President Abdullah Gul on Thursday assured his Armenian counterpart, Serzh Sarkisian, that Turkey remains committed to the agreements to normalize relations with Armenia but did not specify whether it will unconditionally ratify them anytime soon.
In a letter to Gul sent on Tuesday, Sarkisian warned that failure to implement the Turkish-Armenian “protocols” signed in October could roll back the “historic” rapprochement between the two nations. “A situation when words are not supported by deeds gives rise to mistrust and skepticism, providing ample opportunities to counteract for those, who oppose the process,” he said in a clear reference to ratification conditions set by Ankara.
“I welcome the thoughts conveyed to us in your message,” Gul responded to the Armenian leader in a message posted on his website. He said Sarkisian “should have no doubt” about the Turkish government’s determination to promote “mutual understanding and trust among our two neighboring peoples.”
“I also agree with you that responsible governance necessitates both standing behind words and supporting words with deeds,” wrote Gul. “Hence, we will continue to work for taking our normalization process forward based upon the understanding reached between our two countries.”
“We have to be aware that concluding this historic process will require honoring our commitments in their entirety as well as displaying adequate political courage and vision,” he said, implying that Yerevan itself has yet to fully comply with the two protocols.
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and other Turkish officials have indicated in recent weeks that the Turkish parliament will not ratify the protocols unless Yerevan addresses their concerns about a ruling handed down by the Armenian Constitutional Court last month. While upholding the legality of the agreements, the court made clear that they can not hinder Yerevan’s pursuit of broader international recognition of the Armenian genocide.
Turkish leaders say this interpretation is at odds with key protocols provisions, a claim strongly denied by the Armenian leadership. The latter has accused the Turks of seeking more “artificial excuses” to avoid normalizing Turkish-Armenian relations.
Gul’s letter contained no specific demands to Yerevan. The Turkish president said instead that he will “remain personally engaged in this process hoping to see it reach a satisfactory conclusion for both of our countries.”