Sarkisian Withdraws Protocols from Parliament

YEREVAN (A.W.)—Armenian President Serge Sarkisian has asked to withdraw the Turkey-Armenia protocols from the National Assembly. Sarkisian sent a letter to the Chairman of the National Assembly Galust Sahakyan, informing him about his decision to withdraw the protocols from the National Assembly of Armenia, reported Armenpress.

On April 23, 2009, an agreement of “mutual understanding,” defined as a “roadmap,” had been agreed upon by Armenia and Turkey assuring the world that mutually beneficial relations between them were forthcoming.

In the days leading to the signing of the proposals, Sarkisian made a tour of several Armenian communities around the world, including New York, Paris, Beirut, and Los Angeles, only to be met with scorn and outrage.

Public outcry had virtually no swaying influence on the resolve of the Armenian authorities, and Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian alongside his Turkish counterpart Ahmet Davutoglu signed the protocols in Zurich on Oct. 10, 2009.

On April 22, 2010, only seven months after signing the accord, Sarkisian made a statement, in which he made it clear that the political majority in the National Assembly considered statements from the Turkish side unacceptable, “specifically those by Prime Minister [Recepy Tayyip] Erdogan, who has again made the ratification of the Armenia-Turkey protocols by the Turkish parliament directly dependent on a resolution over Nagorno-Karabagh.”

Below is an excerpt from the president’s letter to Sahakyan, as published by the Public Radio of Armenia.


Respected Mr. Sahakyan,

When launching the process of normalization of the Armenian-Turkish relations without preconditions, we were fully aware of all possible scenarios of future development. We were ready for both comprehensive normalization of relations through ratification of the protocols and their failure. We had nothing to conceal, as it would become clear to the world which party was guilty of missing the chance to open the last closed border in Europe.

Almost six years have passed from the signing of the Armenian-Turkish protocols. Throughout this period Armenia has consistently backed the realization of the protocols.

However, we cannot but stress the lack of political will on the part of Turkey, the distortion of the letter and spirit of the protocols and the continuous attempts to pose preconditions. Parallel to that, on the threshold of the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, the policy of denial and revision of history gains new momentum.

I have said on many occasions that time is not inexhaustible. I last did it from the podium of the UN General Assembly in September 2014. It’s a pity that this call failed to reach the Turkish leadership.

Therefore, I have decided to recall the protocols on the “Establishment of Diplomatic Relations between the Republic of Armenia and the Republic of Turkey” and “Development of Relations between the Republic of Armenia and the Republic of Turkey” from the National Assembly.


  1. Today Armenian president corrected his mistake! However, I do not know how on the earth he is going to take his un-presidential comments in his last speech! I think, he has shot his last bullet!

  2. This is an excellent move.

    I believe this will put pressure on Western interests who forced this Protocol down RoA throat to choose between going to Yerevan or occupied Constantinople on April 24th.

    As ARF (Giro Manoyan) and Hunchak (Narek Galstyan) spokesmen have already announced in Yerevan, the next step is to withdraw RoA’s signature. I believe RoA Gov will do that just prior to April 24th. At least I hope they do.

    I believe this is the right diplomatic approach: first withdraw it from Parliament, give it some time to let it sink in; see what Turks’ allies and protectors in the West do about it.
    Then withdraw the signature.

  3. This may be a step in the right direction, however, it is obvious that Sargsyan made this decision to get on the diaspora’s good side and to try to persuade the ARF to join him in his battle vs. Tsarukyan + gang.

  4. Right decision. I am from Turkey, and I agree with Mr. Sarkisian. The Turkish ruling party, AKP, has shown NO sincerity and goodwill in recent years to make the normalisation of relations possible.

    I still hope one day in the near future, Turkey will open the border and also accept the genocide. But I am not optimistic :(

    • “I still hope one day in the near future, Turkey will open the border and also accept the genocide. ”

      Opening the border and recognizing the genocide is NOT enough. And that’s the problem.


