YEREVAN (RFE/RL)–Armenia on Wednesday denounced Turkish leaders’ continuing linkage of Turkish-Armenian relations and the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, saying that Ankara risks wrecking the western-backed rapprochement between the two states.
Speaking after talks with U.S. President Barack Obama in the White House on Monday, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan insisted that the normalization of his country’s historically strained ties with Armenia is “very much related” to international efforts to resolve the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
Reacting to the remarks, Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian said, “It is absolutely meaningless to speak in the language of preconditions because we started this process with an understanding that it can be conducted without preconditions. We reached agreements and signed corresponding protocols that don’t contain any preconditions.”
“Returning to preconditions means entering a vicious circle in which we were before starting this process,” Nalbandian told journalists in the Armenian parliament. “Those who make such attempts will assume full responsibility for all resulting consequences.”
President Serzh Sarkisian similarly warned Ankara on November 28 against delaying the parliamentary ratification of the two Turkish-Armenian protocols envisaging the establishment of diplomatic relations and reopening of the border between the two neighboring nations. “If Turkey drags out the ratification process, then … Armenia will not hesitate to take adequate steps conforming to international law,” he said in an apparent threat to annul the agreements.
Nalbandian told the National Assembly that Yerevan’s insistence on the unconditional implementation of those agreements reflects “the opinion of the entire international community.” He pointed to a newly publicized letter in which Obama reiterated Washington’s view that the normalization process should be completed “without preconditions and within a reasonable timeframe.”
“According to our information, the same thing was said during the meeting with Erdogan,” added Nalbandian.