YEREVAN—The Turkey-Armenia Protocols were officially declared null and void by Armenia on Thursday when President Serzh Sarkisian convened a meeting of the National Security Council and instructed Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian to officially convey the decision to Ankara.
“I ask the Minister of Foreign Affairs to notify the Turkish side of our decision. After that, the Republic of Armenia will no longer have any legal obligation arising from the signing of those protocols,” said Sarkisian, noting that with a letter stating Armenia’s position on this issue he had notified all parties present at the signing ceremony, in particular, the Presidents of Russia, France, the United States and Switzerland, as well as the President of the Council of the European Union and the Secretary General of the Council of Europe, “expressing profound gratitude to them and all those international organizations that have supported us in this initiative.”
There was no immediate reaction from Turkey.
Sarkisian announced his intentions to nullify the Protocols when he addressed the United Nations General Assembly in September, saying “Armenia will declare those two Protocols null and void since they continuously lacked any positive progress toward their implementation. We will enter the spring of 2018 without those, as our experience has demonstrated, futile Protocols.”
“The leadership of Turkey is mistaken if they think that those documents can be held hostage forever and ratified only at the most opportune occasion from their very point of view,” added Sarkisian during the September UN General Assembly session.
“Armenia played checkers. Turkey played chess,” said Aram Hamparian, the executive director of the Armenian National Committee of America, which at the time of the Protocols process was an outspoken opponent of the process warning of the negative impact of the document on Armenia and entire Armenian Cause.
“Yerevan pursued these reckless pro-Turkey accords over the common sense objections of the ANCA and nearly every civil society voice across the Armenian homeland and diaspora. We issued countless warnings, held endless meetings and even organized protests, setting forth clear evidence and compelling arguments against this one-sided deal. Turns out, we were right on every count. Lessons learned, the hard way,” added Hamparian.
“I want to highlight two important things. The first is that to my strong belief the path we passed was very useful. When we started the negotiation process, we naturally predicted two outcomes – positive or negative. And we came to the conclusion that we are winners in both cases. The successful completion of the process stemmed from the two peoples’ interests, while the failure might convince the international community that the reason behind the lack of relations should be sought elsewhere, at least not in Armenia’s working style. And I think that we have secured it completely,” said Sarkisian, according to a statement from the presidential press service.
Sarkisian left the door open, however, for other efforts to normalize ties between the two countries, saying that “if we get proposals tomorrow, or the next day, we will be ready to discuss them, but before that we will try to develop as we were developing until now without having diplomatic relations with Turkey.”
“I am not sure that a new set of protocols will be prepared, but if in the future something like that happens the Republic of Armenia should be guided by its national interests. We have a demand for Armenian Genocide recognition and reparations from Turkey, and we also have the pan-Armenian declaration of 2015,” said Gaspar Karapetyan, president of the European European Armenian Federation for Justice and Democracy, referring to a document signed ahead of the Armenian Genocide centennial.
“Up to this day, the absence of any step towards the ratification of the Protocols from the Turkish side, continuous attempts to link the ratification of the protocols with preconditions, provocative statements against Armenia and Armenians voiced by Ankara vividly attest that Turkey is not ready to ratify and implement the Protocols,” said Foreign Minister Nalbandian in a presentation to the NSC, following which Sarkisian instructed him of the final decision.
“Armenia has always been consistent in its stance on the implementation of those protocols. Unfortunately, the further developments demonstrated once again that Ankara is not ready for the normalization and that the vocal statements of the Turkish side on the readiness to, so called, historical reconciliation have nothing to do with the reality. Even on the day of protocols’ signing the Turkish side again tried to voice the preconditions it had been using before the launch of the process. For this reason the signing ceremony was delayed for couple of hours. The high level representatives of the international community attending the ceremony, both at that time and later, stated that the protocols should be ratified within the reasonable timeframe and implemented without preconditions,” added Nalbandian.
“However, following the signing of the Zurich protocols, Turkey returned to the language of preconditions which not only had nothing to do with the letter and spirit of the protocols, but was contradicting to those. Turkey conditioned the ratification of the protocols to the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict according to the maximalist and groundless approaches of the Azerbaijani side and openly welcomed the provocative statements and actions of Azerbaijan against Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh,” explained Nalbandian.
“Not only Armenia, but the countries and international organizations that supported the process stated that the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh issue cannot be linked to the process of normalization of the Armenian-Turkish relations. Such attempts can harm both processes,” said Nalbandian.