02 April 2006

559) Hovannisian: Armenia is Less Democratic Than Turkey

Richard Hovannisian, a renowned U.S. academic of Armenian descent, named Armenia a “failed state”, Armenian press reported.

Richard Hovannisian, a senior professor of Armenian and Near Eastern History at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), claimed that domestic policies pursued by the administration of President Robert Kocharian have alienated a large part of the country’s population and the influential Armenian community in the United States...
“Watching from the outside, we follow with pain the continuing electoral and other illegalities committed in Armenia,” he told RFE/RL in an interview.

“We would have loved to see freedom of speech and thought in Armenia, instead of repression, secret police persecution and lies spread by state media” Prof. Dr. Richard Hovannisian added.

Hovannisian, who is arguably the most famous of Armenian-American historians, believes that Armenia is now less democratic state than Turkey.

Richard Hovannisian argued that Turkish press is freer than the press in Armenia.

According to Ruzanna Stepanian from Armenia Liberty "The remark is extraordinary for a scholar who has spent several decades researching the 1915 Armenian genocide in the Ottoman Empire and campaigning for its recognition by modern-day Turkey and the international community."

Hovannisian serves on the board of directors of nine scholarly and civic organizations, including the International Institute on the Holocaust and Genocide and the Washington-based Armenian National Institute. He also became in 1990 the first foreign social scientist to be elected a member of Armenia’s National Academy of Sciences.

“We must not become a failed state. If this state also fails, we will have no future,” he added.

“As long as our rulers fail to realize that they are not on the right track, that they must accept the people’s will, that they must allow political freedoms, I won’t be able to say that there will be positive change in this country.”

Similarly Assoc. Prof. Dr. Sedat Laciner, director of Ankara-based USAK, shares the idea of "failed state":

"Armenians failed to preserve their first independent Armenia. They sacrificed it for the so-called revenge. If they seek to survive as a state, they should have good relations with the neigbours. That's the first and foremost thing they have to realise. They relied on the Russians, British, French and Americans. Time passed and all of them went to their homes. And the Armenians with the Turks shared the same fate. Now the Armenians should not sacrifice their independent state. They need Turkey, if they want an independent Armenia. Otherwise, Armenia will be a tool in other nations' national interests."

JTW
2 April 2006

'Armenia: A Failed State'
http://www.turkishweekly.net/news.php?id=29133

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