Watch Sarkisian’s speech at 1:15 p.m. PST on HorizonArmenianTV.com
YEREVAN (Combined Sources)—In a nationally televised address Thursday, President Serzh Sarkisian, citing continued preconditions by Turkey, suspended the Armenia-Turkey protocols process, but fell short of withdrawing Armenia’s signature from the dangerous documents.
Earlier in the day, Armenia’s governing coalition issued a statement suspending further parliamentary discussion of the protocols, in what was seen as a harbinger for the president’s announcement.
“For a whole year, Turkey’s senior officials have not spared public statements in the language of preconditions. For a whole year, Turkey has done everything to protract time and fail the process,” said Sarkisian
Hence, our conclusion and position are straightforward: 1.Turkey is not ready to continue the process that was started and to move forward without preconditions in line with the letter of the Protocols. 2.The reasonable timeframes have, in our opinion, elapsed. The Turkish practice of passing the 24th of April at any cost is simply unacceptable. 3.We consider unacceptable the pointless efforts of making the dialogue between Armenia and Turkey an end in itself; from this moment on, we consider the current phase of normalization exhausted,” outlined Sarkisian.
In his announcement to not remove Armenia’s signature from the protocols and completely end the doomed process, Sarkisian cited his and Armenia’s commitment to the US, French and Russian leaders, whose efforts in establishing peace in the region, he found unwavering and stressed Armenia’s commitment to peace.
“During this period, I have discussed and continue discussing the future of the process launched with Turkey with Presidents Nicolas Sarkozy of France, Barack Obama of the United States, Dmitri Medvedev of Russia, as well as our colleagues in a number of European organizations. We are grateful to them for supporting our initiative, encouraging the process, and exerting efforts to secure progress. The atter of the fact is that our partners have urged us to continue the process, rather than to discontinue it,” said Sarkisian.
“Out of respect for them, their efforts, and their sincere aspirations, we have decided after consulting our Coalition partners and the National Security Council not to exit the process for the time being, but rather, to suspend the procedure of ratifying the Protocols. We believe this to be in the best interests of our nation,” explained Sarkisian.
“Armenia shall retain her signature under the Protocols, because we desire to maintain the existing momentum for normalizing relations, because we desire peace. Our political objective of normalizing relations between Armenia and Turkey remains valid, and we shall consider moving forward when we are convinced that there is a proper environment in Turkey and there is leadership in Ankara ready to reengage in the normalization process,” added Sarkisian.
On the eve of the 95th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, Sarkisian also urged international recognition of the Genocide and called on world leaders to follow suit.
The governing coalition partners, the Republican Party, Prosperous Armenia and Country of Law (Orinats Yerkir), cited the same concerns in their announcement to throw the protocols off the parliaments agenda.
Armenian Revolutionary Federation parliamentary bloc chairman and Bureau member Vahan Hovannesian said Thursday’s decision demonstrated that the ARF and the other forces united to oppose the protocols were on track, but added that the complete removal of Armenia’s signature from the protocols is the ultimate goal.
Turkey Cool Announcement
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he has “taken note” of the Armenian coalition’s decision and said his country remains loyal to the agreement to normalize ties. But he insisted on the Turkish conditions for reconciliation.
“It is up to them to decide how they want to move with the ratification process,” the Associated Press quoted Erdogan as telling a news conference. “I have expressed our loyalty to the protocols on numerous occasions. We will press ahead with the process on the principle that treaties are binding.”
“We are evaluating the content of this [Armenian] statement and what it means” legally and politically, Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Burak Ozugergin told AFP news agency. “In this context, we are also discussing steps that could be taken in the coming period,” he added, without elaborating.