“Unfortunately Turkey has backtracked from the agreements. Not only has it refrained from ratifying the protocols, but Ankara has returned to the language of preconditions that it had used before the beginning of the process,” Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian has written in an op-ed published by the Wall Street Journal, adding: “One needs to prove one’s good intentions by deeds.”
Last year on Oct. 10 in Zurich, after intense negotiations, Armenia and Turkey reached agreement and the foreign ministers of the two countries signed the protocols on the establishment of diplomatic relations, opening of the border and development of bilateral relations.
But since the signing ceremony, senior officials in Turkey have linked ratification of the protocols with progress in a separate dispute between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the status of Nagorno-Karabakh. Responding to conditions put forward by Turkey, Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan suspended the ratification process of protocols in the Armenian parliemanet on April 23, 2010, 1 day before the Armenian Genocide remembrance day, but he indicated that Yerevan was not, for now, withdrawing its signature from the documents – a statement welcomed by the international community, in particular by the United States and the European Union.
“Our position was reflected in the well-known approach of normalization of relations without any preconditions. It was the bottom-line principle for starting the negotiations with Turkey. With this common understanding we started, conducted this process and came to the agreements,” Armenian Foreign Minister has written one year after the historical signing of documents.
“It seems we speak in different languages. On the one hand, the Turkish leaders pretend that they always respect the principle of pacta sunt servanda (agreements must be kept), but on the other hand, they refrain from ratifying and implementing the agreements signed by themselves in Zurich. What does that mean? They claim they have no preconditions, that they simply demand that we fulfill this or that before they can proceed with the ratification. Does this mean they have no preconditions?” he asks, adding, that while Turkey speaks about the need to have a “comprehensive solution” for the problems of the South Caucasus region, in reality “it is a mere rhetoric, all words and no performance.”
“Smokescreen against Armenian Genocide recognition”
“Hypocritically Turkey also uses the normalization process as a smokescreen for baseless argument that the adoption of resolutions on the Armenian Genocide in various countries can damage the normalization process. Yet, from the beginning of the process we made clear both in our contacts with the Turkish partners as well as publicly that Armenia will never put under question the fact of the Armenian Genocide or the importance of its international recognition,” Nalbandian has written touching on perhaps the most sensitive issue for President Serzh Sargsyan’s government as he initiated the Armenian – Turkish normalization process.
Fears, that the normalization will damage efforts for international recognition of the Armenian Genocide forced Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun) out of the ruling coalition. Sargsyan faced protests at home as well as abroad from Diaspora Armenian communities all over the world.
“No Silent Diplomacy”
Turkish President Abdullah Gul and Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu have said in more than one occasion, that the Turkish-Armenian relations have entered a period of “silent but decisive diplomacy,” following suspension of ratification process by Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan.
“There is neither “silent diplomacy, nor “a second season” of Zurich, nor any new round of negotiations, according to the information often spread by the Turkish media these days,” Edward Nalbandian has responded in the WJ op-ed: “The only remaining step in this long lasting process is the ratification and implementation of the Armenian-Turkish protocols without further ado. Armenia will be ready to move forward if Turkey is again ready to go ahead with the normalization process without preconditions.”
PS: Nareg Seferian, thank you for the link :)