PRAGUE — President Serzh Sarkisian has urged Turkey to unconditionally honor landmark 2009 agreements to normalize its relations with Armenia and accused NATO of doing little to end what he sees as a Turkish threat to his country’s security.
In an interview with the Czech newspaper “Lidove noviny” circulated by his office on Tuesday, Sarkisian complained about Ankara’s preconditions for implementing the two protocols that were signed in Zurich, Switzerland during an unprecedented rapprochement between the two neighboring nations.
“We are ready to revive the process of normalizing relations if the Turkish side demonstrates the political will and steps off the ineffective path of preconditions,” he said. “The implementation of the signed protocols would also help to bolster stability in the entire region.”
The protocols envisaged the establishment of diplomatic relations between Armenia and Turkey and opening of their border.
Shortly after the signing of the accords, the Turkish government made their parliamentary ratification conditional on a resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict acceptable to Azerbaijan, its main regional ally. Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu indicated no change in this policy during a December 2013 visit to Yerevan.
Sarkisian reiterated his administration’s rejection of Ankara’s Karabakh linkage. He emphasized that the United States and other Western powers agree with Yerevan’s insistence on an unconditional Turkish-Armenian normalization.
Speaking to “Lidove noviny” during an official visit to the Czech Republic late last week, the Armenian leader at the same time hit out at NATO for not pressuring the Turks to end their continuing blockade of Armenia imposed in 1993 out of solidarity with Azerbaijan.
“Even though Armenia is quite productively developing its partnership with NATO — implementing an individual partnership plan, participating in the [NATO-led] operations in Kosovo and Afghanistan — we have never seen other NATO member states show Turkey, within the format of that alliance, that its actions cause substantial damage to a partner country,” Sarkisian said. “Paradoxically, we contribute to NATO’s security system while the policy pursued by a NATO member state [Turkey] directly damages our own security system.”
Both the U.S. and the European Union have repeatedly urged Turkey to normalize ties with Armenia.