    Why only mentioning “Tsarukyan + gang” ? You forgot Sargsyan + gang ! They are both Oligarchs and just working for their own benefit. Under Oligarchs rule the country will NOT develop ! Sargsyan did this step NOW only because he noticed it was stupid to start a war against another Oligarch so short before April 24th !

  6. I can not understand how the world leaders still fall into the childish diplomatic traps laid out by Turkish leaders

  7. Dear Mr. President Sarkisian,
    I am so pleased that you made this extraordinary decision to withdraw
    the original Procall document with parliament and Turkey. Let Turkey show goodwill and reach out to the Armenians for a change to prove their sincerity!
    John Chookasian, Artistic Director
    Chookasian Armenian Concert Ensemble

  8. Its the right thing to do. Now we have 2 borders with no diplomatic relations, one we are at war with, Russia’s economy is shrinking, and they are busy in Ukraine; Iran is busy militarily on multiple fronts. Armenia needs to develop a “Yerevan Silicon valley”; to be able to maintain an economy and an army to protect the borders.

    • Armenia is developing its own silicon valley. It’s been growing nicely for quite a few years now. And that will help in terms of developing homegrown tech.

      But Armenia needs to invest in other areas as much as a tiny country can. A homegrown military industrial complex might be next logical step. That’s also mostly likely being developed too. For example the domestically produced Krunk drones. This is an area that surely overlaps with the silicon valley development.

      See and

      Maybe recycling of electronic waste is another area. Even importing it from other countries and extracting the raw materials such as copper. I don’t know how feasible this is business wise but it is an important area to look into given the amount of electronic waste being disposed of these days. Also given the toxic waste in them, it would be best to recycle them, instead of having be dumped in the trash.

      Heck, maybe even recovering still functioning components from smart phones such as screens and selling them to electronics hobbyists. Niche market but the idea is to come up with new ways to build businesses.

  9. Congratulations to President Sarkisyan for his efforts to give the desendants of the scum who murdered 1.5 million Armenians an opportunity to be honorable. It does not matter how long it takes. Turks will be accountable for what they did.

  10. Funny how some commentators praise Sarkissian’s move. Was is not his administration who signed the defeatist protocols? Ignored the demands of his fellow citizens and the Armenians throughout the world? What are you praising him for? A public-spirited, patriotic president should have resigned if he wasn’t capable of avoiding the outside pressure. It was so humiliating to see the Armenian foreign minister signing documents with a representative of a nation that for 100 years has been denying its complicity for committing genocide and never offered a mere apology for wiping out an ancient civilization and for appropriation of ancestral lands of the Armenians. Go on, praise Sarkissian “for correcting a mistake”… It wasn’t a mistake, okay? He knew full well what he was doing and what repercussions the move would have.

    • During the political climate back in 2009 the Protocols was the right thing to do by Yerevan. Now, in the current political climate, the right thing to do was to withdraw from it.

    • Harutik,

      The protocols were inherently flawed so there were never the right thing to do. Why do you think it was unpopular in the diaspora?

      Couple of things,
      – Making exploration of history, ie the Armenian Genocide, gave the world the impression that there is indeed unsettled understanding of 1915. This was a setback with all the progress done with research into it and recognition by various nations.

      – The diaspora was not involved in this part of the protocols. The diaspora is for the most part a product of the Genocide and must be a party to any reconciliation process, but RoA does not represent the diaspora legally or otherwise. Turkey has tried to divide RoA and the diaspora.

      – Opening the border, I feel, would have ended up being a pressure tool for Turkey to come up with a compromised understanding of the genocide that would not mention the word genocide. It appears that the historical and the border/diplomatic goals were supposed to be goals tackled in parallel. But opening the border and diplomatic relations could have been tied to the outcome of the historical aspect of the protocols.

      Tying the protocols to the resolution of the Karabakh war came as the details of the soon to be signed protocols became public. Which is when Azerbaijan complained.

