Armenia Suspends Protocol Ratification Process

FlagsWell, President Serge Sarkisian did it–he suspended the Turkish-Armenian protocol ratification process indefinitely. He pointed out the fact during his televised speech last night that Ankara is simply not ready to devote to ratifying the protocols and forming constructive relations with Armenia.

It makes no sense for Yerevan to continue talking about ratification any longer. However, he was smart to announce that Armenia remains committed to “normalization” and will not withdraw its signature from the protocols, much to the chagrin of some of the opposition parties (one of which several weeks ago conceded that it would indeed go along with the ratification of the protocols assuming Turkey ratified them first–I won’t name which party because it should be obvious).

And what is strange is that the US and France praised him for it. Philip Gordon,  US Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs, today said “We applaud President Sargsyan’s decision to continue to work towards a vision of peace, stability, and reconciliation.”

This obviously means that the US and France–and probably Russia, no word yet about what Moscow thinks–are also not happy with how Turkey has been behaving since the protocols were signed last October, by insisting that ratifying the protocols/opening the border be contingent upon a Nagorno-Karabakh peace settlement in Azerbaijan’s favor. They are also undoubtedly fed up with Turkey causing a scandal every time an international lawmaking body decides to recognize the Armenian Genocide.

The Obama administration has spent a lot of time on the protocols and making sure they not only get signed but are ratified without preconditions from either side. President Obama met with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan for nearly an hour during the arms conference last week and also spoke with President Sarkisian separately, discussing rapprochement between Turkey and Armenia during some of that time. I am sure Erdogan mentioned that he didn’t want President Obama to use the “G-word” on April 24, but no one can say whether the president outright promised he wouldn’t.

Anyway, the point is that Turkey has placed both President Obana and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in a “jack-ass’s place” as the Armenian saying goes. They undoubtedly are not pleased with Ankara’s adamant stance about having a Karabagh peace deal signed first and willingness to compromise, and despite Secretary Clinton’s previous comments that the most recent Armenian Genocide resolution will not make it to the House floor, President Obama may be peeved enough to use the “G-word” as I and millions of other Armenians round the world are hoping for in his April 24 address. The Turks are not going to close the Incirlik air base because they simply can’t defy the US, and fears that Turkey will pull out of contracts to buy new F-35 fighter planes from the US are also unfounded since too much has been invested in the development program by Turkey. The Turks are not about to renege, and they need to buy their Patriot missiles and helicopters from somewhere. In 2009 Turkey bought $7 billion worth of military equipment from the US, and they will likely spend that much this year.

Quite honestly, I will be surprised if President Obama doesn’t use the “G-word” on the 24th. In previous years it was understandable–wars were being raged with Turkey’s support, the Turkish lobby has always been strong, Turkey has always been a valuable NATO ally, and so forth. Now, in light of recent events there doesn’t appear to be any excuse. This year, Turkey had the golden chance to reconcile with Armenia, fully supported by US, Europe and even countries in Asia like Japan, and Ankara blew it. Not one country can say that Armenia is at fault. And Turkey finally has to understand that it must face up to its own history, not to mention play ball with Armenia.

By late tomorrow evening Yerevan time the current official US position on the Genocide issue will be clear. Let’s hope it is pro-Armenian for a change.

1 thought on “Armenia Suspends Protocol Ratification Process

  1. Well, President Obama didn’t use the “G” word this year either. I guess the blood between the U.S. and Turkey is indeed thicker than water.

    Sadly, Washington cannot let go of Ankara’s “on again, off again” allegiance to the West and NATO.

    And let’s not forget that whatever Obama says or doesn’t say, the West, particulalry the military-industrial complex in the US, will never condone the return of western Armenia to Armenia.

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