WASHINGTON (RFE/RL)–The U.S. State Department said late on Monday that it will continue to press for a speedy and unconditional implementation of the Turkish-Armenian normalization agreements despite mounting tensions between Ankara and Yerevan.
“Our position in private remains our position in public, that stemming from the agreement between Turkey and Armenia late last year, it is important that both sides take steps to fulfill the commitments that they have made,” department spokesman Philip Crowley told a news briefing in Washington.
“Obviously, we understand that this involves actions where the executive branch of each country working with their respective legislatures, and we will continue our conversations with both Turkey and Armenia to encourage them to ratify the agreement that was reached late last year,” he said.
Crowley confirmed that U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu discussed the latest snags in the ratification process in a phone call late last week. Davutoglu reportedly phoned Clinton to complain about an Armenian Constitutional Court ruling which Ankara claims runs counter to the two Turkish-Armenian “protocols.”
The Armenian government insists that the court did not challenge any of the protocol provisions and on the contrary paved the way for the deal’s ratification by Armenia’s National Assembly. Some Armenian officials have also accused the Turks of using the ruling to justify their linkage between Turkish parliamentary ratification and the resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
The State Department has also effectively dismissed the Turkish claims. Assistant Secretary of State Philip Gordon told RFE/RL shortly after Clinton’s conversation with Davutoglu that Washington views the Armenian ruling as a “positive step forward in the ratification process of the normalization protocols between Turkey and Armenia.”
The State Department reaffirmed Gordon’s remarks in a statement posted on its website later on Monday.
The U.S. has yet to publicly comment on Armenian threats to walk away from the agreements if they are not implemented by Ankara “within a reasonable timeframe.”