Sarkisian Pressuring Gul, Says ARF’s Markarian

YEREVAN (RFE/RL)—President Serzh Sarkisian’s message to his Turkish counterpart Abdullah Gul, in which the latter was urged to take decisive steps toward the ratification of the Armenia-Turkey protocols, was Armenia’s effort to pressure Turkey and warn that Armenia’s patience was wearing thin, assessed Armenian Revolutionary Federation Bureau chairman Hrant Markarian Tuesday.

The ARF leader, who granted an interview to Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, pointed out that Turkey was also exerting pressure on Armenia by constantly linking the normalization process with a resolution to the Karabakh conflict that favors Azerbaijan. Markarian also said that Turkey was using last month’s Armenian Constitutional Court decision to pressure the Armenian parliament to not ratify the protocols with “reservations,” as outlined by the high court’s ruling.

Since Turkey, “is succeeding in applying pressure in this regards,” any delays in the process will harm Armenia, said Markarian.

Thus, Markarian stressed, Armenia must deem the negotiations a failure, due to Turkey, no later than March.

On his way to London Tuesday, Sarkisian issued a message to Gul urging Turkey to take decisive steps in the protocol ratification process. Sarkisian’s efforts were immediately rebuffed by Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu who called the letter “a customary message” by world leaders when crossing another country’s airspace.

Markarian claimed that Armenia’s leadership has toughened its conciliatory policy on Turkey under pressure from the ARF, adding that Sarkisian had a hand in the Constitutional Court ruling on the Turkish-Armenian protocols that has been condemned by Turkey.

“Our struggle was the reason why the Constitutional Court made that decision,” Markarian said in the interview. “Serzh Sarkisian was not uninvolved in the making of that decision.”

“I think it would be fair to say that there is some toughening of the [Sarkisian administration’s] position on both the Karabakh issue and Turkish-Armenian relations,” he said.

“With the Constitutional Court decision, Armenia adopted a new policy,” said Markarian. “One should be frank and consistent in that approach till the end. If we stop half way on the approach defined by the Constitutional Court decision, I think we will discredit ourselves.”

Markarian reiterated in that regard the ARF’s calls for Armenia’s parliament to ratify the protocols with corresponding “reservations.” He indicated that his party had concerns to this effect and will work hard to ensure that the parliament will adhere to the decision of the Constitutional Court.

Markarian also addressed the ARF’s call for regime change in Armenia saying, “We are trying to achieve regime change by means of elections, regular or non-regular. Going beyond elections is a different thing which we are not seeking at the moment.”


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  1. Nairian said:

    My hat’s off to you A.R.F. and thank you Mr. Markarian. I cannot say more than may God Bless you!!! My dear ARF-agans, please stay on top of our cause (the recognition of the Armenian Genocide by world leaders; reparation from the Genocide to the heirs of the entire Armenian people and the Armenian nation (our sweet sweet lands); and the liberation of Artsakh (not one inch of land must be given back to the mongolian azeris). Stay on top of our cause ARF and to our government from within and from without!!!!

  2. Vartan K. said:

    Aren’t the Armenian government (past or present) and ARF the same thing? Many in Armenia beleive that ARF is not really an opposition but just a tool in the hands of corrupt and unelected government. A true opposition wouldn’t allow these humiliating documents reach the parliament floor with any reservations and would act most consistently to topple down the totally unpopular president and the gruling clique. What we see in Armenian political establishment is just an easily detectable show with Dashnaks playing a role of opposition harlequins.

    • Vicken B. said:

      No! ARF and the Armenian government are far from being the same but we have always supported the government from the first day of its second independence. The difference is that Levon Ter Petrossian didn’t want to work with us and banned us but Kocharian and Sarkissian are willing to work us and ARF will always work with the government and it does’nt mean we support them in everything they do.
      And it does’nt mean we have to have a revolution if something happens that is against our ideology. Our country is still very fragile and can’t handle anything like that for now and that was one of the reasons we didn’t join LTP’s fake “Revolution”.

    • Harour said:

      The Main reason is: Dashnaks don’t want civil war.. Dashnaks don’t want to have any Armenian bloodshed by making revolution! If revolution happens then Turkey and Azerbaijan will conquer.

