YEREVAN (Yerkir)—Calling it a retreat from generations of struggle and a disgrace, the Armenian Revolutionary Federation, at a rally Wednesday, warned of the dangers emanating from the Armenia-Turkey normalization process as outlined by the protocols announced earlier this week. The rally was organized to mark the 18th anniversary of Karabakh’s independence.
Speaking to the thousands gathered at Yerevan’s Aznavour Square, ARF Bureau member Vahan Hovannesian expressed the unequivocal rejection by his party of the protocols for establishment and development of relations between Armenia and Turkey, which were announced on Monday.
He warned that the documents did not reflect the aspirations of Armenia and were guided by elements that, in the long run, would benefit Turkey and its interests in the region, including the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and its aspirations for membership in the EU.
Hovannesian pointed out that the Armenian authorities have agreed to further concessions in a process that was supposed to have been advanced without any preconditions, as articulated on numerous occasions by Armenia’s leaders.
“No matter how extensively our and US officials contend that talks on Turkish-Armenian relations are proceeding without preconditions, Turkey has not abandoned them and has adeptly managed to construct the entire negotiations package around its preconditions,” said Hovannesian.
He outlined that the provisions of the protocols have weakened the process to attain international recognition for the Genocide and are effectively forcing the recognition of the anti-Armenian Kars Treaty, to which Armenia was not a signatory.
“We view as careless efforts by the Armenian President and Foreign Minister to seek a quick resolution through negotiations. Our people will pay a very high price for that,” warned Hovannesian, enumerating Turkey’s gains and Armenia’s losses since the announcement of the so-called “roadmap” agreement on the eve of the 94th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide.
Hovannesian stressed that the ARF has never been against the reopening of the Turkish-Armenian border. However, he said the party can by no means agree to “the price the Armenian authorities are willing to pay” for meeting Turkey’s preconditions.
“We say ‘yes’ to the establishment of diplomatic relations without any preconditions. However, in their present form, the Protocols are unacceptable and must be revised,” Hovannesian stated.
The same sentiments were echoed by ARF Supreme Council of Armenia chairman Armen Rustamian, who also discussed the party’s position on the ongoing Nagorno-Karabakh conflict resolution process.
He said that the current negotiations process are also pressuring Yerevan to agree to a hasty agreement, through which withdrawal of liberated territories surrounding the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic is stipulated without security guarantees and the demand for determination of a new status, which goes counter to democratic norms, since Karabakh has already determined its status through popular vote.
ARF parliamentary bloc member Ara Nranyan also discussed Armenia’s domestic situation, outlining socio-economic reforms to strengthen Armenian society and national interests.