YEREVAN (RFE/RL)—Armenia’s National Academy of Sciences officially expressed support on Thursday for the government’s policy of rapprochement with Turkey and the recently publicized Turkish-Armenian relations in particular.
The state-funded institution, which rarely challenges government decisions, discussed the matter at a special meeting of its top decision-making body, the General Assembly, held late Wednesday. The meeting, attended by more than 150 members of the academy and directors of its research institutes, took place behind the closed doors. Foreign Minister Eduard Nalbandian also took part in the discussion.
Journalists were only allowed to be present at the opening remarks made by Radik Martirosian, the president of the Academy. He was reported to claim that public attitudes toward the two draft protocols on the normalization of Armenia’s relations with Turkey have been “mainly positive” despite existing “concerns” about some of their provisions.
Martirosian noted that all Armenian presidents sought to mend ties with Turkey but that only Serzh Sarkisian has managed to achieve major progress with his “dynamic and active foreign policy.”
In a statement issued the next day, the academy’s press service said the meeting overwhelmingly adopted a resolution welcoming Sarkisian’s efforts to “settle relations with neighbors and get Armenia out of the [Turkish] blockade.” “It is said in the resolution that the normalization of relations with Turkey and the opening of the Turkish-Armenian border without preconditions would contribute to the strengthening of Armenia’s geopolitical positions,” the statement said. The agreements allow for the “continuation of that policy,” it added.
The academy meeting was part of “internal political consultations” which Ankara and Yerevan have pledged to undertake before signing the deal next month. Sarkisian discussed the sensitive issue with leaders of 52 political parties mostly loyal to him last week.