By Emil Danielyan
YEREVAN (RFE/RL) — Stronger US pressure on Turkey is essential for salvaging its fence-mending agreements with Armenia and the administration of President Barack Obama understands that, according to a US scholar who was actively involved in Turkish-Armenian reconciliation initiatives.
In an interview on Thursday, David Phillips also criticized Ankara’s linkage between the implementation of those agreements and a Nagorno-Karabagh settlement. He dismissed Turkish claims that a recent ruling by the Armenian Constitutional Court ran counter to key provisions of the Turkish-Armenian “protocols” signed in October.
Phillips, who coordinated the work of the US-sponsored Turkish-Ar-menian Recon-ciliation Commission (TARC) in 2001-2004, further said that Armenia should not rush to walk away from the deal. But he stressed that its ratification by the Turkish parliament cannot be “an open-ended process.”
“If these protocols fall apart and there is a diplomatic train wreck, it will have a serious adverse effect on US-Turkish relations,” he said. “And this comes at a time when the US is seeking Turkey’s cooperation on Iran, when Turkey is playing an increasingly important role in Afghanistan and during the wrap-up to redeployment from Iraq.
“The Obama administration knows full well that these protocols should go forward because it is in the interests of Turkey and Armenia. It is also in America’s interests to keep the process moving forward so that US-Turkish cooperation is in effect.”