YEREVAN—Defending his administration’s 2009 Armenian-Turkish protocols, Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian on Friday pointed to Turkey as the side to blame for the still frozen relations between the two countries.
“We should note that all our partners and supporters have come to understand that it’s not the Armenian side to be blamed for the absence of Armenian-Turkish relations,” Sarkisian said. “This is important, because even our friends have on several occasions accused us of being non-constructive, for trying to talk to Turkey in the presence of preconditions, and for having our share of guilt in the nonexistence of relations. I think no one has such views today.”
The President said the initiative to normalize relations with Turkey laid the ground for a cultural shift. “We started to put such complex issues on the discussion board and proved once again that we are ready to discuss the most difficult issues with different layers of our society, our compatriots,” he added.
The President recalled criticisms against the two protocols. “Many were insisting that the protocols had at least two negative aspects. First, they feared it would suspend the process of recognition of the Armenian Genocide in the long-term,” Sarkisian said. “Now the Turks have concentrated all their efforts to fight against the Armenian Genocide resolution that passed the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.”
“Secondly, can anyone say today that the protocols have caused harm to the settlement of the Nagorno Karabakh issue and that with these protocols we created bases for concessions?” the President said.
“We have a strong position on the issue,” he said. Speaking about tensions at the Azerbaijani border, the President said that had the enemy’s position been strong, they would not escalate tensions.
President Sarkisian stressed one more factor he saw as important: “If, as many were insisting, the protocols were anti-Armenian and derived from Turkey’s interests, why haven’t the Turks ratified them so far?”
“It’s obvious that had the documents been pro-Turkish, Ankara would not have stopped for anything – for considerations of Baku’s opinion on the matter or otherwise — they would rather ratify the protocols,” Sarkisian said. “Besides, if the protocols were pro-Turkish, they would not create tensions inside Turkey,” he added.