GENEVA—President Serzh Sarkisian on Tuesday accused Turkey of “driving a wedge” between Armenia and the Diaspora and warned that such posturing was diminishing the chances of rapprochement between the two countries.
“Instead of taking steps to ratify the protocols, Turkey, at the highest international forums, continues its shortsighted effort to drive a wedge between Armenia and the Diaspora,” said Sarkisian after talks with his Swiss counterpart, Micheline Calmy-Rey.
Sarkisian, who is on an official visit to Switzerland, added that the more Turkey continues this posturing, the more Armenia will loose confidence in the rapprochement process.
“I am amazed that in Turkey they don’t fully comprehend that the Diaspora, which was created as a result of the Genocide, is an inseparable part of Armenia and the Armenian people—it is our pride. It is our strength,” said Sarkisian.
The president said that Diaspora Armenians, who are dispersed around the world, are “our ambassadors, just like in Switzerland our ambassador is the world famous singer Charles Aznavour.”
“From the first moments of the reestablishment of the Armenian statehood, our compatriots around the world, through their work, proved that the strengthening of our homeland is their ultimate dream,” added Sarkisian.
The Armenian president also praised Switzerland’s resolute stance in recognizing the Armenian Genocide in a resolution in 2003, explaining that the recognition of the Genocide only creates a temporary conflict between Turkey and those nations that have recognized the Genocide.
“By recognizing the genocide, Switzerland condemned that despicable crime against humanity, in the face of justice, undeniable proof and human rights principles thereby … prevailed over all geopolitical and military-economic considerations,” said Sarkisian in praise of Switzerland.
“Most importantly, that absolutely did not prevent Switzerland from supporting the normalization of Turkish-Armenian relations within a short period of time,” said Sarkisian. “In this regard, Switzerland’s example is the best one, and it should serve as a lesson for many countries of the world.”
Sarkisian arrived in Switzerland on Monday at the invitation of the Swiss president. Prior to his remarks, which were made at a joint press conference, he met with Calmy-Rey and other high-ranking Swiss officials and discussed a wide range of issues, among them the strengthening of bi-lateral relations, the Karabakh conflict resolution and the Turkey-Armenia protocols.
On Monday, Sarkisian visited the 25th International Book and Press Fair and toured the Armenian pavilion, where publications from Armenia and the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic were being displayed.
“As you know, next year we celebrate the 500th anniversary of the Armenian book printing. I believe, in those times the idea of book printing was as revolutionary in its scope as computers are today,” said Sarkisian, who added that UNESCO has declared Yerevan the international book capital for 2012.
He explained that Armenia will leverage its rich literary publishing and literary history to host the international community and make Yerevan a nexus for book-lovers from all over the world.
Sarkisian also laid a wreath at the monument dedicated to the memory of the Armenian Genocide victims in Geneva.