The local authorities in the Turkish city of Bursa, which is playing host to Armenia-Turkey soccer match, are promising heightened security, friendly hospitality and chestnuts and refreshments for President Serzh Sarkisian’s visit Wednesday.
On Monday, Sarkisian said he saw no reason why he would not accept an invitation by his Turkish counterpart to travel to Turkey and attend the Armenia-Turkey soccer match. Clearly, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s remarks, immediately following Saturday’s signing of the protocols, that Turkey would not open the borders with Armenia without a resolution to the Karabakh conflict, is not a valid enough reason for Sarkisian to reconsider attending the match. Clearly, the prospect of eating chestnuts and enjoying refreshments with Abdullah Gul, are way more important—or exciting—than a blatant and direct threat (and a precondition for establishing relations) to Armenia’s national security.
This is the post-protocols reality. It is OUR post-protocols reality.
Every relevant—and some irrelevant and obscure—world leader has hailed the Turkey-Armenia protocols as historic and important. So important that the our own Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who was in Zurich to merely “observe” the signing ceremony, could not help herself and emerged as the focal point of the mediation that took place during the now infamous three-hour delay, earning accolades from non-other than President Obama, another self-proclaimed cheerleader—but not a conduit—of this disgusting farce that has been playing out for months and weeks.
On her way to England, Clinton and her deputy, Philip Gordon, held a briefing on the plane, where both were teeming with self congratulations for mission accomplished. In fact, she remarked that what happened in Zurich was par for the course for the US Secretary of State. “Another day on the job,” she said, patting herself on the back.
What became crystal clear on Saturday was that the insistence from Sarkisian and foreign minister, Eduard Nalbandian, that the protocol and rapprochement process was initiated by Armenia was nothing but another lie from Armenia’s current leadership, whose modus operandi has been to deceive our nation on both domestic and international fronts.
The signing of the protocols indeed was historic in that it turned the clock back on decades of our national struggle for justice and recognition, and has forced Armenia in the tenuous situation to deal with the consequences of the protocols.
On Saturday morning, before the Zurich fiasco, Sarkisian addressed the nation and, to the surprise of many, articulated the very same arguments that had been echoed by thousands of Armenians in Armenia and the Diaspora against the protocols. If that was done to appease his critics or define his strategy, it was too little to late. The writing was already on the wall. Or, rather, the signature was already on the paper.
Turkey’s leaders have already begun posturing themselves in this post-protocols reality. Erdogan’s verbal assurances to Azerbaijan will be followed by a personal visit to Baku by Turkish foreign minister Ahmet Davutoglu. Azerbaijan’s leadership also has tersely warned that the Karabakh conflict should remain a priority, while the Armenian leadership is grasping at straws to extol the virtues of its actions.
So, as Turkey further intensifies pressures for an immediate accord on Karabakh, Sarkisian, seeing no “foreseeable problems,” will travel to Turkey to root for the national soccer team and will further endanger Armenia’s current and future security.
The national movement that was created in opposition to the protocols must now redouble its efforts, both in Armenia and Diaspora, to ensure that the protocols are, once and for all, defeated.