Commentary No : 2011 / 4
4 min read

It could be seen that after Armenian President Serge Sarkisian had suspended the ratification process of the Turkey-Armenia Protocols last year on April 22, he started criticizing Turkey beyond a normal level, particularly during his visits to other countries and in his statements to foreign journalists. Over time, these criticisms have increased and have reached a climax in his speech delivered three days ago at the House of Representatives of Southern Cyprus. In his speech, Sarkisian has expressed that Turkey has destroyed the normalization process of its relations with Armenia. However, as stated above, it is not Turkey that has suspended the ratification process of the protocols, but is Armenia. Sarkisian’s second assertion is that Turkey has stepped back from its commitments, but it is unclear what he has meant by this. Concerning the Protocols, there is no commitment which Turkey has failed to fulfill. No provision exists in the Protocols which indicates when the Parliaments of both sides will ratify these documents. Sarkisian has also stated in his speech that Turkey, who wants to conduct “New Ottonamism” policy, cannot gain regional leadership since the leaders must act reasonably. Moreover, he has expressed that “The country which closed the border and is trying to blackmail my people may not aspire for regional leadership”. Furthermore, he has used harsh statements relating to the Ottoman Empire for no reason such as “What did the Ottoman Empire bring to the peoples under its yoke other than massacres, oppression, and tyranny?” Sarkisian, who has also been displeased with Turkey’s zero problems with the neighbors policy, has attempted to distort this policy by asking whether it means that all neighbors should obediently do what Turkey wants them to do and satisfy Turkey’s preconditions. The Armenian President, who has expressed that they consider themselves as bearers of the European values and a member of the European family, has also given advice to Turkey by stating that they “hope Turkey will understand and appreciate the importance of these values for its own stability, development, and prosperity”. Moreover, by stating that Turkey will not be able to pave a road toward the European Union without coming to terms with its past and without establishing normal relations with the neighboring states, he has spoken as if he is an authorized official of the Union. He has also repeated the same point in Athens. Meanwhile, we should indicate that the Copenhagen Criteria entails good neighborly relations, but entails no point related to coming to terms with history. Sarkisian’s speech delivered in Athens has remained in the shadows of Greek President Papoulias’s highly inappropriate statement that “we were butchered by the same barbarian” in reference to Turkey. In addition to his statement delivered in Nicosia, Sarkisian has expressed in Athens that Turkey lacks the necessary political will to normalize its relations with Armenia. However, the signing of the Protocols alone is enough to prove that the necessary political will is existent in Turkey. On the other hand, opposite to Armenia, Turkey has never stated that it could reject the Protocols. After Armenia’s suspension of the ratification process of the Protocols on 22 April 2010 in the Armenian Parliament, no significant development has taken place in the relations between the two countries. However, President Sarkisian has increasingly conveyed criticisms and even accusations towards Turkey. It could be seen that this situation cannot only be explained by his harsh feelings towards Turkey, but that other purposes could also play a role. The main issue which recently prevents the ratification of the “genocide” draft resolutions being submitted to the US House of Representatives in which Armenians are influential is emphasis by the US President and Froeign Minister that these drafts will harm the normalization process of Turkey-Armenia relations. President Sarkisian’s statements fiercely criticizing Turkey aims to convey the message that a reconciliation cannot take place at the moment between Turkey and Armenia and therefore, the US House of Representatives or/and Senate should not have any hesitation in recognizing the Armenian genocide allegations. Moreover, it hopes for the US Government to take this situation into consideration and pressure Turkey to ratify the Protocols. On the other hand, it is expected from Turkey to abandon its support to Azerbaijan, to implement the Protocols and open the border.

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