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Armenian Nationalists See 'Toughening' Of Yerevan's Turkey Policy

Hrant Markarian
Hrant Markarian
YEREVAN -- An Armenian opposition leader says the government has toughened its conciliatory policy with Turkey under pressure from his Armenian Revolutionary Federation Party (Dashnaktsutyun), RFE/RL's Armenian Service reports.

Hrant Markarian, the de facto head of Dashnaktsutyun's governing body, told RFE/RL that President Serzh Sarkisian had a hand in last month's ruling by the Armenian Constitutional Court on the Turkish-Armenian protocols that were signed in October.

Turkey has condemned the court's decision.

Markarian said, "Our struggle was the reason why the Constitutional Court made that decision. Serzh Sarkisian was [involved] in the making of that decision, and that is a cause for joy."

He added that it is "fair to say that there is some toughening of the [Sarkisian administration's] position on both the Nagorno-Karabakh issue and Turkish-Armenian relations."

The Constitutional Court upheld the legality of the protocols, but ruled that they do not oblige Armenia to solve the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict or prohibit Yerevan from campaigning for international recognition of the mass killings of Armenians in Ottoman Turkey nearly 100 years ago as genocide.

The Turkish government said the ruling runs counter to the letter and spirit of the protocols, which Armenian leaders deny.

Dashnaktsutyun's Markarian reiterated his party's call for parliament to ratify the protocols with corresponding "reservations."

But he said the party would not use street protests to pressure Sarkisian to step down if the National Assembly ignores its demand.