YEREVAN (RFE/RL)—The Armenian National Congress gave late Tuesday a mostly positive assessment of an agreement paving the way for the normalization of Turkish-Armenian relations, while rejecting one of its key provisions.
The Congress and its top leader, former President Levon Ter-Petrosian, have previously harshly criticized President Serzh Sarkisian’s conciliatory policy toward Turkey, saying that it has earned Armenia no tangible benefits. Some Congress representatives are also highly critical of a potentially ground-breaking statement issued by the Armenian, Turkish and Swiss foreign ministries on Monday.
The opposition alliance’s official reaction to the development was more positive. “The normalization of Turkish-Armenian relations stems from the interests of the two countries and peoples as well as peace and stability in the region,” the alliance said in a statement. “The protocols on the establishment of diplomatic relations and development of bilateral ties mark substantial progress in that direction.”
The Congress at the same rejected as “unacceptable” the establishment of a Turkish-Armenian panel of experts tasked with looking into the 1915 Genocide of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire, which is envisaged by one of the draft protocols. Echoing the views of many in Armenia and its Diaspora, it said the very existence of such a body “calls into question the reality of the Armenian genocide.”
The Congress also expressed concern about another provision whereby the Turkish-Armenian agreements will take effect only after being ratified by the parliaments of the two countries. It said that allows Ankara to indefinitely delay the reopening of the Turkish-Armenian border.