Presidents Karolos Papoulias of Greece and Serzh Sarkisian of Armenia strongly criticized Turkey as they met in Athens on Tuesday.
Papoulias told Sarkisian that the two nations were “butchered” by their common arch-foe in their past. “We were butchered by the same barbarian,” he said, according to the AFP news agency.
Following statements in the Cyprus parliament a day before, Sarkisian, for his part, again blamed Ankara for the collapse of the Western-backed Turkish-Armenian agreements that envisaged the normalization of bilateral ties.
Sarkissian has been striking increasingly anti-Turkish chords over the past 6-7 months. However, the visits to Cyprus and Greece and the context, within which Armenian president made this fresh round of critical statements about Turkey, seem to indicate, that the Armenian authorities have lost all hope of normalizing relations with Turkey and are now burning the last standing bridges.
This comes two years after Sarkissian himself initiated the dramatic Turkish-Armenian rapprochement that began with Gul’s historic September 2008 visit to Yerevan. The Turkish president was invited by Sarkisian to attend a first-ever game between the two countries’ national soccer teams.
The two leaders watched the return leg of the match in the Turkish city of Bursa a year later. “We are not writing history, we are making history,” Gul declared during their talks held there.
The process culminated by the signing of Armenian-Turkish normalization protocols in Zurich in October 2009.
The normalization process fizzled out in the following months as Ankara reverted to its Karabakh linkage and protested against the Armenian Constitutional Court’s interpretation of the Western-backed agreements.
Sarkisian responded by accusing the Turks of reneging on the deal and freezing its ratification process in the Armenian parliament and eventually halted the ratification of protocols by Armenia.
At the height of Armenian-Turkish rapprochement process, when Sarkissian was happily cheering in Bursa for the Turkish soccer team while they were scoring 2:0 against Armenia, opposition politicians back home were warning about possible diplomatic miscalculations.
Today, we’re seeing a 180 degree turnover of foreign policy and the time is ripe to ask, is everything right with the president’s new calculations?