  3. Nairian said:

    Vartan, no you’re wrong. As soon as Sarkissian was about to go to Turkey and sign the protocols, ARF got out of the coalition. They didn’t want to take any part with the Sarkissian government, and they’ve been fighting against the signing and ratifying the protocols ever since. However, since Sarkissian got himself into this mess, the ARF was going to sue the Sarkissian’s government if they were to ratify the protocols as is.
    The ARF reminded the government that the protocols are against our constitutional court’s ruling. Ever since last year (2008) it was only the ARF that went on the streets of Yerevan and gathered the people to rally on the streets; even though they were being pushed and having great difficulty by the government to rally in the streets of Yerevan. But now finally after the Constitutional ruling, it is slowly and hopefully the ARF are able to have Sarkissian become a little tougher against the enemy. I hope it shall work.

    We’ll wait and see the outcome; I hope and pray along with many in the Diaspora and Armenia that the protocols will serve for the garbage.

    • Vartan K. said:

      I’m not claiming to be right. I’m just posing questions that many people in Armenia do. I’m trying to understand why ARF blessed Serge’s non-election and signed off on the bogus parliamentary report into the slaughter of March 1, 2008. I’m trying to understand why several senior ARF bureau members have extensive ties to Sargsyan’s criminal regime. Every yerevanite and beyond knows that Vahan Hovhannisyan’s daughter is married to Serge’s nephew. What kind of an opposition leader is this? Hrant Markarian recently declared that ARF wouldn’t organize street protests if the parliamnet ratifies the defeatist protocols even without the legally-binding reservations of the Constitutional Court. Aren’t these facts thought-provoking to you?

  4. Papken Hartunian said:

    Now is obvious that ARF has changed its core values and policy toward Turkey. It seems that Mr. Markarian speaks on behalf of government when he states that “If we stop half way on the approach defined by the Constitutional Court decision, I think we will discredit ourselves,” which is the core of message of
    Mr. Sargsyan’s to Gul.
    There is some truth in Vartan’s proposition that ARF is not a true opposition to the government. Sometimes politics incorporates other dimensions including family. ARF secured its activities in Armenia by engaging with government. All of us know that it is not easy to survive in Armenia as a imported political party.

  5. Garen Yegparian said:

    My Dear Vartan K,

    it is extremely healthy and necessary to be skeptical about the pronouncements and actions of political entities.

    It is equally essential to know the objects of your assessments. Unfotunately, you demonstrate a lack of understanding of what has and continues to make the ARF tick, despite occasional failings.

  6. Varatn K. said:

    I can appreciate the difference that Levon Ter Petrossian banned ARF, but Kocharian and Sarkissian were willing to work with the party. But neither LTP, nor Robik, nor Serjik were or are popular governments for the people of Armenia. Shouldn’t this be the priority for ARF, and not the fact which president was willing or unwilling to work with the party? Even before this stupid protocol process, there was a wide-spread practice of government’s mistreatment of its own people, total disrespect of elementary civil rights, humiliation, repressions, corruption, election rigging, etc. Why wouldn’t ARF raise their voice against such crimes on the part of the government? These types of crimes do not necessarily require a revolution. And ARF’s adequate response for government’s anti-popular actions would hardly provoke war in which Turkey and Azerbaijan would conquer. These anti-popular actions would just require attention and expression of discontent so that the despicable government crooks know there is an opposition force as a counterbalance to lawlessness that they’ve spread all over the country. These are not How is it possible to be such an opposition and hold portfolios in the government (past or present) hated by the people? I fear the same may happen with the protocols that most Armenians in Diaspora and Armenia fiercely oppose. Why wouldn’t ARF prevent their reaching the parliament floor for ratification? At what moment ARF thinks it may step up? When everything is ratified and the deal is done? If ARF tends to avoid civil wars and revolutions, does it mean following this logic the party should allow for any anti-Armenian action on the part of the government? Sorry for asking many questions, but, indeed, many in Armenia don’t perceive ARF as opposition. And that’s a pity, given your party’s impressive historical record.