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Armenian President Submits Protocols On Turkey Ties To Parliament


Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian (file photo)
Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian (file photo)
YEREVAN -- Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian has submitted to parliament protocols aimed at normalizing relations with Turkey, RFE/RL's Armenian Service reports.

The move came after Sarkisian's government approved amendments it says will make it easier for Yerevan to walk away from the deal, RFE/RL's Armenian Service reports.

The accords, signed in October, are aimed at overcoming a century of enmity stemming from the World War I-era mass killings of Armenians by Ottoman Turks.

They must be ratified by parliament in both countries to come into force.

Sarkisian said the amendments approved by the government would allow Armenia to withdraw its signature from the protocols if Ankara dragged out the process unnecessarily.

On February 11, Turkish President Abdullah Gul assured Sarkisian that Turkey remained committed to the agreements, but did not specify when it would ratify them.

Gul was responding to a letter sent by Sarkisian on February 9 in which he warned that failure to implement the protocols could roll back the "historic" rapprochement between the two countries.

On February 10, Sarkisian announced his intention to submit the protocols to parliament, but said Turkey's parliament must vote on them first before Armenia's parliament would approve them.

The protocols have been submitted to Turkey's parliament but they have not been discussed or placed on the assembly's agenda.

Turkey has said that progress between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region is necessary before the protocols would be approved.

Istanbul also cited a recent Armenian Constitutional Court ruling that invoked the term "genocide" as an obstacle to implementation.

Yerevan, in turn, has accused Turkey of seeking "artificial excuses" to avoid a normalization of bilateral ties.

Some Armenian officials and pro-government politicians have suggested that if Turkey doesn't endorse the protocols by the end of March, Armenia may annul the agreement.

The two protocols would establish bilateral diplomatic relations and open the Turkish-Armenian border.

with agency reports