U.S. Praises Armenian Constitutional Court Ruling despite Turkey's claims

The United States welcomed the ruling by Armenia’s Constitutional Court late on Friday, effectively dismissing Turkey’s claims that it runs counter to the Turkish-Armenian fence-mending agreements, RFE/RL reports.
Turkey had been inventing all sorts of non-existing ‘preconditions, limitations’ in Armenian Constitutional Court’s ruling on the Armenia-Turkey normalization protocols, in an attempt to back away from the rapprochement process while laying the blame on Armenia. UPDATED

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu threatened, that he’ll talk to the big guys: US, Switzerland (the mediator in the process) and urge them to put pressure on the Armenian leadership.
“We view the court decision as a positive step forward in the ratification process of the normalization protocols between Turkey and Armenia,” U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Philip Gordon said in written comments sent to RFE/RL. “The court decision permits the protocols, as they were negotiated and signed, to move forward towards parliamentary ratification, and does not appear to limit or qualify them in any way.”
Clause 5 in the Constitutional Court’s decision, specifically says the following: “The RA Constitutional Court also finds that the provisions of the Protocol on Development of Relations between the Republic of Armenia and the Republic of Turkey cannot be interpreted or applied in the legislative process and application practice of the Republic of Armenia as well as in the interstate relations in a way that would contradict the provisions of the Preamble to the RA Constitution and the requirement of Paragraph 11 of the Declaration of Independence of Armenia.
Paragraph 11 of the Declaration of Independence of Armenia reads: “The Republic of Armenia stands in support of the task of achieving international recognition of the 1915 Genocide in Ottoman Turkey and Western Armenia.”
PS: The illustration above represents the reaction of one of the Armenian bloggers – Tevyants, to the US comments on Turkey’s claims. I find it very much to the point.

Artur Papyan

Journalist, blogger, digital security and media consultant


  1. What was the constitutional challenge and what in the decision might prompt Turkey to get agitated?

    1. The Constitutional Court said the Armenian-Turkish protocols cannot be interpreted in ways, which would counter the provisions of Armenia’s Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. It also said, the Protocols cannot contain preconditions related to third parties.
      According to Turkey, Armenia’s Constitutional Court is thus reaffirming the provision in Armenia’s Declaration of Independence, which says the Republic of Armenia will encourage and aid the process of International recognition of the Genocide of Armenians in Ottoman Turkey from 1915 and onwards.
      Another phrase in the verdict of the Constitutional Court makes it clear, that the protocols do not concern any third parties (i.e. Karabakh).

  2. Here’s also a link to the full text of Constitutional Court’s decision in PDF format: http://www.concourt.am/english/decisions/common/pdf/850.pdf

    1. Thanks. Their conclusion is quite logical (even if I think that the Constitutional Court is a joke) – when I read the protocols, nothing struck me as unconstitutional or against the declaration of independence which is not law.

  3. Seems like a smart tactic in this complex diplomatic dance. Turkey won’t like either nuance, and sure as hell won’t like State’s support for this interpretation.

    1. Well, technically, the US didn’t say they support the Court’s interpretation. They said: “The court decision permits the protocols, as they were negotiated and signed, to move forward towards parliamentary ratification.” ARF-Dashnakstutiun have already said this is a way to pressure Armenia to make sure, that they don’t attempt any modifications to the protocols, although I don’t quite see their point.

  4. ARF’s point about USA attempting to pressure Armenia to not demand any modifications to the protocols regarding Nagorno-Karabakh, is correct. USA wants Nagorno-Karabakh to eventually be given to Azerbaijan in a separate “negotiation”, i.e pressuring Armenia.
    USA has military bases in Turkey and will do whatever necessary to please Turkey to keep these bases. Turkey wants to improve relations with Armenia so that Armenia will relinquish its claim to Nagorno-Karabakh. Better relations with Armenia will help Turkey to join the European Union which USA has been pushing for many years. Also, Turkey has interests in the new Nabucco pipeline to transport Central Asian natural gas from Baku, Azerbaijan, through Georgia into Erzurum, Turkey, and then into Western Europe. This pipeline will reduce Russia’s share of natural exports to Europe. Interests of USA strongly coincide with that of Turkey and Azerbaijan.
    This Nabucco pipeline and the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline pass near Nagorno-Karabakh. Armenian claims to Nagorno-Karabakh threaten to disrupt the pipeline routes. Should Armenia keep control of Nagorno-Karabakh, the position of USA, Turkey and Azerbaijan would be weakened and Russia’s hand would be strengthened, since Armenia has close relations with Russia. USA did not spend trillions of dollars to invade and occupy countries just so Armenians would stop its aspirations and interests.
    So, Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh will be sacrificed for the interests of USA, Turkey and Azerbaijan. The establishment of diplomatic ties between Armenia and Turkey and opening of borders, with the full support of USA, are only the first step in sacrificing Armenians.
    Sorry for this long comment but tried to make it as short as possible while including my main points.

