Visiting the southern Russian city of Rostov-on-Don, Sarkisian again blamed Turkey for the effective collapse of the Turkish-Armenian agreements to normalize bilateral ties. He defended his decision in late April to freeze Armenian parliamentary ratification of the two “protocols.”
“The main reason for that is very simple: Turkey is today not prepared to ratify the protocols,” he told leaders of the local Armenian community. “In order to justify the collapse [of the normalization process,] it is setting more and more preconditions. Furthermore, it is trying to intrude a sphere -- I mean the process of resolving the Artsakh (Karabakh) issue -- where it obviously has nothing to do.”
“At the moment, we have nothing to discuss with an unreliable and untrustworthy partner which periodically breaches preliminary understandings,” Sarkisian said in remarks posted on his website.
The Armenian leader similarly accused Turkey of wasting its “stock of confidence as a partner in negotiations” during a visit to Brussels last week. He referred to the Turkish linkage between protocol ratification and a Karabakh settlement acceptable to Azerbaijan. Yerevan argues that neither protocol makes any reference to the Armenian-Azerbaijani dispute.
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has claimed, however, that Karabakh peace is an implicit requirement of the Turkish-Armenian agreements signed in October. Accordingly, Erdogan and other Turkish officials have pressed the U.S., Russian and French mediators to step up their peace efforts.
Ankara has also signaled its desire to gain a role in the Karabakh negotiating process. Armenian leaders have ruled that out, saying that the Turks can not act like honest brokers because of their close ties with and unwavering support for Azerbaijan.
Sarkisian on Wednesday again excluded any peaceful settlement that would lead to the disputed territory’s return under Azerbaijani rule. “We are not going to haggle over the Artsakh people’s right to self-determination,” said the Karabakh-born president.
While freezing the universally backed Turkish-Armenian deal, Sarkisian was careful not to formally rescind it, a stance that has earned him praise from the United States and the European Union. Like official Yerevan, the Western powers say Armenia and Turkey should establish diplomatic relations and open their border without any preconditions.