YEREVAN (RFE/RL)—Turkey’s preconditions for normalizing relations with Armenia have left Yerevan under stronger international pressure to make concessions in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, said Armenian Revolutionary Federation Political Director Giro Manoyan on Friday.
Manoyan said the United States and other mediating powers are pressing the conflicting parties to sign up to their basic principles of a Karabakh settlement before an October 14 football match in Turkey which Ankara hopes will be attended by President Serzh Sarkisian.
“Their haste is in effect related to Turkey’s precondition that it will not sign a [normalization] agreement with Armenia until there is progress on the Nagorno-Karabakh issue,” Manoyan told RFE/RL. “As far as Karabakh is concerned, this haste is against Armenian interests because it does not stem from the logic of the conflict’s resolution.”
The ARF is strongly opposed to the framework peace accord drafted by the American, French and Russian mediators co-chairing the OSCE Minsk Group. The party has also been highly critical of Armenia’s rapprochement with Turkey that was initiated by Sarkisian.
The dialogue between the two nations gained momentum when Turkish President Abdullah Gul visited Yerevan last September to watch the first-ever game between the two countries’ national soccer teams. Sarkisian has made clear that he will not travel to Turkey for their return match this fall unless Ankara takes “real steps” to reopen the Turkish-Armenian border.
Novruz Mammadov, a top aide to Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, likewise claimed earlier this week that the Karabakh mediators have stepped up pressure on the Armenian side not least because of the Turkish-Armenian dialogue. The Armenian Foreign Ministry brushed aside the claim.
Visiting Turkey on Thursday, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin reaffirmed his country’s stated commitment to ending the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict. But he said Moscow can not force either party to go along with the compromise deal. “We will by all means assist in finding agreements and compromises that will lead to a final and complete settlement of the conflict,” Putin told a news conference in Ankara.