This file photo shows Turkish President Gül (R) with his Armenian counterpart,
Sargsyan, during the latter’s visit to Turkey in a failed bid to mend ties. AA photo
A note of congratulations sent by President Abdullah Gül to his Armenian counterpart, Serzh Sargsyan, over his successful re-election has angered a number of Azeri parties.
“This hurt us. But it should not be exaggerated. International organizations are keeping silence over the presidential elections in Armenia. Armenia’s population is less than 2 million, but 2,500,000 people have been registered,” Parliamentary Speaker Ogtay Asadov said Feb. 22 during a debate in Parliament.
Gül sent a message of congratulations to Sargsyan after he was re-elected to a second five-year mandate.
The deputy executive secretary of the New Azerbaijan
Party, Mubariz Gurbanli, also said Gül’s note of felicitations was unacceptable.
“We didn’t expect this. Therefore, we have expressed such an attitude,” Azeri news agency APA quoted him as saying.
Another lawmaker, Fazil Mustafa, said that although the Turkish president’s immediate message raised concerns, it was not a reason to transform the matter into a bigger issue.
Musavat Party Central Executive Board member Arif Hajili also criticized Gül. “Turkish President Abdullah Gül’s sending of congratulations before the official announcement of the results is the wrong step. This is the continuation of Turkey’s zero-problem policy with the neighboring states. But actually this policy failed. With this policy, Turkey’s relations with most of the states in the region have become tense.
Moreover, the Turkish president’s congratulations to Sargsyan contradict the interests of Azerbaijan. At a time when the international community is expressing views that an illegitimate government exists in Armenia, the Turkish government sealed the legitimacy of the Armenian leadership. This is wrong and causes regret,” he said.
The chairman of the United Azerbaijan
Popular Front Party, Gudrat Hasanguliyev, also expressed his regret at Gül’s act.
“If someone thinks that Armenia and Armenians will give up the so-called genocide and territorial claims thanks to these steps, they are mistaken,” Hasanguliyev said, adding that phone calls, congratulations and other steps would not achieve results just like what he declared to be the failed “football diplomacy” of 2008 and 2009, the Zurich protocols and work and residence permits for illegal Armenian migrants in Turkey.