Constitutional Court gives a green light to Armenian-Turkish protocols

Constitutional Court sitting
Armenia - The Constitutional Court discusses the Armenian - Turkish protocols, Yerevan, 12Jan,2010

The Consitutional Court issued a verdict on January 12, giving its approval to the Armenian-Turkish protocols on normalizing bilateral relations, and dismissing claims by Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutiun), that some provisions contained in the protocols are unconstitutional.

The protocols were submitted to the Constitutional court by President Serzh Sargsian, as the decision of the high court is necessary before the Armenian Parliament can discuss the protocols.

Knowing the way things work in Armenia, it was easy to predict, that if President Sargsian wants the court’s approval, he’ll get it, even if the protocols contain the most unconstitutional of things. The court’s decision today, means, that President Sargsian still wants the protocols ratified, even though he explicitly threatened to walk away from the landmark agreements with Turkey if Ankara continues to make their implementation conditional on the resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

Meanwhile, the most influential voice against the protocols is that of Dashnakstutiun. But while regular Dashnaktsutiun party members and supporters genuinely believe in struggling against the protocols, the top Dashnakstutiun leaders in Armenia continue their half-hearted ‘constructive’ opposition policy, leaving many people with the impression, that their protests are also directed from the President’s office, to give Serzh Sargsian additional leverage in talks with Turkey and make him look like the hero on the white horse, fighting nationalists for peace and reconciliation in the region. This episode reported by RFE/RL only too well illustrates the above point:

Vahan Hovannisian, another Dashnaktsutyun leader, faced muted discontent when he told the small crowd picketing the court building to disperse after the announcement of the verdict. “People, the struggle still lies ahead and it is pointless to stand here,” he said. “So please go home now.”

“Comrade Vahan, we can’t fight in this way,” countered one woman. “We need a tougher struggle.” “We must change this government,” said another protester.

“It’s still too early [to do that,]” replied Hovannisian.

Meanwhile, I would strongly encourage reading Amberin Zaman’s opinion piece “Will Armenia Revoke Its Signature from the Protocols?” here.

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