Ankara Calls Armenians ‘Incoherent’ for Rejecting Protocols

Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Tanju Bilgiç

ANKARA—Turkey’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Tanju Bilgiç told reporters Tuesday that Ankara remains committed to the protocols signed between Turkey and Armenia purportedly aiming to normalize bilateral relations, after Yerevan recently withdrew the 2008 protocols from parliament, Hurriyet Daily News reports.

Bilgiç told reporters yesterday that Yerevan has decided to withdraw the Protocol on Establishing of Diplomatic Relations and the Protocol on Developing Relations in order “to create a reason to accuse Turkey” ahead of the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide.

The Armenian government, and a majority of Armenians around the world, regarded the protocols as unfair and a diplomatic ploy by Turkey, due to the myriad conditions and concessions it demands of Armenia.

Meanwhile, the Turkish parliament itself has not ratified either of the agreements.

Bilgiç, however, called Armenians “incoherent and insincere” because of the move, adding that “Turkey will remain loyal to regional normalization process which is the fundamental goal of the protocols.”

On Feb. 16, Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian announced that he has asked the country’s parliamentary speaker to withdraw his signature from the protocols.

Sarkisian said in a statement that Armenia would not ratify the agreement because of the “preconditions” that Turkey is putting in place before it ratifies its side of the deal.

The agreement aimed to restore diplomatic ties between the countries as well as reopen the common border, which Turkey closed in 1993.

Turkey holds off weapons deal for April 24
Authorities said Turkey will postpone the selection a winner for a controversial, multibillion dollar contract for the construction of an anti-missile defense system until after April 24, the Hurriyet Daily News reported, quoting senior officials.

A senior diplomat confirmed that Ankara first wants to see the U.S. and French positions on the Armenian Genocide before awarding a sizeable contract “to a bidder potentially from one of these countries.”

“We have agreed with the government leaders not to rush to a decision any time soon,” one defense procurement official said. “A decision before April 24 is out of the question.”

“How these countries observe the centennial of the events will be an important input for our final decision,” he said.

After Ankara selected a Chinese company in September 2013 to build the air defense architecture and came under heavy pressure from its Western allies for the decision, it also opened parallel negotiations this summer with a European contender in the multibillion dollar competition.

A defense industry source said he expected tough rivalry between French and U.S. contenders in the second half of 2015. “Both of them are surely aware that how their governments tackle the centennial will be critical for success or failure,” he said.

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