YEREVAN—Armenian President Serge Sarkisian has officially annulled the 2009 Armenia-Turkey Protocols. The announcement came at a sitting of the National Security Council earlier today.
“Since its independence Armenia has tried to establish relations with Turkey,” Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian said at today’s National Security Council session. “However, the Armenian-Turkish relations were in the deadlock when the President of Armenia initiated the process of normalization of relations with Turkey back in 2008, which was based on the vision of normalization of relations without preconditions.”
In his address to the 72nd session of the United Nations General Assembly last September, President Sarkisian had announced that Armenia would declare the 2009 Armenia-Turkey Protocols “null and void” if not ratified by the spring of 2018. Sarkisian said the so-called Zurich Protocols, which were signed in 2009 between Armenia and Turkey to allow the opening of borders and to set up formal diplomatic relations between the two nations, “continuously lacked” any positive progress toward implementation.
“The Government of Turkey came up with preposterous preconditions for their ratification that run counter to the letter and spirit of the Protocols,” Sarkisian said in his address. “I expressed the clear-cut views of the Armenian people on this issue three years ago, when I spoke from this eminent podium.” The deal was brokered by the United States, Russia, and France. In Feb. 2015, President Sarkisian recalled the protocols from Armenia’s Parliament, citing the “absence of political will” on the part of Turkey.
“We will enter the spring of 2018 without those—as our experience has demonstrated, futile—Protocols,” Sarkisian announced during his address at the UN General Assembly.
In his address to the National Security Council session on Thursday, Nalbandian stressed that Armenia has always been consistent in its stance on the implementation of the protocols. “Unfortunately, the further developments demonstrated once again that Ankara is not ready for the normalization and that the vocal statements of the Turkish side on the readiness to, so called, historical reconciliation have nothing to do with the reality,” he noted.
Nalbandian went on to say that launching the normalization process of the Armenian-Turkish relations, Armenia “fully realized the possible further developments”—that Turkey might not demonstrate relevant political will and respect its commitments. “Time proved that our concern was righteous. Up to this day, the absence of any step towards the ratification of the Protocols from the Turkish side, continuous attempts to link the ratification of the protocols with preconditions, provocative statements against Armenia and Armenians voiced by Ankara vividly attest that Turkey is not ready to ratify and implement the Protocols,” he concluded.
“Armenia played checkers. Turkey played chess,” said Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) Executive Director Aram Hamparian. “Yerevan pursued these reckless pro-Turkey accords over the common sense objections of the ANCA and nearly every civil society voice across the Armenian homeland and diaspora. We issued countless warnings, held endless meetings and even organized protests, setting forth clear evidence and compelling arguments against this one-sided deal. Turns out, we were right on every count. Lessons learned, the hard way,” Hamparian added.