YEREVAN (Yerkir)—Armenia and Turkey will reconcile only when Ankara recognizes the Armenian Genocide, said President Serzh Sarkisian in an interview published Monday in Moscow News.
“There can be no reconciliation without Genocide recognition. Those who are trying to present attempts to establish relations with Turkey as reconciliation are wrong. Real reconciliation comes after recognition,” he said.
Sarkisian said that when efforts to normalize relations with Turkey were launched, many opponents said that the process would impede efforts for international recognition of the Genocide. In his estimation, that conjecture was wrong.
“The fact of Armenian Genocide is indisputable and we must spare no effort for Turkey to recognize the Genocide finally. It is a struggle for justice and for security. It is, at the end of the day, a struggle for inadmissibility of such crimes not only in our region, but throughout the world,” he emphasized.
Sarkisian also said that geography was a fate and “we must have at least some relations with neighbors. Of course, not at all costs.”
On the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict resolution issues, Sarkisian said the people of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic must determine its own fate and be able to safely develop on its own historic homeland.
He went on to explain that the OSCE Minsk Group has made a proposal, known as the Madrid Principles, in which three principles have been delineated—the non-use of force and threats of military escalation; territorial integrity and people’s right to self-determination. Sarkisian added that Armenia has accepted these principles as a basis for discussion and the eventual drafting of a peace agreement.
Sarkisian expressed that while Azerbaijan, after long contemplation, has agreed to these principles its leadership continuously threatens military action, which, Sarkisian said, was a direct violation of the first Madrid principle.
President Sarkisian went on to explain that Azerbaijan’s understanding of the other two principles is skewed, thus impeding the negotiations from going forward.
Armenia and Azerbaijan have different interpretations of two key principles that are at the heart of a framework agreement to end the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict proposed by international mediators, President Serzh Sarkisian said in a newspaper interview published on Monday.
“They see the right to self-determination [principle] as mere self-determination within the realm of Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity,” said Sarkisian.
“Such self-determination does not exist. It is a skewed, primitive self-determination. Therefore, as long as Azerbaijan does not understand the definition of this principle, it will be very difficult to resolve the conflict.”
According to Sarkisian, territorial integrity does not mean no changes in borders, or else, he explained, there would not be new states on the world map, including Armenia and Azerbaijan.
“During the last 20 to 30 years, dozens of new states have appeared on the world map,” he explained.
“Karabakh defended its independence in a bloody and bitter war, in extremely harsh conditions, and it would be naïve to think that the people of Karabakh would give up all of that—what they achieved,” added Sarkisian.
Sarkisian did not rule out the likelihood of another war, saying that continued Azeri threats and Baku’s preparations for another war signal their plans to unleash new military attacks.
In the event of war, Sarkisian said, there could be two scenarios. The first would be the complete occupation of Nagorno-Karabakh, which would succeed only with the complete annihilation of Karabakh’s population.
“The second one is Azerbaijan’s defeat, loss of new territories. Azerbaijan would then complain about the loss of another five, six or more territories… And then what? Another cease-fire agreement… The violation of that cease fire regime… New war… All these scenarios are shortsighted,” said Sarkisian.
He also touched on the issue of Armenia’s recognition of Karabakh’s independence. Sarkisian explained that such a move could happen in the event of resumption of military attacks. He explained that Armenia has not yet recognized Karabakh because it did not want to derail the negotiations.
“It is better to negotiate,” explained Sarkisian.