ANKARA (Hurriyet)–Ankara is working on a legal assessment to be sent to Yerevan and third parties that will seek to portray the Armenia’s Constitutional Court as having violated international law by conditionally affirming the two countries’ agreements. The document will seek to pressure Armenia into not including the court ruling as a preamble to the protocols when submitting it to Parliament.
Turkish Foreign ministers Ahmet Davutoglu and his Armenian counterpart Edward Nalbandian signed two protocols on establishing diplomatic relations and opening their closed border in October 2009.
Armenia’s court published a ruling on January 12 affirming the constitutionality of the protocols. But the Court also said that the protocols could not have any bearing on the ongoing Karabakh peace process nor should they impede the international recognition of the Armenian Genocide. To reinforce the latter point, the court cited Article 11 of Armenia’s 1990 Declaration of Independence which states: “The Republic of Armenia stands in support of the task of achieving international recognition of the 1915 Genocide in Ottoman Turkey and Western Armenia.”
According to the protocols, the sides are to form committees to solve bilateral disputes. Turkey has said a joint committee of historians should “investigate” the Armenian Genocide. Ankara has also stipulated that the Turkish Parliament will not ratify the documents unless Armenia agrees to settle the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict in Azerbaijan’s favor—a precondition not mentioned in the agreements.
“The wording and spirit of the protocols should be protected. Any limitation or efforts at partially approving [the document] is against the essence of the protocols,” said Davutoglu on Friday during a joint conference with his Jordanian counterpart, Nasser Judeh.
Davutoglu phoned Nalbandian to express his worries and urge him to display a stronger political will. The minister had earlier discussed the verdict at a meeting with President Abdullah Gul and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
“We began with a vision of normalizing relations with neighboring Armenia and worded the protocols in this manner,” Davutoglu said. “We continue to be loyal to the wording and spirit of the protocols and back it with a strong political will.”
In their telephone conversation, Nalbandian argued the court ruling had no affect on the protocol’s conditions, according to Davutoglu, who said, “We need to hear clearer and stronger remarks.”
The minister said he would make calls Friday to his U.S. and Swiss counterparts, urging them to pressure Armenia to uphold the basics of the normalization protocols. “We will convey our legal assessments and our worries to the related sides.”
He outlined the importance of continuing the process without any legal failures so as to reach a comprehensive normalization. “But the existing picture shouldn’t be changed. All aims including the planned commissions should be approved in total.”
Diplomatic sources said Turkey would soon convey its legal assessments and suggestions by calling on Armenia not to renege on the agreement or add stipulations to the protocols.
Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian, however, is obligated by Armenia’s constitution to uphold the decision of the country’s high court and submit the Armenia-Turkey protocols to parliament with the reservations outlined in its ruling.
Turkey’s forthcoming statement, nevertheless, will cite the protocols, saying they are binding in their entirety according to international law.
Nalbandian, meanwhile, accused Turkey of giving him ultimatums, saying: “If Turkey is not ready to ratify the protocols, continues speaking in ultimatums, setting preconditions and obstructing the process, then I do not deny that negotiations will break down.”