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Armenian Official Rejects Turkish ‘Preconditions’


Armenia - Eduard Aghajanian, the chief of Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian's staff, speaks with journalists, September 18, 2019.

Armenia wants to normalize its relations with Turkey but will not accept any preconditions set by Ankara, a senior Armenian official said on Tuesday.

Eduard Aghajanian, the chairman of the Armenian parliament committee on foreign relations, said Yerevan continues to believe that Turkish-Armenian relations must not be linked to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict or the 1915 Armenian genocide issue.

Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian spoke on Friday of “some positive signals” sent by the Turkish government of late, saying that his administration is ready to reciprocate them.

Commenting on Pashinian’s remark the following day, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said regional states should establish “good-neighborly relations” by recognizing each other’s territorial integrity and sovereignty. “If Yerevan is ready to move in that direction Ankara could start working on a gradual normalization of relations with Armenia,” he said.

In that context, Erdogan was understood to echo Azerbaijan’s demands for a formal Armenian recognition of Azerbaijani sovereignty over Nagorno-Karabakh.

“We certainly welcome positive rhetoric whenever it comes from Azerbaijan and Turkey,” Aghajanian told RFE/RL’s Armenian Service. “But unfortunately, Erdogan’s statement contained points resembling preconditions, which do not help to launch that [normalization] process at all.”

“I can’t imagine … Azerbaijan being a decisive factor in Turkish-Armenian relations as has been the case in the last 20-30 years,” he said.

Aghajanian, who is a senior member of Pashinian’s Civil Contract party, also made clear that Yerevan will not stop seeking a greater international recognition of the Armenian genocide in the Ottoman Empire for the sake of a Turkish-Armenian rapprochement.

“I think that the Turkish should also be conscious of this,” he said.

Turkey completely closed its border with Armenia in 1993 and has refused to establish diplomatic relations with Yerevan since then out of solidarity with Azerbaijan. It provided Azerbaijan with decisive military support during last year’s war in Nagorno-Karabakh.

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