A leading Armenian opposition party on Tuesday dismissed as a publicity stunt President Serzh Sarkisian’s decision to send Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian to the upcoming inauguration of Turkey’s President-elect Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Nalbandian’s participation in the ceremony in Ankara, scheduled for Thursday, was officially confirmed by the Armenian Foreign Ministry earlier in the day.
Vladimir Karapetian, the foreign policy spokesman for the Armenian National Congress (HAK), insisted that Nalbandian’s presence will not have any positive impact on Turkish-Armenian relations.
“Serzh Sarkisian needs the international community’s support, something which he doesn’t have at the moment,” Karapetian told RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am). “I think that this gesture is baseless and will not lead to any positive developments. It will simply cast the authorities in a better light for a short time.”
Karapetian argued that the Turkish government has no plans to unconditionally normalize relations with Armenia in the foreseeable future. “There is no such issue on the Turkish foreign policy agenda,” he said.
Sarkisian announced Nalbandian’s likely attendance of Erdogan’s inauguration on Saturday. He did not explain his decision to accept an invitation extended by Ankara.
Sarkisian has repeatedly denounced the Turkish government for linking the normalization of Turkish-Armenian relations to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Earlier this month he also strongly condemned Erdogan for making statements offensive to the Armenians.