Pres. Aliyev: April 24th a "Sword of Damocles" over the Turkey-Azerbaijan-Armenia Relations

November 28, 2010

WASHINGTON, DC – The public disclosure today by WikiLeaks of tens of thousands of US diplomatic cables included many of special interest to Armenian Americans, most notably a “smoking gun” revelation that Turkey has aggressively used the Turkey-Armenia Protocols, particularly the prospect of its ratification, to pressure American leaders against US recognition of the Armenian Genocide and in favor of a pro-Azerbaijani settlement of the Nagorno Karabagh conflict, reported the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA).

“These files are a smoking-gun,” explained ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian. “They reveal the remarkable candor with which Ankara has, from day one, sought to pressure the United States to enforce it preconditions for the Turkey-Armenia Protocols. It’s painfully clear from the words of Turkey’s own leaders that, rather than seeking peace, they instead sought to use the prospect of the ratification of these accords to block the Armenian Genocide recognition and to force a pro-Azerbaijani resolution of Nagorno Karabakh.”

In a February 25, 2010, confidential cable from the U.S. Embassy in Ankara, U.S. Ambassador to Turkey James Jeffery noted that Turkey had made it clear that its ratification of the Turkey-Armenia Protocols was predicated on Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev’s approval. Specifically, in describing a February 18, 2010, meeting between U.S. Under Secretary of State William Burns and Turkey’s Undersecretary of the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) Sinirlioglu, Jeffery writes:

“Sinirlioglu appealed for ‘simultaneity’ between Armenian Protocols ratification and the Minsk Process. He emphasized ‘a strong reaction’ against the protocols among ruling party MPs had to be overcome before the government would hazard a ratification effort. He warned Congressional passage of an Armenian genocide resolution would ‘complicate’ his government’s domestic political calculations regarding ratification. He said if something acceptable to Azerbaijani President Aliyev can found, then ‘we can move’ the protocols forward.”

Click here to read the complete cable.

In a January 20, 2010, confidential cable, Amb. Jeffery provided his analysis of Turkey’s foreign policy, citing concerns about Turkey’s “inability to bring to conclusion foreign policy initiatives,” specifically noting the Turkey-Armenia Protocols, and noting Foreign Minister Davutoglu’s “tendency to substitute rhetoric for long term investment of diplomatic, military, and assistance capital.” Amb. Jeffery went on to note that:

“Turkey will have to stand and be counted on Iran, in the Security Council, with MD, and in implementation of UN or US sanctions. This will have a profound effect on relations second only to the fate of the Armenian protocols over the next year.”

Read here to read the complete cable

Pres. Aliyev: Armenian Genocide Remembrance “Sword of Damocles” Over Turkey-Azerbaijan-Armenia relations

In a confidential cable from the U.S. Embassy in Baku, senior diplomat Donald Lu reported on a meeting between U.S. Under Secretary of State Burns and President Ilham Aliyev, in which the Azerbaijani leader advocated the combining of the Turkey-Armenia Protocols discussion and the Nagorno Karabakh peace negotiations. He also urged the postponement of any Protocols ratification until after April 24th, Armenian Genocide remembrance day, describing this date as a “Sword of Damocles” hanging over political initiatives in the region. Lu wrote:

“U/S Burns stressed that the U.S. believes that progress on the Turkey-Armenia protocols could create political space for Sargsian to be more flexible on NK. He continued that the reverse was also true, that a failure of the Turkey-Armenia process would almost certainly result in serious negative consequences for the NK process. Aliyev said that NK progress would require a minimum of five or six months. He suggested that the entire Turkey-Armenia protocol ratification process be delayed until afterApril 24. He said that the ‘Sword of Damocles’ of Armenian Remembrance Day is hanging unhelpfully not only over the Turkey-Armenia process, but also now the NK progress. ‘If there were no deadline, maybe we could see how to combine our efforts (to resolve NK).’”

According to the cable, President Aliyev urged Under Secretary Burns to pressure Armenia to accept the most recently proposed OSCE Minsk group settlement regarding Nagorno Karabakh, calling on the three co-chair countries to “send a strong message that the independence of NK is not under review,” and urging “consequences in terms of international isolation” if Armenia does not accept the measures.

Click here to read the complete cable

Concerns over Armenia-Iran relations

A cable citing the text of a letter from U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Negroponte to the Armenian Government expressed concern about the reported sale of weapons to Iran, stating “Notwithstanding the close relationship between our countries, neither the Administration nor the U.S. Congress can overlook this case.” The letter went on to note that there would be consideration “whether there is a basis for the imposition of U.S. sanctions.”

“What this cable, and all that has transpired since it was written in 2008, shows is that the U.S. government, having reviewed all the relevant facts, concluded that Yerevan did not merit sanctions – on assistance, on exports, or, for that matter, in any other area,” commented Hamparian.

Click here to read the complete cable


Additional Resources:

A complete listing of Wikileaks cables related to Armenia, released to date, may be viewed at:

A complete listing of Wikileaks cables relating to Turkey, released to date, may be viewed at:

A complete listing of Wikileaks cables related to Azerbaijan, released to date, may be viewed at:


For Immediate Release
Media Contact: Elizabeth S. Chouldjian
Email / Tel: (202) 775-1918 / (703) 585-8254 cell
Armenian National Committee of America
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