ZURICH—At 11:16 a.m. Pacific Standard Time on Saturday Armenia and Turkey signed the protocols on establishment and development of relations after a ‘glitch’ that delayed the signing for hours, requiring mediation by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
In a dramatic turn of events, the signing of the protocols on were delayed due to reported ‘glitches’ in an announcement to have been made after the signing.
Reportedly the glitches involved language in statements that were to be delivered after the signing ceremony.
After intense mediation by Clinton and other State Department officials, foreign minister Eduard Nalbandian of Armenia Ahemt Davutoglu of Turkey returned to a hall at Zurich University and signed the document, which now awaits the ratification by the parliaments of both countries.
The crisis stemmed from the two parties’, Turkey and Armenia, attempts to interfere in the statements, it was reported.
According to the speculation, Nalbandian wanted to refer in the statement to the 1915 killings of the Armenians at the hands of the Ottoman Empire by using the word “genocide,” reported the Hurriyet newspaper. The Turkish side, on the other hand, wanted to refer to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict in the statement, something Armenia says has nothing to do with the normalization of ties with Turkey.
In pursuing the accord, Turkey won a commitment from Washington to step up its efforts to settle the dispute over the breakaway territory of Nagorno-Karabakh, an Armenian enclave in the Turkish ally of Azerbaijan, officials said.
In Istanbul, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said, “Armenian demands in time will be very important. We’ll not bend in the face of those demands.” Erdogan assured that Turkey would not take any step that would leave Azerbaijan in difficulty. Asked about the meeting of the Armenian and Azeri presidents in Moldova last Thursday, he said a more positive step could be taken that would contribute to the normalization between Turkey and Armenia. “Despite this, we are in favor of developing relations with Armenia by protecting our good intentions and in a way that will not hurt Azerbaijan,” he told reporters.
ANCA Chairman Ken Hachikian made a statement following the signing of the Turkey-Armenia protocols Saturday.
“The success of Turkey in pressuring Armenia into accepting these humiliating, one-sided protocols proves, sadly, that genocide pays.”
“President Obama, rather than honoring his pledge to recognize the Armenian Genocide, went in exactly the opposite direction, applying the full force of our nation’s diplomacy to twist the arm of a landlocked and blockaded Armenia – a nation still struggling with the brutal legacy of its near-destruction – into accepting a dangerous set of protocols that call into question this very crime against humanity.”
“The ANCA and all Armenian Americans will continue our efforts to restore morality to our nation’s response to the Armenian Genocide, and, more broadly, to the cause of genocide prevention. We will also work to prevent Turkey from using this agreement to further its genocide denial campaign, to undermine the rights of the Armenian nation, or to threaten the freedom of Nagorno Karabakh.”