Aliyev made the remark at a joint news conference with Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Baku on Wednesday. He backed Turkish allegations that Sarkisian voiced Armenian territorial claims to Turkey last week.
“I am well informed about [Sarkisian’s] way of thinking. In effect, this demonstrates the aggressive essence of Armenia,” Aliyev said.
“But to have territorial claims to Turkey? This simply means that something is missing in the heads of these people,” he added.
Sarkisian hit back by questioning Aliyev’s sanity. “Was that a statement by a normal person, let alone a head of state?” he told a joint news conference with Poland’s visiting President Bronislaw Komorowski.
On his part, Erdogan said Sarkisian should apologize for “calling on school children to occupy eastern Turkey.” According to him, Sarkisian ’s remarks “did not befit a statesman” and called them a “historical mistake” that “should be corrected.”
Erdogan made a reference to Sarkisian’s statement at a meeting with Diaspora youths..
In answering to the question asked by one of the participants — which was: “Will our future be reminiscent of the Batum agreement, when in a German diplomat’s words, we were left with a territory just enough to swim in Lake Sevan, but with no room for drying up, or it will be a future that will return Western Armenia, along with Mt. Ararat?” – Sarkisian, according to his press office, said:
“It depends on you and your generation. I believe my generation has fulfilled the task in front of us; when it was necessary at the beginning of the 1990s to defend part of our fatherland – Karabakh – from the enemy, we did it.”
The bitter exchange could further complicate international mediators’ efforts to salvage the Nagorno-Karabakh peace process after Aliyev’s and Sarkisian’s failure to reach a framework peace agreement at their last meeting held in Kazan, Russia on June 24.