Washington Still Trying To Salvage Turkish-Armenian Deal

Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs Philip Crowle

WASHINGTON (RFE/RL)–The United States still hopes to salvage the faltering agreements to normalize Armenia’s relations with Turkey despite the apparent lack of progress in the latest Turkish-Armenian negotiations, the U.S. State Department said on Friday.

“The process has stalled from last fall when the countries signed the protocols on normalization,” department spokesman Philip Crowley told a daily news briefing in Washington. “We want to see Turkey and Armenia ratify those protocols, normalize relations, open borders.

“That has significant benefits for both countries. And we continue to work with both to see if we can find the right formula, the right timing to see ratification and the benefits that come with ratification.”

“We know this is a difficult process,” Crowley said, referring to the mandatory parliamentary ratification of the two protocols. “We know it involves emotion on both sides, risk on both sides, and we will continue to work constructively with Armenia and Turkey to try to see this process through.”

The U.S. official spoke just days after a flurry of high-level Turkish-Armenian diplomatic activity that involved U.S. President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Obama held talks with Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan after the two leaders met on the margins of a nuclear security summit in Washington on Monday. Clinton, for her part, met separately with Sarkisian and Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu.

Crowley, who is also a U.S. assistant secretary of state for public affairs, described those discussions as “very meaningful.” But he said nothing about their results.

The talks appear to have failed to bring the two sides closer to implementing the U.S.-brokered agreements. Erdogan insisted that the Turkish parliament, in which his government has a clear majority, will not ratify them before a resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict favored by Azerbaijan.

Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian said on Tuesday that this stance has left the Armenian side wondering “whether there are partners on the [Turkish] side with whom we can continue the process.” He said Yerevan is now even more confident about the wisdom about a still unpublicized decision on the future of the Turkish-Armenian rapprochement which Sarkisian claimed to have made before departing to Washington.

Armenian leaders have repeatedly threatened to walk away from the protocols if the Turks fail to ratify them “within a reasonable time frame.” U.S. officials have yet to publicly comment on these threats.


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  1. Emin said:

    Regarding the last two sentences:
    I dont understand, why Armenian leaders are the ones to threaten to walk away from the deal, if Armenia's gain from the protocols would be much larger than gain of Turkey. If the borders will be opened, Armenia will get Turkish investment, Turkey will get thousands of Armenian workers who will actually harm Turkish economy. So, looking at the facts, one can clearly see that if there is a side who can threaten and “talk with the language of preconditions”, it is Turkey, isn't it?

  2. Berge Jololian said:

    The US State Department needs to understand that as long as there is NO Restorative Justice to Armenians, there will be NO Energy pipelines across Armenia.

  3. Berge Jololian said:

    The US State Department needs to get this: No Restorative Justice (Genocide Acknowledgment, Land, Reparation, and Restitution) –> NO Energy Pipelines (no gas & oil pipelines across Armenia)

  4. Manooshag said:

    Hye, the U.S. State Department 's ploys have failed as far as the Turkish misdirected 'road map'… Armenians can never be expected to allow the Turkish Genocide of the Armenian nation – slaughters, tortures, rapes, churches filled with women/children to be set afire, bastinados, the beating of the victims feet causing the soles to bleed, then burst, then mercifully death… and more of the Ottoman's vile treatments, the Ottoman's bestial methods of these humans violating humans!
    Hillary, et al, what next to avoid recognizing the Turkish Genocide of the Armenians – albeit the discrimination
    of the Genocide of the Armenians stands out – since all other Genocides have all been recognized. Why, still
    today, nearly 100 years, the republic of the United States of America, a leader in the realm of human rights,
    has in its government leaderships today, discriminating against the first Genocide of the 20th century – the Christian Armenians (first nation to adopt Christianity in 301AD).
    Imagine, if the Ottoman Turks and their leaderships since (in their stance of Genocide denials of the Armenians, the Greeks, Assyrians, Kurds) had been made to admit their guilt of Genocide, had been made to provide reparations and more, then – imagine – despots shall not have perpetuated all the Genocides that followed in the 20th century and, today in Darfur these seven/eight years, into the 21st century!
    Civilized nations bring to justice any and all criminals who commit murders, rapes, kidnappings and worse – but
    justice is served – criminals are made to pay for these crimes.
    But yet, when these same crimes are committed against the peoples that have suffered Genocides – are the laws then different? Does the crime of “Genocide” preclude seeking justice for these victims?
    Or, has civilization not yet reached a level where these civilized nations can join together, above all matters, to end the cycle Genocides on our planet – to end the victimization of innocents – whether for race, religion, or any
    convoluted reasons. Whether perpetrated by any foe, or any “ally” – Genocides ended for humanity's sake.