      I think things should be taken by steps. First open diplomatic relations and allow reconciliation to happen on a people-to-people basis and not at a governmental level. The diaspora cannot be excluded.

    • Any issue related to Armenia’s dealings with Turkey cannot be subject to political weathercocking, because the issue is of enormous significance, as well as contains potential hazards, not only for the citizens of the republic but foro the Armenians all over the world. No “political climate” could justify Sarkissian’s manifestation of disdain towards the demands of the prevailing majority of the Armenians not to sign the defeatist protocols. The Armenian Cause is a constant, so to speak. As such, it cannot be subjected to the whims of a president to sign something affecting the Cause today and to withdraw signature tomorrow. This is clearly not a sign of a mature and responsible behavior. Again, if there was no other way to withstand the outside pressure, a responsible and patriotic president should have resigned, but not humiliate his whole nation.

      The domestic political climate throughout many recent years before or during the current administration requires better governing system, civil liberties, independent judiciary, curtailing of emigration, jobs, increase of retirement pensions, fighting corruption, etc. Are they not “right things” to do by Yerevan? But somehow we don’t see these right things happening with the vigor with which the signing of the humiliating protocols was done.

  11. People who have a personal dislike for Pres. Sargsyan will never approve of nor praise anything he does.
    What’s good for RoA is irrelevant: as long as they themselves feel good by spewing their bile at a person whom they personally dislike.

    The notion that the President did this to get into a coalition with ARF vs Prosperous is laughable: ARF has never had more than 5% of the Parliament. PAP is 25%-30%. Do the math.
    And for years RoA Gov has been letting it be known that Turkey was not an honest party to the agreement.
    It says right there in the article: {On April 22, 2010, only seven months after signing the accord, Sarkisian made a statement, in which he made it clear that the political majority in the National Assembly considered statements from the Turkish side unacceptable,..}

    Now was the right time just prior to the 100th, and Turks presented the opportunity, again, by their vile action of spitting on April 24th.

    As to the original Protocols:

    Very easy for people who have no stake to suggest the President to do this or that.
    RoA Gov 1st priority is the safety and security of the people of RoA (and NKR). If they have to sit down at a table with the Devil to gain time, so be it.
    I have no idea what kind of a threat was issued to RoA Gov to sign the Protocols, but somebody obviously put a gun to its head and said “Sign or else”.
    Even Russia, for some reason unclear to me, went along or was unable to counter the pressure at that time.

    US has a Lot of power. It can cause massive damage to any country without firing a shot.
    What was done to Russia recently (currency and oil price manipulation) should disabuse anyone of the notion that a small country like RoA can just ignore US.
    Israel, with its immensely powerful Jewish-American diaspora, and after insisting for years that they will _never_, ever,ever apologize, was forced by Obama Administration to apologize to Turks for the Mavi Marmara killings.
    How did that happen ?
    US is now forcing two powerhouse countries in Europe, Germany and France, into a commercial war with Russia, which neither Germany nor France want, because it is costing them 10s of US$ Billions in lost trade and revenue.
    How is that possible ?
    And people think that little RoA could simply say “No, Thank you” in 2009 ?

    The worldwide protests against the Protocols were good: it gave the opening for the RoA Constitutional Court to invalidate several of the most damaging provisions. And it is also pretty obvious that in 2009 Sargsyan administration lacked diplomatic skills and experience.
    They and the country are learning: it takes time.
    RoA is a young country. Both Turkey and their protectors and allies in the West have been playing (dirty) diplomacy for a very long time.
    They are quite good at lying and manipulating.

    RoA and NKR need the entire Armenian Nation worldwide to have their back – unconditionally.
    Lots of trials and tribulations ahead.

    Stay united Armenian People.

