Foreign Minister Mnatsakanyan Slams Ankara’s Account of Turkey-Armenia Relations
A report, which surfaced last week on a Norwegian news site claiming that Ankara had drawn military plans to attack Armenia in 2001 prompted Armenia’s Foreign Minister Zohrab Mnatsakanyan to challenge Ankara to account for the veracity of the report.
“If such an issue or claim exists, then it is the Turkish side that should [comment] first. And we haven’t yet heard any response from them. I don’t have to mention that naturally the issue contains serious matters, and we will continue following it,” said Mnatsakanyan who added that he could neither confirm nor deny the authenticity of the report.
Abdullah Bozkurt ,the author of the report, which appeared on his news portal, Nordic Monitor, told Armenpress that the report was “100 percent authentic.”
Bozkurt’s article alleges that Turkey’s 2nd Tactical Air Force Command developed an operation to attack Armenia in July of 2001, codenamed ALTAY. Bozkurt based his report on what he called leaked classified documents. He reported that Turkish military inspectors discovered that some of the pages of the plan, which detailed the alleged attack on Armenia, had gone missing while conducting a review at the Controlled Documents Bureau by the 4th Main Jet Base Command at Ankara’s Akıncı Air Base.
Mnatsakanyan on Monday also responded to his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu’s declaration that Ankara has no plans to open the border with Armenia, whose “aggression” was cited as a reason by Turkey’s top diplomat.
Cavusoglu was responding to a written query from Garo Paylan, an Armenian member of the Turkish parliament representing the People’s Democratic Party (HDP) who asked about Ankara’s official position to Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan’s statement that Armenia is ready to launch talks with Turkey without preconditions.
Cavusoglu noted that Turkey’s decision to close the border with Armenia was the result of Armenia’s occupation of Azerbaijani lands in 1993.
“For more than 26 years, Armenia’s aggressive policy has continued,” said Cavusoglu on Friday when he addressed parliament. “Consequently, there are no favorable conditions for abolishing this decision. A precondition for the normalization of Turkey-Armenia relations is the taking of clear steps to resolve the Nagorno Karabakh conflict.”
“In fact, Prime Minister Pashinyan came to power in May 2018, making speeches promising a peaceful resolution of the Karabakh conflict. But over the course of time, taking the side of the country’s hawks and diaspora agents, he seems to have changed his position. His August 5 remark that ‘Karabakh is Armenia. Period’ is proof of this. He also said at the 74th UN congress General Assembly that ‘Turkey is a serious threat to Armenia.’ Despite all this, if the Armenian side makes clear and sincere steps toward the expectations of the international community and international law in the direction of resolving the Karabakh conflict, Turkey will respond,” added Cavusoglu.
Mnatsakanyan accused Ankara of distorting history and referred to the Turkey-Armenia protocols, saying Turkey abandoned that process.
“Everything happened before our eyes. Not 100 years ago. We were all witnesses—including the international community. It’s very fresh in our memory. This happened ten years ago, and we saw the subsequent process. This is today’s story. If people representing the Turkish state do not find it inappropriate to distort the history of our days, not to respect the obligations and their own signature, blaming others for the failure of this process, it is obvious why the events dating back to 100 years are distorted. There are suggestions to review [history], they suggest creating a commission of historians. It is nothing but a suggestion to say ‘yes’ to the denial,” explained Mnatsakanyan.
He reiterated Yerevan’s ongoing position that relations should be normalized without preconditions, but, he said two parties are needed.
“Their policy is working in another directions. Turkey’s threat is displayed in its policy, actions and rhetoric. What we see is continuous blockade, lack of willingness to normalize [relations], unconditional military assistance to Azerbaijan in the context of the Karabakh conflict. All this reflects the meaning of the expression ‘a threat to the security of Armenia.’ Armenia expressed its position and is committed to it. As for the Zurich protocols, Turkey abandoned them,” said Mnatsakanyan.