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Armenian Opposition Criticizes President Over Turkey Policy

Armenian opposition leader Raffi Hovannisian said the president acted like "a good tactician," but that a good strategist would have avoided such a situation in the first place.
YEREVAN -- Armenia's opposition has renewed its criticism of President Serzh Sarkisian over the normalization process with Turkey, RFE/RL's Armenian Service reports.

The Armenian National Congress (HAK), the country's largest opposition alliance, said Sarkisian's decision on April 22 to freeze parliamentary ratification of the Turkish-Armenian protocols on normalizing relations exposed the "bankruptcy" of his foreign policy.

The HAK, led by former President Levon Ter-Petrossian, repeated claims that Sarkisian began the rapprochement to gain international legitimacy at the expense of broader international recognition of the Armenian genocide, but has failed to earn Armenia any real benefits.

"Contrary to its declared aims, the Turkish-Armenian reconciliation process has turned into a Turkish-Armenian confrontation process," it said.

Another major opposition force, the Zharangutiun (Heritage) party, was more nuanced in its reaction. Commenting on Sarkisian's latest decision, Zharangutiun leader Raffi Hovannisian said the president acted like "a good tactician in the existing situation."

"But a good strategist should not have allowed such a situation to arise in the first place," Hovannisian said at a press conference, reaffirming his party's strong opposition to the protocols.

Another opposition critic of the protocols, the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutiun), has yet to officially react to Sarkisian's move.

But Dashnaktsutiun's foreign-policy spokesman, Giro Manoyan, told RFE/RL on April 22 that the president should have gone further and scrapped the deal.