YEREVAN (RFE/RL)—President Serzh Sarkisian’s message to his Turkish counterpart Abdullah Gul, in which the latter was urged to take decisive steps toward the ratification of the Armenia-Turkey protocols, was Armenia’s effort to pressure Turkey and warn that Armenia’s patience was wearing thin, assessed Armenian Revolutionary Federation Bureau chairman Hrant Markarian Tuesday.
The ARF leader, who granted an interview to Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, pointed out that Turkey was also exerting pressure on Armenia by constantly linking the normalization process with a resolution to the Karabakh conflict that favors Azerbaijan. Markarian also said that Turkey was using last month’s Armenian Constitutional Court decision to pressure the Armenian parliament to not ratify the protocols with “reservations,” as outlined by the high court’s ruling.
Since Turkey, “is succeeding in applying pressure in this regards,” any delays in the process will harm Armenia, said Markarian.
Thus, Markarian stressed, Armenia must deem the negotiations a failure, due to Turkey, no later than March.
On his way to London Tuesday, Sarkisian issued a message to Gul urging Turkey to take decisive steps in the protocol ratification process. Sarkisian’s efforts were immediately rebuffed by Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu who called the letter “a customary message” by world leaders when crossing another country’s airspace.
Markarian claimed that Armenia’s leadership has toughened its conciliatory policy on Turkey under pressure from the ARF, adding that Sarkisian had a hand in the Constitutional Court ruling on the Turkish-Armenian protocols that has been condemned by Turkey.
“Our struggle was the reason why the Constitutional Court made that decision,” Markarian said in the interview. “Serzh Sarkisian was not uninvolved in the making of that decision.”
“I think it would be fair to say that there is some toughening of the [Sarkisian administration’s] position on both the Karabakh issue and Turkish-Armenian relations,” he said.
“With the Constitutional Court decision, Armenia adopted a new policy,” said Markarian. “One should be frank and consistent in that approach till the end. If we stop half way on the approach defined by the Constitutional Court decision, I think we will discredit ourselves.”
Markarian reiterated in that regard the ARF’s calls for Armenia’s parliament to ratify the protocols with corresponding “reservations.” He indicated that his party had concerns to this effect and will work hard to ensure that the parliament will adhere to the decision of the Constitutional Court.
Markarian also addressed the ARF’s call for regime change in Armenia saying, “We are trying to achieve regime change by means of elections, regular or non-regular. Going beyond elections is a different thing which we are not seeking at the moment.”