Armenia’s ruling party on Wednesday has reaffirmed its support for President Serzh Sarkisian’s dramatic rapprochement with Turkey, stressing that it sees no preconditions in the initialed protocols on normalizing relations expected to be signed by Yerevan and Ankara later this month.
At a press conference on Wednesday, Eduard Sharmazanov, a prominent member and spokesman for the Republican Party of Armenia (HHK), downplayed the scale of protests that accompanied Sarkisian’s ongoing tour of major Diaspora communities in France, the United States and Lebanon and said that it did not prove that the majority of Armenians living abroad were against the current process of Armenian-Turkish normalization.
He said that to his knowledge, many Diaspora Armenians, including such prominent representatives as famous French-Armenian crooner Charles Aznavour, support the process. Besides, he said, the purpose of Sarkisian’s trips was not to gauge the ratio of those “for and against” the signing of the protocols. Rather, he said, Sarkisian “simply wanted to listen to the concerns and opinions of Diaspora Armenians.”
Sharmazanov further argued that Sarkisian’s “unprecedented tour shows that he is not only the leader of Armenia but a pan-Armenian leader who lives with the cares of all Armenians.”
“We do consider the opinion of our Diaspora compatriots, but we all should know one thing that it is up to the president, the National Assembly and corresponding state institutions of the Republic of Armenia to make a political decision in Armenia-Turkey relations,” said Sharmazanov.
The secretary of the HHK parliamentary faction also responded to the criticism voiced against Sarkisian’s policies by several political parties in Armenia. In particular, in reference to the position of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun), the most vocal of the critics, Sharmazanov said that they, the HHK, “have learned lessons from history and are not going to repeat the mistakes of the First [Armenian] Republic.”
“We will not say that the Turk is a friend, we will not say that the Turk is the defender of the Caucasus peoples. What we are saying is that proceeding from considerations of regional security and stability in the 21st century, President Sarkisian has initiated the process of establishing normal relations without any preconditions,” the HHK member said.
“We are convinced that if the initialed protocols did not meet the interests of the Republic of Armenia, President Sarkisian would not have taken that step... We find that we are right. These political discussions have proved to me that our path is right, that our path is just, that our path meets [Armenia’s] state and national interests, and it will produce positive results,” concluded Sharmazanov.