YEREVAN (Combined Sources)—Armenia’s foreign minister, Eduard Nalbandian, Friday slammed Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan for announcing that without a resolution to the Karabakh conflict, the protocols would not be signed. Nalbandian also urged him to respect the survivors of the Armenian Genocide and their descendants.
“If the current Turkish authorities are unable to recognize the fact of the Genocide during the Ottoman Empire, then the least they can do is to show respect toward the survivors of the Genocide and their children,” said Nalbandian in a surprise departure from his usual modus operandi.
Nalbandian was responding to comments made earlier on Friday by Erdogan, who was quoted by the Milliyet daily as saying that Turkey would not open its borders with Armenian without a final resolution of the Karabakh conflict.
“We told them [Armenia] about that,” said Erdogan, adding “[Azeri President Ilham] Aliyev, [Russian President Dmitry] Medvedev and [Armenian Presdient Serzh] Sarkisian have intensified negotiations recently. We are closer to the resolution of the Nagorno Karabakh conflict that ever. It is impossible for us to open the borders without solution of this problem”.
“The Turkish side has been informed and we are certain that they know that we are against steps for the resolution of the Karabakh conflict to be addressed within the framework of normalization of Turkish-Armenian relations,” said Nalbandian.
The Armenian foreign minister said efforts to tie the two together can hinder both processes.
“Many countries have expressed the same position, among them the Minsk Groups co-chair countries, who have announced on several occasions that normalization of relations between Armenia and Turkey must take place without precondition,” announced Nalbandian.
“If the Turkish leadership has issues with signing the protocols, then it must not attempt to address those concerns by going against the goals, the letter and spirit of the documents,” added Nalbandian.
“The signing and realizing the agreed upon protocols is a process fraught with complications. However, Armenia is ready to respect the agreements, in order to move forward,” explained Nalbandian.
In his remarks, Erdogan also said that Armenia should be freed from the influence of the Diaspora.
“The Diaspora does not bring any advantage to Armenia. On the contrary, it takes away from Armenia,” said Erdogan.
Nalbandian’s prompt response to Turkey’s ongoing enmity is commended. As the protocol processes advance, the Armenian authorities should be vigilant to proceed with the same level of respect they are anticipating from Turkey.