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President Sarkisian Announces Suspension of Protocols

On April 22, the president of the Republic of Armenia, Serge Sarkisian, made a televised announcement on the process of normalization between Armenia and Turkey.  The president said that Turkey was not ready for the normalization process, that the preconditions set forth by Turkey were unacceptable, and that “the pointless efforts of making the dialogue between Armenia and Turkey an end in itself” were also unacceptable.  He stated, however, that Armenia will not exit the process, but will suspend the ratification of the protocols.

The full text of the Sarkisian’s announcement follows.

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Fellow Armenians,

A year has passed since the Armenian-Turkish-Swiss joint statement on steps to normalize the relations between Armenia and Turkey. During this period, the two protocols aimed at normalization of the relations have been publicized, discussed in the public domain, and signed. The documents have for quite a lengthy time now been in the parliaments of Armenia and Turkey, awaiting ratification. Armenia has all along demonstrated her commitment to the process of normalization of relations, to the point of including the protocols in the agenda of the National Assembly. We have made clear to the whole world that our position is nothing but firmly constructive. We have stated that, if Turkey ratified the protocols, as agreed, without preconditions and in a reasonable timeframe, failure by the Armenian Parliament to ratify them would be precluded.

Now, the time has come to gauge the notion of a “reasonable timeframe” and whether a conduct is “without preconditions.” These criteria were set forth by not only Armenia, but also all the mediators involved in the process, all of our international partners. For a whole year, Turkey’s senior officials have not spared public statements in the language of preconditions. For a whole year, Turkey has done everything to protract time and fail the process. Hence, our conclusion and position are straightforward:

1. Turkey is not ready to continue the process that was started and to move forward without preconditions in line with the letter of the protocols.

2. The reasonable timeframes have, in our opinion, elapsed. The Turkish practice of passing the 24th of April at any cost is simply unacceptable.

3. We consider unacceptable the pointless efforts of making the dialogue between Armenia and Turkey an end in itself; from this moment on, we consider the current phase of normalization exhausted.

My Fellow Armenians,

During this period, I have discussed and continue discussing the future of the process launched with Turkey with Presidents Nicolas Sarkozy of France, Barack Obama of the United States, Dmitri Medvedev of Russia, as well as our colleagues in a number of European organizations. We are grateful to them for supporting our initiative, encouraging the process, and exerting efforts to secure progress. The matter of the fact is that our partners have urged us to continue the process, rather than to discontinue it. Out of respect for them, their efforts, and their sincere aspirations, we have decided after consulting our Coalition partners and the National Security Council not to exit the process for the time being, but rather, to suspend the procedure of ratifying the protocols. We believe this to be in the best interests of our nation.

Armenia shall retain her signature under the protocols, because we desire to maintain the existing momentum for normalizing relations, because we desire peace. Our political objective of normalizing relations between Armenia and Turkey remains valid, and we shall consider moving forward when we are convinced that there is a proper environment in Turkey and there is leadership in Ankara ready to reengage in the normalization process.

While announcing to the world the end of the current phase of the process, which was launched with the September 2008 match between the national football teams of Armenia and Turkey, I express gratitude to President Abdullah Gul of Turkey for political correctness displayed throughout this period and the positive relationship that developed between us.

Fellow Compatriots,

In two days, we will commemorate the 95th anniversary of the first genocide of the 20th century, the remembrance day of the Armenian Genocide. Our struggle for the international recognition of the Genocide continues. If some circles in Turkey attempt to use our candor to our detriment, to manipulate the process to avoid the reality of the 24th of April, they should know all too well that the 24th of April is the day that symbolizes the Armenian Genocide, but in no way shall it mark the time boundary of its international recognition.

We express our gratitude to all the states, organizations, and individuals that support us in deploring and preventing crimes against humanity. We are also grateful to all those Turkish intellectuals that struggle for the restoration of historical justice and share our grief. On this eve of the 95th anniversary, we call upon everyone to remember that the memory of one and a half million innocent victims exterminated under a state-orchestrated program merely for being Armenian continues to pose before mankind the demand for recognition and condemnation.

