The internationally backed efforts to normalize Armenia’s relations with Turkey could end in failure soon, Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian said on Friday, accusing Ankara of obstructing the process with preconditions and “artificial” claims. (UPDATED)
“If Turkey is not ready to ratify the [Turkish-Armenian] protocols, if it continues, as it has until now, to speak in the language of preconditions, make some linkages and obstruct progress in this process, then of course I don’t exclude it,” Nalbandian told a news conference.
But he added: “Nobody can say for certain that a particular process will end in one or another way. Generally speaking, I don’t like making that kind of predictions.”
Turkish leaders said this week that Armenia itself set preconditions for normalizing bilateral with an interpretation of the protocols that was made by its Constitutional Court this month. They specifically referred to the court’s view that the protocols can have no legal implications for the Nagorno-Karabakh peace process or stop Yerevan from seeking greater international recognition of the Armenian genocide. Ankara claims this runs counter to the letter and spirit of the documents signed in October.
Nalbandian dismissed the Turkish claims as “nonsense.” “To say that Armenia is dragging out the ratification process is also nonsense,” he said. “We hope that the Turks will not try to cite artificial excuses for not ratifying these protocols.” The Armenian side remains committed to their speedy and unconditional implementation, he added.
Nalbandian passed a similar message to Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu in a phone conversation on Wednesday. Davutoglu described as “totally baseless” his claims that Ankara has thwarted any progress towards the protocols’ endorsement by the Turkish parliament.
Speaking at a news conference in Ankara on Friday, Davutoglu insisted that the Armenian court ruling “is against the letter and spirit of the protocols.” “Armenian Foreign Minister Eduard Nalbandian told me in a telephone conversation that the ruling did not affect previously agreed points in the protocols. But we expect a clearer picture, explanation over this,” he said, according to AFP news agency.
President Serzh Sarkisian said last month that Armenia will walk away from the deal if the Turks fail to validate it “within a reasonable timeframe.” But neither he, nor other Armenian officials have set more precise deadlines for Turkish ratification yet.
In Nalbandian’s words, Yerevan is confident that the international community would blame Turkey, rather than Armenia, for the possible collapse of the process.