Turkish Policies ‘Cause of Sarkisian’s UN Remarks’

pokesman for the President of Nagorno-Karabakh, David Babayan

Turkey’s behavior and policies are what led to President Serzh Sarkisian’s strong-worded statement at the UN General Assembly’s recent session, a spokesperson for the Nagorno-Karabakh president has said, commenting on Sarkisian’s remark on the Armenia-Turkey protocols.

“Over the past years, Turkey hasn’t made any steps towards normalizing relations [with Armenia]. Not only does it fail to acknowledge the Armenian Genocide but also takes every possible measure to combat Genocide recognition efforts. This is viewed as a continuation of the Genocide,” David Babayan told Tert.am.

In his speech at the General Assembly’s 69th session in New York, the Armenian leader strongly criticized Turkey for the stall in the normalization process. He said that such policies have caused official Yerevan to rethink its plans and consider the recall of the documents. “Armenia has never conditioned the normalization of bilateral relations with Turkey by recognition of the Armenian Genocide. In fact, Armenia was the party that initiated such a process which culminated in the signing of the Zurich Protocols in 2009. However, those Protocols have been shelved for years now awaiting ratification in the Turkish Parliament. Ankara declares publicly that it will ratify those Protocols only if Armenians cede Nagorno-Karabakh, the free Artsakh, to Azerbaijan. In Armenia and Artsakh ordinary people often simply retort to such preconditions: ‘To hell with you ratification.’ This vernacular phrase epitomizes the age-old struggle of the entire nation, and it unequivocally explains to those who attempt to bargain the others’ homeland that the motherland is sacrosanct, and they had better stay away from us with their bargain. It is in these circumstances that currently, official Yerevan is seriously considering the issue of recalling the Armenian-Turkish Protocols from parliament,” Sarkisian said.

Describing Turkish policies on Nagorno-Karabakh as extremely non-constructive, Babayan said he sees that the country is attempting to link the issue with the Armenian Genocide.

“When Turkish Prime Minister [Ahmet] Davutoglu declares that Turkey has two key questions – the Armenian issue and Cyprus – what else are we supposed to expect in such a situation? So the need to revise the protocols is gaining urgency,” he noted.

Addressing the president’s remark on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict settlement issue and Azerbaijan’s position on the process, Babayan said their authorities too, have repeatedly stated in that connection that Azerbaijan is a fascist state propagating Armenophobia and fascism. He said that such a country poses a threat to any normal and civilized state.

“When, for example, the plane flying over Ukraine exploded, the whole world was committed to take action, and the probe into the incident continues to date. Whereas Azerbaijan declares on a state level that it will shoot down a plane in case the airport in Stepanakert is launched. And the menacing statement won’t receive any reaction by the international community. The aggressor naturally benefits from that, continuing its non-constructive and abnormal behavior. If instead the international community resorts to timely corresponding steps and rhetoric, lots of things will not probably happen,” Babayan said, referring to the recent border incidents and subversive acts.

Babayan said he finds force and punishment to be the only means capable of restraining an aggressor.

“This is the problem, so we here have to agree with all the points highlighted by the president,” he added.

As for Serzh Sarkisian’s remark on the OSCE Minsk Group mission’s work, Babayan said he knows that it is the only specialized organization that has been dealing with the conflict settlement process for two decades, having a mandate by the international community. “The procrastination in the conflict settlement process is through no fault of the OSCE Minsk Group. They are probably trying to equally react to different processes. They have simply found themselves in situation that makes them deal with an unhealthy state like Azerbaijan, so they do not want to irritate it,” he noted.

Babayan said he doesn’t think that the Minsk Group is able to do anything in the present circumstances. Neither did he agree that a replacement of mediators or a change in the negotiating mission’s format can foster peace or in any other way contribute to the conflict settlement process.

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