ANKARA (RFE/RL)–President Serzh Sarkisian will press for a speedy implementation of the newly signed Turkish-Armenian agreements during his landmark visit to Turkey on Wednesday, a senior pro-government lawmaker in Yerevan said on Tuesday.
Sarkisian and his Turkish counterpart Abdullah Gul are due to hold face-to-face talks and have dinner before watching the second leg of a World Cup qualifier between Turkey’s and Armenia’s national soccer teams in the northwestern city of Bursa. The two leaders will then attend a reception given by Gul.
In the words of Razmik Zohrabian, deputy chairman of the ruling Republican Party of Armenia, Sarkisian plans to raise with Gul the mandatory parliamentary ratification of the two protocols that were signed in Zurich over the weekend. The protocols envisage the establishment of diplomatic relations and the reopening of the border between the two estranged neighbors.
“This may be the last meeting of the two leaders before the parliamentary ratifications,” Zohrabian told RFE/RL. “They will be talking not only about football at their meeting. They will also be talking about Turkish-Armenian relations, about how to have the two parliaments endorse this document.”
Sarkisian said on Saturday that Yerevan will take “appropriate steps” if Ankara fails to push the documents through the Turkish parliament “within a reasonable timeframe.” He also warned the Turks against linking the ratification process with the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
According to Zohrabian, the Armenian side may well annul the agreements if they do not come into force “before next spring.” “If the process drags on, then we could declare the signed document null and void in accordance with international law,” he said.
Zohrabian also played down nationalist street protests that could greet the Armenian president in Turkey. He argued that Gul himself faced peaceful demonstrations by Armenians when he visited Yerevan in September last year. “There will be similar protests against Serzh Sarkisian in Turkey,” he said.