January 25, 2010
ACNIS DIRECTOR REFUTES TURKEY’S CRITICISM OF ARMENIA AS “DISINGENUOUS AND UNFAIR”
Yerevan—On January 25, 2010, the Turkish daily newspapers “Today’s Zaman” and the “Hurriyet Daily News & Economic Review” published the comments of Armenian Center for National and International Studies (ACNIS) Director Richard Giragosian in which he criticized the recent Turkish criticism of the January 12 ruling by the Armenian Constitutional Court. Giragosian dismissed the Turkish Foreign Ministry’s recent statement alleging that the Armenian Court’s “decision contains preconditions and restrictive provisions which impair the letter and spirit of the protocols.” The ACNIS director pointed out that the Turkish criticism of Armenia represented a dubious attempt by Turkey “to create a new political “pretext” to withdraw from the (Armenian–Turkish) protocols.
Excerpts of the two Turkish media articles follow:
January 25, 2010
Expert in Armenia says crisis exaggerated by Turkey
YONCA POYRAZ DOĞAN
An expert in Armenia has said the Armenian constitutional court’s decision to approve the Turkish-Armenian protocols was never in doubt and that it is an exaggerated crisis by the Turkish side. Richard Giragosian, director of the Yerevan-based Armenian Center for National and International Studies, told Today’s Zaman that the court’s ruling was more of a formality.
“According to the terms of the Armenian constitution, it was a necessary first step toward later ratification by the Armenian parliament. Moreover, the lack of independence of the Armenian court system also meant that the court was unlikely to go against the wishes of the Armenian government, which was determined to secure a positive assessment of the protocols,” he said.
Following the Armenian constitutional court’s decision on Jan. 12, which found the protocols signed in Oct. 10 of last year in Zurich in conformity with the constitution of Armenia, the Turkish side has been uneasy because of the court’s detailed reasoning for the decision.
The Turkish Foreign Ministry expressed its anxiety through a statement saying that “the decision contains preconditions and restrictive provisions which impair the letter and spirit of the protocols.”
Ankara is working on an assessment to be sent to Yerevan and third parties to emphasize that Armenia’s constitutional court violated international law by conditionally reaffirming the two countries’ protocols.
Asked about the particular issues of concern, the same source said that “each article” in the reasoned opinion runs against the spirit of the protocols but that the heart of the matter is the court’s reference to Armenia’s Declaration of Independence, which states, “The Republic of Armenia stands in support of the task of achieving international recognition of the 1915 Genocide in Ottoman Turkey and Western Armenia.”
“Unlike the claims of ‘preconditions’ made by the Turkish side, neither the court’s ruling nor its lengthy opinion makes any direct reference to the genocide whatsoever. And even the Turkish claims of references to Nagorno-Karabakh are not reflected in the wording of the ruling. I find the Turkish reaction not only disingenuous but unfair, as there was never any doubt over the Armenian side’s commitment to ensure a speedy and full passage of the protocols,” Giragosian said and added that Turkey might be looking to create a new political “pretext” to withdraw from the protocols.
The two protocols signed in Zurich do not specifically mention the massacres of 1915 but stipulate that the two sides agree to “implement a dialogue on the historical dimension with the aim to restore mutual confidence between the two nations, including an impartial scientific examination of the historical records and archives to define existing problems and formulate recommendations.”
Asked what will come next, Giragosian said the situation is not very promising.
“Turkey has so far only sought to enlarge this into an issue much more divisive than it should be,” he said. “Hopefully, both sides can recover and find a new way beyond this rather exaggerated crisis, but it now remains a test of Turkish political will much more than a challenge for the Armenian side.”
YONCA POYRAZ DOĞAN
January 24, 2010
Turkey-Armenia ’blame game’ risks shaky normalization process
ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
With the current deadlock triggered by an Armenian court ruling clouding the fate of the protocols on diplomatic relations between Turkey and Armenia, leaders of the two sides are pointing their fingers at each other.
Faced with a backlash from regional ally Azerbaijan and the opposition at home, Turkey has accused Armenia’s constitutional court of delivering a ruling that contradicts the already agreed-upon accords. Yerevan, in return, has warned of a breakdown in reconciliation efforts, casting doubt over the protocols that were the result of two years’ negotiations between the countries’ diplomats…
‘Turkish reaction unfair’
“I don’t find anything unusual or inappropriate in the court’s decision. Unlike the claims of ‘preconditions’ made by the Turkish side, neither the court’s ruling nor its lengthy opinion make any direct reference to the ‘genocide’ whatsoever and are not reflected in the wording of the ruling,” Richard Giragosian, director of the Armenian Center for National and International Studies, told the Daily News.
“I find the Turkish reaction not only disingenuous, but unfair as there was never any doubt over the Armenian side’s commitment to ensure a speedy passage of the protocols,” he added.
The Armenian court’s January 12 decision established that the protocols with Turkey conformed to the country’s constitution, but Article 5 of its reasoned decision stipulated that the deal must not contradict Paragraph 11 of the Declaration of Independence. This section angered Ankara as it states, “the Republic of Armenia stands in support of the task of achieving international recognition of the 1915 genocide in Ottoman Turkey and western Armenia.”
According to Giragosian, withdrawing the protocols would be a serious setback. “The repudiation of all obligations and expectations that are now squarely on the Turkish side is surely not any kind of graceful exit strategy,” he said.
“The crisis seems to be getting worse, as Turkey has so far only sought to enlarge this into an issue much more divisive than it should be. As this process has already stalled and slowed down significantly, I am increasingly worried that Turkey may have derailed the entire effort on its accord,” Giragosian added. “Hopefully, both sides can recover and find a new way beyond this rather exaggerated crisis, but it remains a test of Turkish political will much more than a challenge for the Armenian side.”
The Armenian Center for National and International Studies (ACNIS) is a leading independent strategic research center located in Yerevan, Armenia. As an independent, objective institution committed to conducting professional policy research and analysis, ACNIS strives to raise the level of public debate and seeks to broaden public engagement in the public policy process, as well as fostering greater and more inclusive public knowledge. Founded in 1994, ACNIS is the institutional initiative of Raffi K. Hovannisian, Armenia’s first Minister of Foreign Affairs. Over the past fifteen years, ACNIS has acquired a prominent reputation as a primary source of professional independent research and analysis covering a wide range of national and international policy issues.
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