    • If in the case of protocols someone put a gun to Sarkissian’s head and said “sign or else”, has that someone reappeared again during the Gyumri massacre? Prevented the president from declaring national mourning? Or from visiting the site and offering condolences to the relatives? It is not about “personal dislike” which many in Armenia might have towards Sarkissian. It is his failure to act as a responsible national leader under certain circumstances.

    • “Very easy for people who have no stake to suggest the President to do this or that.”

      One part of the protocols was about “analyzing events of 1915” (my rephrasing). Every Armenian has a stake in this, but the diaspora was not involved or taken into account. Did you forget about that part? Sarkissian is not the president of the Armenian diaspora and cannot represent all Armenians when it comes to the AG.

    • I agree with Avery’s analysis here. Starting from the premise that RoA was pressured–by all major powers–to sign the protocols, RoA handled the situation deftly over the past six years.

      “Even Russia, for some reason unclear to me, went along or was unable to counter the pressure at that time.”

      Many Russian interests would be served by opening the Turkish-Armenian border. First, the open border would remove Georgia’s monopoly over commerce to and from Armenia, which Georgia has been using to enrich itself.
      Second, it would drive a wedge between Turkey and Azerbaijan, which Russia could use to pull Azerbaijan into its orbit. Remember that after Turkey and Armenia began normalization talks in 2008, Baku signed a deal with Gazprom to transfer 500 million cubic meters of gas to Europe through Russia, rather than through Turkey.

      Third, Russia needed alternative routes to maintain its own presence in Gyumri. The August 2008 war with Georgia—-and Georgia’s closing of its airspace and land transport to Russia as a result-—affected Russia’s ability to supply its base.

    • I have no clue as to why some of my posts were not published; there was nothing derogatory or disagreeable with the moderators’ policy, but I’ll give it another try.

      In my humble opinion, Alex, your analysis suffers from several flaws.

      First, almost everyone I’ve seen on these pages and far beyond agree that RoA was pressured. Therefore, it is not just the analysis of one person. It is the way the administration handled the pressure that sows dissension. Most analysts agree that at the time of the so-called “protocol process” it was handled counterproductively to Armenia’s national interests. How the RoA handled the situation over the past six years–deftly or clumsily–doesn’t in effect reduce the harm that the very fact of signing has done. Why? Because, as poster Random correctly pointed out, agreeing to explore history and dimensions of bilateral relations gave the international community the impression that there’s an unsettled understanding of the “events of 1915”, which both Armenia and Turkey need to come to terms with. This was clearly a major setback in advancing the Cause. Proof? During the past six years only one country, Bolivia, which has little to no clout in the stratification of international politics, has joined the family of 25+ countries that recognized the genocide.

      The issue is fundamentally different. If the administration works for the good of the people, as they claim they do, then why a clearly articulated outcry of this very people–both in RoA and in Diaspora–was so ignominiously ignored? Why is it that in the case of joining the EEU, the president and his administration stated on more than one occasion that the move was done pursuant to the wishes of the people? But in the case of the protocols there also was a demonstrably made wish by the people not to sign the documents. Not to say, that, in my opinion, the RoA president had no authority to sign such documents, because it was beyond his jurisdiction to put his government’s signature under documents that affect the interests of ALL Armenians, not just the citizens of the RoA. I already suggested how, in my view, a public-spirited president could have acted and I’d like to avoid repeating that.

      Second, Russia’s role. Opening the border that would remove Georgia’s monopoly over commerce to and from Armenia is evidently not a Russian interest by definition. It may relate to Georgia’s interest, but not Russia’s. Next, yes, Turkish-Armenian rapprochement would drive a wedge between Turkey and Azerbaijan, but I don’t think this tactical setback in their bilateral relations would give a sufficient leverage to Russia to pull Azerbaijan into her orbit. Mind you, Turkey is dependent on Azeri hydrocarbon resources, not vice versa. And, by the way, it was not because Turkey and Armenia began normalization talks in 2008 that Baku decided to sign a deal with Gazprom. It was mainly Baku’s fear for a possible replication of the Georgian scenario (i.e. 2008 Russian invasion of Georgia) in Azerbaijan. Lastly, yes, it wouldn’t hurt Russia to have an alternative route to maintain her presence in Gyumri. But if the need was so huge, Russia could have reached the Georgian-Armenian border blazing through everything in her path in the matter of an hour and a half. And, no, that Georgia’s closing of her airspace and land transport to Russia affected Russia’s ability to supply her base is just an assumption. All indicates that the base is being supplied via other routes.

