Armenia halts ratification of agreement with Turkey

Armenia halts ratification of agreement with Turkey

YEREVAN - The Associated Press
Armenia halts ratification of agreement with Turkey The Armenian president has said he has asked the country’s parliamentary speaker to withdraw his signature from a groundbreaking 2009 agreement with Turkey meant to restore ties between the two nations.

President Serzh Sargsyan said in a statement yesterday that Armenia would not ratify the agreement because of the “preconditions” that Turkey is putting in place before it ratifies its part of the deal.

The agreement aims to restore diplomatic ties between the countries as well as reopen the common border, which has been closed since 1993. It was brokered by the United States and other nations.

The move comes in a year that Armenia is remembering the mass killings of Armenians in the Ottoman era in 1915, 100 years ago.

The relations between the leaders of both countries is tense with recent remarks on the issue.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan called on Armenia Feb. 10 to examine the 1915 events through the lens of “science, not politics,” criticizing the rejection of Ankara’s invitation to representatives of the country to attend war commemoration ceremonies in Turkey.

In January, the Turkish president sent invitation letters to more than 100 leaders, including Sargsyan, to participate in ceremonies on April 24 marking the centenary of the Battle of Gallipoli in Çanakkale.

The ceremonies in Çanakkale were rearranged this year to coincide with Armenia’s traditional day of remembrance for the Armenian victims of 1915.

Sargsyan denounced Erdoğan’s invitation as a “short-sighted” attempt to overshadow the massacres of Ottoman Armenians.

“We would like them to come and be in Çanakkale on April 24, to breathe in that atmosphere and try to understand that happened among our hundreds of thousands of martyrs. But they won’t do that,” Erdoğan said.