RA First President Levon Ter-Petrosyan gave an interview to the “Moskovskie Novosti” newspaper ahead of the meeting in Kazan.
Before touching upon the current stage of the NK conflict, Levon Ter-Petrosyan presented in detail the core of the Karabakh conflict and touched upon the circumstances that made Karabakh and Nakhichevan part of Azerbaijan.
“Any president of Armenia, regardless of how he may be called, will be compelled to strengthen ties with Turkey,” said the newspaper correspondent, asking “what Serzh Sargsyan did wrong in the normalization of relations with Turkey”.
In response, Ter-Petrosyan said Serzh Sargsyan did everything right. “This issue needs to stay on the agenda because Armenia has no perspectives for development without normalization of Armenian-Turkish relations and an open border.”
Ter-Petrosyan also mentioned that Armenia wanted to come to terms with Turkey in 1992, but the battles in Kelbajar impeded that process. “Whether Armenia likes it or not, the Turks won’t normalize relations as long as the Karabakh conflict remains unresolved. The border will open as soon as the Karabakh conflict is settled, and that is the end of discussion.”
How can the conflict be resolved? In response, Ter-Petrosyan said he didn’t link the two issues together. “The Karabakh conflict exists regardless of Turkey’s will and desire.” The First President said there was no moment when Armenian diplomats managed to set these two issues aside and added that that only happened before Kelbajar.
“We were trying to prove to the Turks that those two issues shouldn’t be linked, and I think that would be right for Turkey. Turkey committed an error and hurt Azerbaijan, instead of helping the latter. The Turks instilled in the Azeri that Turkey was their ally and was standing by their side, but the Azeri will continue to not cede in terms of the Karabakh conflict. That led to the second war when Azerbaijan lost 5 regions. Turkey was to blame for that because it wasn’t able to persuade the Azeri to make concessions. They had to make less concessions back then. There are also Turkish political figures that accept that that was an error,” mentioned Ter-Petrosyan.
The RA First President said much has been lost in the past 13 years. “It is very difficult to achieve what we could have achieved back then. The only thing that is different from the previous plan is the referendum for Nagorno-Karabakh’s status. However, that has not been confirmed. They are talking about expression of will or a survey, but there is nothing said about the consequences of that referendum in terms of the law. The development shows that things are worse now. Unfortunately, any decision will be worse than a decision taken back then.”
Speaking about the restart of military operations, Ter-Petrosyan said: “The West is not making any effort to resolve the conflict because Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran, North Korea and other countries come first. No matter how rich that country is, its resources are limited. This creates the opportunity for Russia to play a more active role, and it has been doing so through meetings between the presidents, statements and trilateral declarations. Russia is taking the initiative and has that opportunity. I am certain that the West won’t be against that, if the conflicting sides come to terms on that. There is an opportunity for success. If this process doesn’t succeed, a war is likely to break out because Azerbaijan won’t take it anymore. Armenia will never wage a war no matter who the president is. Azerbaijan will be the only one to wage a war, and what is most dangerous is that nobody can hold Azerbaijan back.”