      Why, then, Russia chose not to counter the pressure at the time of signing of the protocols? Maybe Russia was persuaded, so to speak, not to engage herself at the time. Maybe some kind of a deal among major centers of powers was made, in which Armenia was too minor a player. Maybe Russia sensed that nothing would come out of the whole arrangement. Or maybe Russia knew that she possessed a superfluous capability to thwart the whole process at a later time.

  12. Avery, I am glad you make an effort to persistently safeguard the gates to the Armenian fort. Sadly, however, don’t expect to be understood or appreciated. Just do what you have been doing for the sake of pragmatic patriotism, objectivity, rationale and sanity.

    • Others, too, make efforts to safeguard the gates to the Armenian fort. It is the assessments and the venues that may differ. You don’t have to necessarily praise everything that the government does in order to be qualified as the “guardian of the Armenian fort”. The government consists of human beings like us, who, like us, make informed or unthought choices or outright mistakes.

      “To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public.” ~Theodore Roosevelt

    • I don’t see Avery “praising everything the Armenian government does”. I see Avery being patriotic, objective, rational and balanced. What Avery does is crucially important in today’s landscape, where doom and gloom rhetoric about Armenia and its government is disseminated on a 24/7 basis. This anti-government hysteria, much of it sown in Armenian society by Western-funded disinformation agencies and their treasonous Armenian helpers, is the fundamental reason why Armenians today are demoralized. So, Avery is doing a sacred job in defending the gate to the Armenian fortress while others are unwittingly doing their best to open the gates of the fortress to the enemy…

    • Others, too, are being patriotic, objective, rational, and balanced on these pages. They diligently fight for the Cause and on many occasions were acknowledged for putting in their two cents. Again, their assessments and venues may differ, which in and of itself is not at all indicative of a fact that they are “treasonous Armenian helpers of the Western-funded disinformation agencies” or that they are “unwittingly doing their best to open the gates of the fortress to the enemy”. This is a simplistic mentality, I’m sorry to say. You cannot bring about a societal progress only by sugarcoating the government’s actions, right or wrong. There will always be people who do their part by pinpointing its shortcomings. These people are no less, if not more, productive than the government henchmen, while their actions–provided they’re reasonable and supportive–are no less, if not more, crucially important in today’s landscape. And yes, Avery either praises what the Armenian government does or finds excuses for their actions even in situations where he knows they don’t enjoy a broad-based public support. One such example is protocols. The prevailing majority of RoA citizens and almost all of the Diaspora were against signing such defeatist documents with our archenemy. Yet, in Avery’s post we see: “Very easy for people who have no stake to suggest the President to do this or that.” Yes, the PEOPLE suggest–even if ideally–their president to do this or that. However, public outcry had no impact whatsoever on the president. Exactly how does a criticism of the president’s disdain for the public opinion suggest that the critics are “unwittingly doing their best to open the gates of the fortress to the enemy”? Or take the Gyumri massacre, as another example. Exactly how does a criticism of the president who didn’t even care to declare a national mourning or at least visit the site suggest that the critics are “treasonous helpers of the Western-funded disinformation agencies”. Don’t be ridiculous, compatriot…

  13. Anyway do not ever forget where are our real borders with Turkey! There are still occupied Armenian territories in the so called today turkey, the ottoman six villayets, no one will ever make us forget those lands are ours, it does not matter how they are called now, eastern turkey,anatolia,kurdistan…abandoned or no one’s land …those lands have been ours, are spiritually ours and will always be ours and become materially ours again,no matter if that will need 2000 years before having them again in United Armenia, those territories are the real limits of our borders. Armenians will never forget or abandon any sacred part of ourHomeland you can bet!

