Last week, Armenia’s president, Serge Sarkisian, made an important pronouncement. Standing before the United Nations General Assembly, he announced the end of the Turkey-Armenia Protocols.
Sarkisian said the so-called Zurich Protocols, which were signed in 2009 to allow the opening of borders and set up formal diplomatic relations between Turkey and Armenia, “continuously lacked” any positive progress toward implementation.
“We will enter the spring of 2018 without those—as our experience has demonstrated, futile— Protocols,” the President announced during his address.
Unfortunately, with his references to next spring, the President’s timeline remains vague. After eight wasted years, must we really wait six more months for the end of this folly?
Indeed, from the outset, the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF) viewed the Protocols as dangerous and ill-advised. Had they been implemented, Artsakh’s right to self-determination would have been subordinated, the veracity of the Armenian Genocide questioned, and Armenia’s current, arbitrary border with Turkey codified—all in the name of supposed good relations with an unrepentant Turkey.
Turkey’s insincerity was evident throughout the process, made apparent by its insatiable demands for even more concessions.
These failed Protocols should serve as a lesson for the United States and others that pressured Armenia down this flawed path.
Normalization of Armenia’s relations with Turkey is an important objective that should be pursued, but it cannot be done at the expense of our nation’s core interests. Moreover, it cannot be done at the expense of the basic tenet of equal partnership.
From their onset, the Protocols set out to hold hostage the present and future Armenia and the Armenian people, and could never serve as a foundation for respectful and friendly relations between Turkey and Armenia.
While long overdue, President Sarkisian’s step is welcome nonetheless. We must be confident that Armenia can now move forward, unencumbered by the specter of the Protocols.
Spring 2018 is nearly half a year away. It’s time to expedite the process and declare the failed Protocols “null and void” immediately.