ANKARA—Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Monday accused Armenia of caving in to “Armenian Diaspora’s pressure,” as a result of which he threatened to oust Armenia from future regional projects.
“Official Yerevan keeps the gates of friendship with Turkey locked under the Armenian Diaspora’s pressure,” Erdogan reportedly told his ruling Justice and Development (AKP) party’s conference, blaming Armenia for freezing out Turkey, when it was Ankara that closed its borders with Armenia in 1993 in solidarity with Azerbaijan, which at the time was waging a brutal war against Karabakh.
“As a result, Armenia is ousted from regional transport and energy projects. Moreover, it is plunging into a deepening isolation,” he said, noting instead that Georgia, Armenia’s northern neighbor, has successfully built bridges between Turkey and the West, and the Caucasus region and the Middle East.
“These two examples are very demonstrative,” Erdogan said. “Anyone developing friendly ties with us secures gains, while those holding grudges suffer losses.”
Last month leaders of Turkey, Azerbaijan and Georgia gathered in Baku to open the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railroad, which they hailed as a transport route that will benefit trade and tourism.
Yerevan hit back on Monday by accusing Turkey of blocking the channels for normalizing relations.
Armenia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Shavarsh Kocharyan listed Turkey’s unwillingness to sign the Turkey-Armenia Protocols as an example of Turkey’s of “blocking all channels of bilateral cooperation.”.
“The channels for normalization of relations with Turkey are well known. Those are the Armenian-Turkish Protocols signed in Zurich, in 2009, as well as their ratification. Turkey refused to ratify those protocols; therefore, it is Turkey blocking the channels for normalization of the Armenian-Turkish relations,” Kochayan told Panorama.am