Despite Everything, Turkey will Ratify Protocols, Say Turkish Journalists in Armenia

With the aim of meeting and holding discussions with their Armenian colleagues, two Turkish journalists — Verhat Boratav of CNN Turk and Badri Gyursel of Milliyet — arrived in Armenia recently and took the time to respond to Armenian journalists’ questions during a press conference today. Speaking about the ratification of the Armenian-Turkish Protocols, Gyursel noted that if progress in the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is not registered, Turkey’s Grand National Assembly (the Millet Meclisi) won’t ratify the Protocols.

At the same time, he noted that he can’t say how events will unfold over the next few months. “It was perhaps in May of this year that Turkey’s Prime Minister Erdogan announced in Baku that if no progress is recorded in the Karabakh issue, even though nothing is noted about this in the Protocols, they [the Protocols] can’t be ratified. From that time till today, Turkey’s standpoint on that issue hasn’t changed,” said the journalist from Turkey. Turkey is also concerned that after Protocols ratification, Armenia will “feel free” and there won’t be any progress in the Karabakh issue.

“I, personally, would rather that the Karabakh issue not get mixed up with this issue, but Turkey’s government, being under pressure, felt under obligation,” stated Gyursel. Asked what pressure is Turkey’s government being subjected to, the journalist said, “both foreign and internal.”

Boratav, in turn, noted that nobody in Turkey was expecting that Azerbaijan would respond in such a way to this issue: “In this game, it’s not Armenia and Turkey who are dancing the tango, but rather this is a tango of 5 states, since participating in the process are also the U.S, Russia, and Azerbaijan.”

By the end of the press conference, the Turkish journalists assured their Armenian colleagues that, despite everything, Turkey will ratify the Protocols, and a third party can do nothing about that, since “Turkey has decided it so.”

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