  14. Harutik,

    Exactly how is your colleague (Avery) being patriotic, objective, rational, and balanced, when he persistently praises Serzh Sargsyan (President Putin’s butler) who does not represent the citizens of Armenia in any particular way, neglects them in every possible way, and as a result, is causing so many of Armenia’s citizens to emigrate out of the country year after year, which has crippled it and elevated its depressing situation to a state of national emergency due to 23 years of continuous population decline. Once again, what kind of future can the Republic of Armenia possibly have with its population continuing to decline on a yearly basis? For you, Avery, and others who continue to praise President Sargsyan and his pro-Russian regime, it’s quite obvious that you folks are totally unconcerned about this particular issue, along with the other harmful domestic problems which continue to cripple the Republic of Armenia. What you folks are doing is certainly not the definition of defending the Armenian fortress; on the contrary, what you folks are doing is defending the Russian fortress.

    By the way, isn’t it rather strange that someone who hates the Western power countries as much as you, would say that the Protocols were the right thing to do by President Sargsyan, back in 2009? Actually, those fraudulent protocols happened to be the idea of those very same Western power countries whom you intensely despise.

  15. John,

    When Avery (correctly) said… “US has a Lot of power. It can cause massive damage to any country without firing a shot.” – I think this is what he was referring to when the Sargsyan govt took part in the protocols process. At the very least, Armenia did not want to (correctly) alienate itself from the US. With the positive progression of US-Armenia relations of the past 20 years, and our large diaspora, we simply cannot afford that.

    If you want to blame someone for the protocols, blame those shameless creeps of the State Department who want the world to believe that “The US needs Turkey because it has the power to upset the US” and thus Genocide recognition is “unnecessary”. In fact they next took it a step further than that with the protocols. That’s what I would call creeps of the highest magnitude, and some other names I cannot name here.

    Like most diaspora Armenians, I was extremely upset at the time of the protocols and disappointed that Armenia’s President and govt couldn’t show some teeth. I still am. One thing the President did right at the time though was give a worldwide diaspora tour. He already knew how we in the diaspora felt, but the trick was to show all the other parties in the protocols process that Armenia also has a responsibility to its diaspora which cannot be dismissed so easily. These countries learned that Armenia not only lives inside Armenia, but also outside of it.

    Maybe these are Armenia’s growing pains as a result of the lack of experience being a new republic. Maybe there are things we don’t know still. Maybe the Armenian govt was playing along in their chess game to see what happens and would move accordingly. But be as it may, we are at this point, and we can be thankful that Armenia came out of this largely unscathed, and Turkey having shown its true turanist colors. I see this as a diplomatic win for Armenia.

    • I hear you, Hagop. I agree with many things except for how the pressure was handled. I don’t believe that Armenia succumbed to pressure because she didn’t want to “alienate herself from the US”. I tend to think that Sarkissian agreed to the forced choice in fear to fall from power. And I don’t think I need to blame someone else for the protocols. I blame the one who blinked. I don’t claim to be right, but it is preposterous to thank or praise the president for his “I-couldn’t-care-less” attitude towards the will of his people.

  16. It’s rather absurd how some of the commentators are attempting to defend President Sargsyan for allowing the United States to intimidate him into signing those fraudulent protocols with Turkey which would have ended up being quite harmful to both Armenia and the diaspora if Turkey had gone ahead and ratified it. That was certainly no kind of win for the Republic of Armenia; as a matter of fact, it made President Sargsyan look like a little wimp who can’t stand up for the country that he’s attempting to lead. As for the present, it’s Russia who makes the decisions in regard to what the Republic of Armenia can and can’t do.

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