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Ex-Speaker Sees ‘Losses’ for Armenia in Turkey Deal


Armenia - Tigran Torosian, Armenian MP and former speaker of Parliament, at a press-conference, Yerevan,15Feb,2010

Armenia - Tigran Torosian, Armenian MP and former speaker of Parliament, at a press-conference, Yerevan,15Feb,2010

President Serzh Sarkisian’s former ally sees ‘losses’ for Armenia as he claims the fence-mending agreements signed with Turkey effectively reflect two of Ankara’s three preconditions set forth since 1993.

At the same time, the former speaker of the Armenian parliament and senior representative of the country’s ruling party believes it highly unlikely that Ankara will ratify the protocols on establishing diplomatic ties and developing bilateral relations following a related ruling issued by Armenia’s top court last month.

Tigran Torosian, who quit President Sarkisian’s Republican Party of Armenia after being replaced by another top party member as parliament speaker in September 2008, says Turkey used the occasion to accuse Armenia of reneging on the protocols by making indirect changes in it.

Armenia’s Constitutional Court on January 12 upheld the legality of the normalization agreements with Turkey thus paving the way for their ratification in the Armenian parliament. Ankara, however, has been specifically unhappy with the court’s assertion that the protocols place no obligations on Yerevan pertaining to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and do not commit it to stop seeking greater international recognition of the Armenian genocide. Turkish officials have repeatedly said that it runs counter to the “letter and spirit” of the protocols, an accusation brushed aside by Armenia’s leadership, including in the latest public speech by President Sarkisian in London last week. While submitting the protocols to the parliament for ratification, Sarkisian has also made it clear that Yerevan expects Turkey to ratify them first.

Torosian, meanwhile, argues that Turkey will find it increasingly difficult to complete the ratification of the deal, since, according to him, in that case Ankara will experience problems both inside the country and in relations with Azerbaijan, its regional ethnic ally now locked in a bitter land dispute with Armenia. Therefore, according to Torosian, without having another option Ankara will continue to cite the Armenian court ruling as the reason for delaying the parliamentary ratification of the protocols.

Torosian, currently a non-aligned parliament member, sees two instruments of pressure for Turkey to ratify the protocols, namely the draft resolution at U.S. Congress that would recognize the Ottoman-era mass killings and deportations of Armenians as genocide and U.S. President Barack Obama’s address on April 24, the Armenian Genocide commemoration day.

The Armenian parliament member thinks that even if the protocol ratification fails, Armenia “won’t lose anything”. Moreover, Torosian believes that, on the contrary, Armenia has incurred losses because of the process so far.

“Armenia has, indeed, incurred losses. After all, two issues relating to two of the three preconditions set by Turkey still in 1993 have been reflected in the protocols,” says Torosian, referring to the protocol clauses committing Armenia to recognizing its existing border and regarding the establishment of a subcommission of scientists that also ‘fits the context of Turkish claims’ on the end to the international campaign for the recognition of the Armenian genocide.

“Armenia has not gained anything in return, and I am convinced it won’t gain anything,” adds Torosian.
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