BY ARA KHACHATOURIAN
The Armenian presidential office on Wednesday announced that President Serzh Sarkisian will make an address to the nation and announce a critical decision on the fate of the Armenia-Turkey protocols.
The Armenian nation is still reeling from last year’s discouraging and unfortunate April 22 announcement by Turkey and Armenia of a “roadmap” toward normalization of relations, which led to the signing, last October, of the dangerous protocols.
Before leaving for Washington on April 12, President Sarkisian hinted that he had formulated a policy on the protocols, adding that he would make an announcement at the appropriate time.
It seems the time has come and the nation should brace itself for another significant turn of events on the eve of the 95th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide.
However, Sarkisian’s recent assertive posturing on the Genocide issue, as articulated in London’s Chatham House, Der Zor, in an interview with the German Der Spiegel magazine and last week in Washington following a memorial service at the President Woodrow Wilson’s tomb indicates that Yerevan is keen to pursue international recognition of the Genocide and rejects any forum through which the veracity of the Armenian Genocide could be questioned.
In fact, the symbolism of Sarkisian’s statement at Wilson’s tomb also was seen as a signal to US political circles that the efforts of the 28th US president on behalf of Armenia are a viable solution to the Armenian Cause.
In contrast, official Ankara, through Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has continued its vitriolic attacks against the memory of the Genocide victims by firmly denying the facts and threatening the Armenian people.
“If democratic assemblies dare to mention the ethnic cleansing of Armenians in the 20th century, I will personally complete that cleansing in the 21st!” threatened Erdogan on the Turkish-language service of the BBC.
Following his trip to Washington and meetings with President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton, Erdogan continued to precondition the ratification of the Turkey-Armenia protocols with the resolution of the Karabakh conflict.
“Members of the [Armenian] Security Council discussed the latest developments in the process of normalizing relations between Armenia and Turkey,” said the statement issued by the president’s office on Wednesday. “President Sarkisian said that he has held a series of consultations on this issue with the leaders of the parties making up the [governing] political coalition.”
“The president of the republic will address the people on the results of the decision made as a result of the discussions,” it added without elaboration.
We should be cautious as we anticipate the president’s address Thursday. At the same time, the president also should be extremely cautious and NOT repeat his tragic mistake of last year.
Given his recent posturing, he should announce to the nation and to the world that he is withdrawing Armenia’s signature from the protocols, because the Armenian nation cannot—and will not—tolerate another April 22.