Opponents of Protocols Vindicated By Collapse in Process, Says Oskanian

YEREVAN (RFE/RL)–The dramatic collapse of the Turkish-Armenian normalization agreements has vindicated opponents of Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian’s policy of rapprochement with Turkey, according to a think-tank led by former Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian.

In an annual report released this week, the Yerevan-based Civilitas Foundation criticized Sarkisian for not formally scrapping the agreements and said Turkey is unlikely to unconditionally normalize relations with Armenia anytime soon.

“Those who had raised the alarm that the process was unfeasible and the documents inadequate were vindicated,” said Civilitas. “Fears that a sloppy process would lead to failure were proven true. But worse, predictions that bilateral relations would be even more adversely affected also came to pass.”

“Those who insisted that trying was better than not trying, or that trying couldn’t hurt, are now faced with a pendulum that has shifted from groundless elation in 2008 to unnecessary hostility in 2010,” it said.

Civilitas referred to Yerevan’s and Ankara’s failure to implement the two “protocols” that were signed in Zurich in October 2009 in the presence of U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and top diplomats from Russia and the European Union. They envisaged the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two neighbors and the opening of their border, which Turkey closed in 1993 out of solidarity with Azerbaijan.

The Ankara government made clear shortly after the protocol signing that it will not push for their ratification by Turkey’s parliament until there is decisive progress towards a resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict acceptable to Azerbaijan.

Sarkisian responded by freezing the ratification process in Armenia last April. But he stopped short of annulling the protocols altogether, a move that earned him strong praise from the United States and the EU. Clinton called it “very statesmanlike” when she visited Yerevan in July.

“By suspending the protocols rather than completely dismissing them, the Armenian side has created a situation where there is no longer even slight pressure on Turkey to open the border,” said Civilitas. “Instead, Turkey has now taken on the right to become an active negotiator in the Karabakh process, aggressively pushing for a resolution, in various forums, while clearly remaining a protector of Azerbaijani interests.”

Sarkisian and his allies insist that the process has greatly improved Armenia’s international standing as both the West and Russia favor an unconditional Turkish-Armenian normalization. Clinton’s said in Yerevan that the onus is on the Turkish side to revive the normalization process with “the steps that it promised to take.”

Oskanian, who served as Armenia’s foreign minister from 1998-2008, has been among vocal critics of Sarkisian’s Western-backed policy on Turkey. They are especially unhappy with a protocol clause envisaging the creation of a Turkish-Armenian “subcommission” tasked with looking into the World War One-era Armenian massacres in the Ottoman Empire.

The critics, led by the Armenian Revolutionary Federation, believe that the Turks would use the existence of such a body to deter more countries from recognizing the mass killings as genocide. Some of them also strongly object to another protocol provision that commits Armenia to explicitly recognizing its existing border with Turkey.

The extensive Civilitas report examining major developments in and around Armenia in 2010 says that the Turkish-Armenian rapprochement was based on “two fundamental miscalculations.” The Armenian side hoped that Ankara will stop linking bilateral ties with a Karabakh settlement, while the Turks thought that a breakthrough in the Karabakh peace process is imminent, it says.

“The calculations were off. The protocols were suspended and the two sides are engaged in accusation and counteraccusation,” adds the report.

Oskanian’s think-tank predicted that the normalization process will likely remain deadlocked even if Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party wins general elections due in June 2011. “Turkey will continue to insist on linkage between the normalization of relations and progress in the Karabakh negotiations, at the same time as it tries to sustain the impression that the Armenia-Turkey process is still alive, in order to impede the already diminished drive for international genocide recognition,” it said.


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  1. MK said:

    The only people that don’t understand is Serge and his band of corrupt crooks.
    The treacherous protocols have still not been cancelled.

  2. Antonio Antaramian said:

    There is a recently opened Genocide Museum in Mexico City, they mention the Armenian Genocide, but they include the Turkish view, were the Turkish ambassador says that there is a Armenian/Turkish commission investigating the facts. Even before the said subcommission was established, the Turks are already using it

  3. mko Kaynakjian said:

    I don’t get Oskanian’s duplicity. He was the architect of Armenia’s foreign policy for ten years and npw he is crying sellout?

  4. eddy said:

    Mr Voskanian.

    I would say the problem is not only the shameful protocols!
    Jewish Lobby with good connections to Israeli government has announced its full support for Turkish denial policy. This is the denial of Armenian Nation and justifying of Turkish lead genocide of Armenian people! Today, these are Kurds who claim Van and Kars being Kurdish (“Kurdistan) we are talking about the same Kurds who assists Turkish in 1915, but instead using the Kurds against Armenians, Turkish could had used Jews in 1915 and today’s Israel could had been established in historic West Armenian territories… ! . Once again Jewish Lobby is showing its true colours. Still, the statement of ADL should not become as surprise. Still we Armenians should not become a sick nation relaying on “anti” doctrines!

    Jewish Lobby and Israel has no problems with Turkish racists, Turkish fascism and Turkish ultra nationalists and nationalists. Israel and Jewish Lobby has only some disagreements with Turkish Islamic fascists – this is Erdogan & CO.

    For Jewish and Israel opposing Armenian Genocide resolutions and historical facts in this regard are the easiests way to please Turkish- without losing anything. An Anti Armenian policy pursued by Israel and Jewish lobby costs Israel nothing but gives Turkey a lot!

    Turkish has force Israel and Jews accept being “Anti Armenian / Anti-Armenianism” as one of the souls of the existence of Israel and Jews in Diaspora! Fortunately, Armenians are one of the few old nations who do not relay of any real “anti” doctrine

    One shouldn’t forget Jewish Diaspora above all in US is first of all Jews, than pro Israeli and third a US citizen. Jews in US are the only American citizens serving in Israeli Army a act in reality against the US oath – but who cares? The same applies for the president of French – Nicolas Sarkozy who promised Turkey to kill the bill on punishment of Armenian Genocide – one another poorly Anti-Armenianism act by another Jewish borne politician

  5. Harutuyn said:

    De eskan banere vor grum ek u asum ek Hayer jan arten eregvanis mer Hayutyune piti irar shurj havakver u miazayn anenk ayn inch vor Hay azgis ogut klini te che cens vor gna amen mi kusaksutyun stex endex vazelov sra nra kamake mtnelov Tashkent bambak chi mna

  6. Armanen said:

    I agree with Eddy about the role of the zionists.

    I’d also like to add that Mr. Voskanyan is an opportunist. He had hoped to keep his job as FM or better yet, get a bump up to PM, but alas he was kicked out. Now he is laying the groundwork for his run at the presidency in 2013. Whether one agrees or disagrees with the protocols, take what this man and his Western funded NGO have to say with a grain of salt.

  7. Araxi said:

    Is not ‘Civilitas’ sponsored by G.Soros?
    Why bother Mr. Oskanian? And stop acting.