    1. Thanks for the clarifications, Ibelin. Your comment, and the points made by Mr Giro Manoyan, the ARF-Dashnaktsutyun party’s chief foreign policy spokesman, as well as other Dashnaktsutyun leaders opened it up a little bit.
      Allow me, however, to disagree. Firstly, I find it strange, that Turkey is so much eager to walk away from the border opening deal. If it is so good for them, and so unfavorable to us, why is it, how can you explain their stance?
      I also find it strange, that ARF-Dashnakstutyun, of all political parties, should agree with Turkey, that the deal should be blocked. That tells me one thing – the rapprochement process includes a fair deal of reasonable compromise.
      I have been reading the Armenian-Turkish protocols, both English and Armenian versions over and over again, and haven’t found th preconditions mentioned by opposition political forces. I also trust, that President Serzh Sargsian, a Karabakh born himself, wouldn’t agree to a deal which would hurt the interests of Karabakh.
      Lastly, the US have a very good understanding of situation both in Armenia and in Azerbaijan. And the situation is following: nobody in their right mind would dream of giving Karabakh back to Azerbaijan. That would oppose all the recent tendencies in the world (Kosovo, Abkhazia, Sth. Ossetia, North Cyprus, Palestine), but would also be a genocidal move. The US cannot be that unrealistic.

      1. …and I also believe in the lobbying power of the Armenian Diaspora in the US. The Obama administration can’t afford to work for a move, which would finally alienate the already frustrated Diaspora. Obama’s careful wording and attempts to justify his refusal to use the Genocide word when referring to atrocities in the Ottoman empire, indicate the opposite.

  5. Observer, thank you for your comments.
    US praise for the Armenian Constitutional Court ruling is a praise of relief that the Armenian Court did not place obstacles to move the US-supported plan forward.
    Turkey knows that opening the borders without more concessions from Armenia to reach its final goals, especially in regards to Nagorno-Karabakh, is not good for Turkey. This is the reason Turkey is demanding more concessions. Turkey figures that it managed to talk the Armenian government into this agreement of opening the borders and establishing diplomatic ties and now is using the opportunity to pressure Armenians to give up Nagorno-Karabakh. Also, Turkish leaders are listening to many of their citizens and are eager to appease Azerbaijan’s government who are opposed to opening the borders without getting more from Armenia first. Turkey wants the whole lump sum quickly which includes Nagorno-Karabakh. Whereas, USA is hoping to reach the final point in stages – first, opening the border and the diplomatic ties, then Nagorno-Karabakh, then something else until they achieve all their goals.
    Obama cannot be trusted. He has not kept any of his promises made during his campaign for president except for the promise that he would expand the wars of aggression in Afghanistan and Pakistan. I will not get into detail about his many broken promises as this is not the forum for them. While campaigning for president, he promised Armenians in USA that he will acknowledge the Armenian Genocide by the Ottoman Turks but as president, he has refused to use the word genocide and wants Armenians to, more or less, forget and move on. Bush did the same about the Armenian Genocide. Obama and US politicians do what is good for the expansion of their empire and their global ambitions. They depend on the power of USA promising safety, buying, bribing and threatening leaders of other countries to get what they want and they believe they will be able to do the same with Armenia’s leaders.
    Regarding the “recent tendencies” in the countries and areas you mention, Kosovo, Abkhazia, Sth. Ossetia, North Cyprus, Palestine: It was beneficial for USA to break up former Yugoslavia to bits and pieces and then go to war against Serbs. USA wanted Kosovo to be a separate country for the benefit of USA and lost no time in building two gigantic military bases, Camp Bondsteel and Camp Monteith in Kosovo. USA helped train Georgian military and provided assistance to Georgia to gain control over South Ossetia and Abkhazia but Russia stopped their plan by force, unexpectedly. In fact, USA and its allies have not recognized independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia while they quickly recognized Kosovo’s independence – they have not recognized Nagorno-Karabakh’s independence from Azerbaijan either. Divided Cyprus and Palestine serve US interests because of US alliances with Turkey and Israel – aside from the fact that Israel occupies and controls Washington when it comes to Palestine and US Middle East foreign policies. So, the “tendencies” are what benefits USA and its allies, and that includes Nagorno-Karabakh’s future.
    USA has far more interests in Turkey and Azerbaijan because of the reasons cited in my first comment than in Armenia. USA is not going to jeopardize its alliances with these countries because of Armenia unless circumstances change where Turkey takes steps that USA does not like. For example, if Turkey were to shut down US military bases in Turkey, then USA would look at situations differently. However, I doubt very much that Turkey will shut down Incirlik Air Base where US nuclear bombs are hosted and some are allocated for use by Turkish Air Force.
    Turkish lobbying groups, money and its alliances with USA are far more powerful than the “lobbying power of the Armenian Diaspora in the USA” which cannot even make a US president use the word genocide in fear of antagonizing Turkey. Testimonies by Sibel Deniz Edmonds, former FBI translator, partly exposes Turkey’s great influence on US politicians.

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