YEREVAN (RFE/RL)–President Serzh Sarkisian will lose power if he presses ahead with the signing of controversial agreements with Turkey, a top leader of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation warned on Wednesday.
“I think that he must finally sober up and refuse to sign them just because of his own interests,” said ARF Bureau chairmen Hrant Markarian. “You must not cut the tree branch on which you are sitting.”
Markarian claimed that a deal with Turkey negotiated on the existing terms would the last straw for a considerable part of Armenia’s population unhappy with the government. “The people would sooner or later hold him accountable, and the price would be heavy,” he said, adding: “I believe that he would not be able to carry on.”
The ARF, which pulled out of the country’s governing coalition in April in protest against Sarkisian’s conciliatory line on Turkey, has strongly condemned the Turkish-Armenian draft protocols publicized on August 31. It particularly opposed the protocol provisions requiring Armenia to formally recognize its existing border with Turkey and agree to the establishment of a joint body tasked with examining the troubled common past of the two nations.
But despite the harsh criticism, the ARF has so far refrained from demanding Sarkisian’s resignation. Its leaders say they will instead focus on forcing important changes in the protocols or scuttling the deal altogether.
The ARF will not boycott Sarkisian’s meeting on Thursday with the leaders of dozens of political parties active in the country. Armen Rustamian, the chairman of the ARF Supreme Council of Armenia, who will attend the meeting, said he will challenge the president to clarify whether it is possible to amend the protocols before their signing expected next month.
Markarian and Rustamian spoke to RFE/RL in Yerevan’s Republic Square where dozens of ARF members continued a non-stop sit-in against the Turkish-Armenian agreements.