But parliamentary ratification of the deal has stalled in both countries over the contentious issue of World War I-era killings of Armenians in Ottoman Turkey, which Yerevan insists constituted genocide but Ankara staunchly denies. Another sticking point is Turkey’s support for Armenia’s foe Azerbaijan in their dispute over the Nagorno-Karabakh region.
“We are not prepared in any way to question the issue of the genocide or to pretend that Turkey may play any positive role in the negotiating process for resolving the Karabakh question,” Sarkisian said.
The deal has been snagged by disagreements over its terms, with both sides accusing each other of lacking true commitment to reconciliation.
Ankara is irked by a January ruling of Armenia’s constitutional court that cleared the deal but said it could not contradict Yerevan’s official line that Armenians were victims of genocide under the Ottoman Empire” a label Turkey fiercely rejects.
Yerevan, for its part, has protested that the Turkish Parliament seems unlikely to ratify the accord without progress in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan, a close Turkish ally.
The process has also been marred by resolutions adopted last month by a U.S. House of Representatives committee and the Swedish parliament that both branded the massacres of Armenians as genocide, infuriating Ankara.
Erdoğan was to meet U.S. President Barack Obama on Tuesday on the sidelines of the summit, just over a week after Turkey decided to return its ambassador to Washington after a row over the U.S. House vote.
Armenians say up to 1.5 million of their kin perished in deportations and orchestrated killings during World War I.
Turkey counters that 300,000 to 500,000 Armenians and at least as many Turks perished in civil strife when Armenians rose up against their Ottoman rulers and sided with Russian forces invading the crumbling empire.