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Armenia-Turkey Accords No Hurdle For Dashnaktsutyun


Armenia - President Serzh Sarkisian (R) and Hrant Markarian attend a concert in Yerevan in 2011 organized by the Armenian Revolutionary Federation.

Armenia - President Serzh Sarkisian (R) and Hrant Markarian attend a concert in Yerevan in 2011 organized by the Armenian Revolutionary Federation.

A formal annulment of the 2009 Turkish-Armenian normalization agreements is not a necessary condition for the Armenian Revolutionary Federation-Dashnaktsutyun’s new power-sharing deal with President Serzh Sarkisian, a leader of the party said on Friday.

Dashnaktsutyun pulled out of President Serzh Sarkisian’s coalition government in April 2009 in protest against his policy of rapprochement with Turkey. The pan-Armenian party known for its hard line on Turkey strongly condemned the two Turkish-Armenian protocols that were signed in Zurich six months later.

Its leaders said that Sarkisian made too many concessions to the Turks which will complicate greater international recognition of the 1915 Armenian genocide in the Ottoman Empire. They insisted on the withdrawal of Yerevan’s signature from the Western-backed protocols even after Ankara made their ratification by Turkey’s parliament contingent on the resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh.

The Sarkisian administration has repeatedly rejected the Turkish precondition, meaning that the agreements to normalize Turkish-Armenian relations will not be put into practice in the foreseeable future.

Artsvik Minasian, a senior Dashnaktsutyun figure, indicated that the party does not insist on the scrapping of the protocols in its ongoing negotiations with Sarkisian which are widely expected to result in its return to the government. He argued that the president formally recalled the accord from the Armenian parliament in February 2015.

“The signature that exists [in the protocols] will one day cease to exist in line with the international situation,” Minasian told reporters.

Sarkisian reportedly offered Dashnaktsutyun, which holds 5 seats in the 131-member National Assembly, to rejoin his cabinet earlier this month. Hrant Markarian, a Dashnaktsutyun leader with whom he negotiated, said the party is ready to accept the offer. The two sides have since been negotiating details of the power-sharing deal.

Minasian said the talks are now nearing completion but declined to comment on ministerial and other government posts that will be given to his party. “We are discussing actions that need to be taken in different areas,” he said. “Only after [those discussions] will it be clear what role Dashnaktsutyun could play in those areas.”

Dashnaktsutyun paved the way for such a deal with its strong support for Sarkisian’s controversial constitutional changes enacted as a result of a disputed referendum held on December 6. Like the ruling Republican Party of Armenia (HHK), it has dismissed allegations by the opposition, civic groups and some media that the vote was rigged by the authorities.

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