Official Yerevan on Thursday criticized Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for reiterating during a visit to Azerbaijan that Turkey will not normalize relations with Armenia before the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is resolved.
In a Twitter post, President Serzh Sarkisian’s press secretary, Arman Saghatelian, said, “With his ‘face-saving’ show for [Ilham] Aliyev in Baku yesterday, Erdogan finally placed Turkey outside regional processes.” He did not elaborate.
Speaking after talks with Aliyev, Erdogan made clear that a Karabakh settlement is critical for any serious improvement of Turkish-Armenian relations. “Otherwise Turkey’s relations with Armenia will remain at the current level,” he said.
Erdogan has repeatedly made such statements after the signing in 2009 of Turkish-Armenian protocols envisaging the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two nations and reopening of their border. The Armenian government rejects this precondition, arguing that the protocols make no reference to the Karabakh conflict.
Sarkisian has warned before that Yerevan will formally annul the U.S.-backed agreements if Ankara sticks to its linkage. But he has not acted on those threats.