only thing that is holding it not to do so, is the Armenian Genocide recognition activity and the good fight that some of us Armenians are still clinging on. Once, we stop these activities and be passive (i.e. as you are suggesting), you will hear in the news that Turkey invaded RoA to destroy some “terrorist” bases there, and in just few years, there will be no Armenians left in Asia Minor (i.e. either death, assimilated or deserted the Fatherland).
    Finally, I don’t have time to educate people in all details. Take each of my words, and do some research about it, or watch my future documentary movies when I release them at cultural port.