Fellow Compatriots,

We are stronger today than ever before and stand straight as always. Henceforth, our efforts for a better Armenia, a better region, a better world, and a more solid unity of Armenians worldwide will only multiply. Rest assured that results will be visible all along. God bless us!

4 Comments on President Sarkisian Announces Suspension of Protocols

  1. avatar Berge Jololian // April 22, 2010 at 1:19 pm // Reply

    Why “Halt” and “Suspend” of protocols are meaningless?

    Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Armenia was free to decide how it wanted to proceed. “I have expressed our loyalty to the protocols on numerous occasions,” he said. “We will press ahead with the process on the principle that treaties are binding.”

    Turkey got exactly what it wanted out of the Protocol signing – they got recognition to the 1921 Moscow Treaty.

    The 1921 Moscow Treaty on “Friendship and Brotherhood” between Soviet Russia and Kemalist Turkey was signed, defining the Armenian sector of the Soviet-Turkish border.   

    The treaty-signing sides were self-proclaimed formations and the treaty signed by them could not be internationally recognized.

    Kemalist Turkey received the right banks of Akhuryan and Araks rivers together with Mount Ararat as a gift from Bolshevist Russia.

    The territory of Soviet Armenia then included Nagorno Karabakh and Nakhichevan. The next day after “sovietisation” of Armenia Pravda (Truth) newspaper (issue No 273) published a letter by Joseph Stalin, then People’s Commissar of Nationalities, starting with a greeting “Long Live Soviet Armenia!”. The letter specifically touched upon that issue:

    “On December 1, Soviet Azerbaijan, of its own free will, gave up the debated provinces and declared the transfer of Zangezur, Nakhichevan, and Nagorno Karabakh to Soviet Armenia.”

    The Moscow Treaty was signed only 4 months after recognizing Nagorno Karabakh and Nakhichevan as parts of Soviet Armenia. However, due to Turkey’s insistence that issue was reconsidered by the very same Moscow treaty, and, as a result, two Armenian lands were handed over to Soviet Azerbaijan by Bolsheviks.

    So, the two parties of that treaty – Russia and Turkey – made a decision on transferring into possession to a third state – Soviet Azerbaijan – lands that were inseparable parts of a fourth state – Soviet Armenia.

    None of the involved sides were an entity of international law.

    What Turkey was trying to achieve above all was the signing of such a point of great importance: On October 10 of 2009 the Moscow Treaty signed in 1921 finally received “international recognition” if not approval.

    In December 1973, according to Soviet-Turkish agreement, authorized representatives of three Transcaucasian countries had to sign a point “on invariability of borders””.  Gurgen Nalbandyan represented Armenia in Turkey. On behalf of Soviet Armenia he refused to sign that provision “on invariability of borders” despite the Soviet leadership’s pressure.

    In brief, it looks like Sagisian and Nalbandian gave away land claims to not only Western Armenia and Nackhichevan, but also Nagorno-Karabagh.  Why do you think Erdogan & davitoglu never stops linking Karabagh?

  2. Had Serge been a legitimate and public-spirited president, he wouldn’t sign the protocols in the first place. But since he’s not a president that enjoys broad-based public support, he does what he’s told to do from Moscow and Washington. Thus, instead of denouncing the damned protocols he just suspended them…

  3. Absolutely true jbo…

    I wish we Armenians in Diaspora have more involvement and power to vote to overthrow such illegitimate officials and start rebuilding our country on true values, honest and caring people who will fight for our country and stand up to those who try to bully her…

    I am not really happy about the suspension either.. I wish he would have withdrew all together…. However, USA and Russia would not allow that to happen.. THey have too much investement in this to let that happen.. Bastards…

    Gayane

  4. Those of you who want to vote while living in Diaspora, hence enjoying better economic conditions, should move to Armenia to feel the simple ‘enjoyments’ of locals.
    I was against the protocols initially because of all those preconditions, but it was a hope for an independent economy. Independent from Russia and US and all EU countries.
    This is not only a political but also a huge economic issue. So let’s live and see what’s happening.

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