Being one of the first countries to recognize the independence of Armenia on 16 December 1991, Turkey provided humanitarian assistance to this country which was facing serious economic difficulties and actively supported Armenia’s integration with regional and Western organizations. In this regard, Turkey invited Armenia to join the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC) as a founding member. However, favorable conditions to establish diplomatic relations with Armenia have not been materialized.
Upon the occupation of Azerbaijan’s Kelbecer province in 1993 by Armenia, the direct trade from Turkey to Armenia; highway/railway and airway connections were interrupted and the border between the two countries was closed.
Within the framework of our will to normalize relations with Armenia, and as a result of the process facilitated by Switzerland, “Protocol on the Establishment of Diplomatic Relations” and “Protocol on the Development of Bilateral Relations” were signed in Zurich on 10 October 2009. These two protocols provide a framework for the normalization of bilateral relations.
(Click to see Zurich Protocols)
The Protocols were then submitted to the Grand National Assembly of Turkey for approval. In Armenia, however, the Protocols were sent to the Constitutional Court in order to have their constitutionality to be approved. Although finding the Protocols in conformity with the Constitution of Armenia, the published grounds of the decision of the Constitutional Court had preconditions and restrictive provisions impairing the letter and spirit of the Protocols. The decision undermined the very reason for negotiating the Protocols as well as their fundamental objectives. Later on, through a Note sent to our Embassy in Tbilisi on 23 April 2010, the Armenian side informed that it suspended the ratification process of the Protocols. Subsequently, President Sargsyan recalled the Protocols from the Parliament of Armenia in February 2015.
Turkey maintains its willingness to normalize its relations with Armenia. Hence, the Protocols are still on the agenda of the Turkish Parliament.
Furthermore, in order to show our commitment to establish good neighborly relations with Armenia, Turkey introduced numerous unilateral confidence building measures to help restore confidence between Turkey and Armenia. However, a similar constructive approach was not seen from the Armenian side. Moreover, the Armenian authorities accelerated their defamation campaign against Turkey in 2015.
On the other hand, in the absence of any improvement in the Armenian-Azerbaijani relations, any progress to be achieved within the Turkish-Armenian normalization process alone would remain insufficient and would not be lasting and sustainable.