Armenia’s leadership has toughened its conciliatory policy on Turkey under pressure from the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun), a leader of the nationalist opposition party claimed on Tuesday.
Hrant Markarian, the de facto head of Dashnaktsutyun’s governing Bureau, said President Serzh Sarkisian had a hand in the Constitutional Court ruling on the Turkish-Armenian protocols that has been condemned by Turkey.
“Our struggle was the reason why the Constitutional Court made that decision,” Markarian told RFE/RL in an interview. “Serzh Sarkisian was not uninvolved in the making of that decision, and that is a cause for joy.”
“I think it would be fair to say that there is some toughening of the [Sarkisian administration’s] position on both the Karabakh issue and Turkish-Armenian relations,” he said.
While upholding the legality of the protocols, the Constitutional Court ruled that they place no obligations on Armenia regarding the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and can not stop Yerevan campaigning for international recognition of the Armenian genocide.
The Turkish government says this runs counter to the letter and spirit of the protocols, a claim denied by Armenian leaders. The latter also insist that the court ruling did not herald any change in Yerevan’s position on the normalization process.
Markarian, whose party has been very critical of the protocols, claimed the opposite. “With the Constitutional Court decision, Armenia adopted a new policy,” he said. “One should be frank and consistent in that approach till the end. If we stop half way on the approach defined by the Constitutional Court decision, I think we will discredit ourselves.”
Markarian reiterated in that regard Dashnaktsutyun’s calls for Armenia’s parliament to ratify the protocols with corresponding “reservations.” He indicated that his party will not seek to unseat Sarkisian with a campaign of street protests should the National Assembly ignore those calls.
“We are trying to achieve regime change by means of elections, regular or non-regular,” said Markarian. “Going beyond elections is a different thing which we don’t seek at the moment.”