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Ankara and Yerevan: mutual accusations of foiling reconciliation

Serzh Sargsyan and Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Photo: kavpolit.com

The Turkish Foreign Ministry issued a statement trying to vindicate its actual refusal to ratify protocols on the normalization of relations with Armenia signed in Zurich.

Earlier, during his visit to Athens, Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian stated that Armenia will meet the spring of 2018 without the Zurich protocols signed in October 2009. The documents have not been ratified to this day, since Turkey has put forward unreasonable preconditions, contrary to the letter and spirit of the protocols, he said.

Turkey demanded almost immediately after signing the documents that Armenia withdraw its troops "from the occupied territories of Azerbaijan" and abandon the process of international recognition of the Armenian Genocide in the Ottoman Empire, despite the fact that the protocols did not mention these issues.

However, it is believed in Turkey today that the Armenian side was the first to freeze the normalization process when President Serzh Sargsyan withdrew the protocols from the parliament’s agenda. "It is known that the Armenian Diaspora was initially against signing the protocols and exerted pressure on the Armenian government with a view to ending the process of their ratification," the Turkish Foreign Ministry said.

"Despite Armenia's negative position on the protocols, Turkey is committed to its main provisions. These protocols are still on the agenda of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Turkish Grand National Assembly and it is important for them to ensure a favorable political atmosphere and peace in the South Caucasus," the statement said. The department notes that Turkey’s primary objective within the protocols is to normalize the Armenian-Turkish relations in such a way as to ensure comprehensive peace and stability in the South Caucasus.

" In this vein, it is necessary that in the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict progress is achieved, based on Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity and in light of the relevant resolutions of the UN Security Council. In any case, Armenia must put an end to its invasion of Azerbaijan’s territories. Mr. Nalbandian’s claims on genocide in his speech do not reflect the truth either. As ascertained by the decisions of the European Court of Human Rights, the 1915 events are a matter of legitimate debate within the framework of freedom of expression. The attempts of ill-intentioned groups to impose their one-sided narrative and to exert pressure on the world public opinion are morally and legally incorrect and do not contribute to peace and stability in our region," the Turkish Foreign Ministry said in the statement.

To remind, at present there are no diplomatic relations between Yerevan and Ankara, and the 330-kilometer border since 1993 has been closed on Turkey’s initiative.

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