The United States welcomed a controversial ruling by Armenia’s Constitutional Court late on Friday, effectively dismissing Turkey’s claims that it runs counter to the Turkish-Armenian fence-mending agreements.
“We view the court decision as a positive step forward in the ratification process of the normalization protocols between Turkey and Armenia,” U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Philip Gordon said in written comments sent to RFE/RL. “The court decision permits the protocols, as they were negotiated and signed, to move forward towards parliamentary ratification, and does not appear to limit or qualify them in any way.”
“We are confident that both Turkey and Armenia take their commitment to the protocols seriously, and we urge timely ratification of the protocols by both countries,” added Gordon.
The comments followed a reported phone conversation between U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu. The Anatolia news agency quoted an unnamed Turkish Foreign Ministry official as saying that Davutoglu reiterated Ankara’s claims that the Armenian court’s interpretation of the protocols’ implications contradicts their “essence and substance.” Davutoglu said earlier on Friday that he will urge his U.S. and Swiss counterparts to put pressure on the Armenian leadership.
Washington’s reaction to the Turkish claims represents a significant boost to Yerevan’s position in the row which has raised more questions about the success of the U.S.-backed normalization process. U.S. officials have repeatedly urged Armenia and Turkey to implement the landmark agreements without preconditions and within a “reasonable” period of time.
“Our position remains the same,” said Gordon. “We support the normalization process, which we believe contributes to peace and stability in the Caucasus. What is critical is to keep the parties focused on the vital importance of moving ahead.”