Armenia’s leadership is inching closer to formally annulling its controversial normalization agreements with Turkey, a senior member of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun) suggested on Tuesday.
Giro Manoyan, the opposition party’s foreign policy spokesman, pointed to President Serzh Sarkisian recent statements on the subject.
Visiting Cyprus last month, Sarkisian accused Turkey of “destroying” a process of rapprochement between the two neighboring nations that culminated in the signing of two normalization protocols in October 2009.
In a subsequent interview with Ekho Mosvky radio, he warned that Yerevan will withdraw its signature from the protocols if Ankara continues to link their parliamentary ratification with a resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
Citing the Turkish preconditions, Sarkisian froze the process of protocol ratification by Armenia’s parliament in April last year. But he stopped short of scrapping the accords altogether.
“When the president suspended the ratification process on April 22 he said that [the Armenian government] will not withdraw their signature for now,” Manoyan told a news conference. “Obviously, that ‘for now’ must have a certain time limit and I think that limit has approached.”
“This is a presumption, but considering all those statements that the president has made in recent months and weeks … one can conclude that in the president’s mind, that ‘for now’ period has ended, is ending, or will end soon,” Manoyan said, according to News.am. He claimed that Turkey is now trying to keep Armenia from walking away from the process “at any cost.”
Dashnaktsutyun has been one of the most vocal critics of the Turkish-Armenian protocols. The nationalist party quit Sarkisian’s governing coalition in April 2009 in protest against his policy of rapprochement with Turkey welcomed and encouraged by the West.
Sarkisian discussed Turkish-Armenian relations with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Munich early this month. The issue is expected to be high on the agenda of the upcoming visit to Yerevan by Clinton’s deputy James Steinberg.