Armenia would ratify its normalization agreements with Turkey only after their validation by the Turkish parliament, President Serzh Sarkisian’s Republican Party (HHK) insisted on Monday.
Armenian leaders repeatedly made this clear in the months that followed the signing of the two protocols in Zurich, Switzerland last October. They reiterated the condition even after the protocols were formally submitted to Armenia’s National Assembly in early February.
Turkish media cited Armenian parliament speaker Hovik Abrahamian as saying last week that the assembly may endorse the deal ahead of the April 24 annual remembrance of more than one million Armenians massacred by Ottoman Turks in 1915-1918. Some observers believe such a move would put Ankara under greater pressure to unconditionally normalize relations with Yerevan.
“We can see that the tone and rhetoric of Turkey’s political leadership has changed significantly ahead of April 24,” HHK spokesman Eduard Sharmazanov told RFE/RL’s Armenian service. “They are now saying that they are ready to ratify the Turkish-Armenian protocols. The ball is in Turkey’s court.”
“We are ready to ratify them after their ratification by Turkey’s parliament,” said Sharmazanov. “So we will see. If Mr. Erdogan’s words translate into actions, then we will take the very important step which is necessary for strengthening stability in the entire region.”
Armenia has threatened to scrap the deal if the Turks continue to drag their feet over protocol ratification. But it has set no firm deadlines for Turkish ratification.
Speaking to journalists on Friday, Sarkisian said Yerevan has all but decided what to do next in the stalled normalization process. “But it would be wrong to talk about that decision now,” he said. “We will submit our decision to the public some time later, when we become fully convinced that it is the right one.”