- Armenian Pragmatism, Hakob Badalyan
- Coming Russian Defeat in the Caucasus, David Boyajian
- Price Of Rapprochement, Artsakhtert, Nagorno-Karabakh Republic Has Already Paid It
- ANCA to State Department: Back Off! / ANCA's mobilization calls, / To paralyse protocols! / SSAya
- Typical paradox of Morgenthau:
a- Publish a "damning" book in 1918 on Turkey, but
b- Mention no “harming word” in the 1922 Relief Report about Turkey!
- AntiTurkey: “The Morgenthau Story”
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- Kotchikian: Turkish-Armenian Protocols and 'Public' (Dis)Content
- Turkish-Armenian Protocols: Reality And Irrationality, David Davidian
- Thousands Rally Against Protocols; Protesters Await Pres. Sargsyan in L.A., Harut Sassounian
- Albert Nalchatchyan: “We Must Stay Away From Turks As Much As Possible”
- Marineh Petrosyan: Will Beatings Finally Awaken Diaspora to Truth About Sargsyan?
- Armenia Will Lose If Reconciliation Is Prevented, Semih Idiz
- Ömer Engin Lütem: Diaspora And The Protocols
- Fatma Disli Zibak TodaysZaman: Challenging Term Begins For Parliament
- Armenians’ Supreme Spiritual Leader, Council of Holy Etchmiadzin, Supremely Suppressed?, Appo Jabarian
Yes, genocide, yes, national emotions, yes, historical homeland, yes, Hay Dat but Armenia has to develop and we have to think about development and integration in the world. This is the answer that the government or its supporters give to the opponents of the present content of the normalization of the Armenian-Turkish relations. Here, in other words, by saying process of the normalization of the Armenian and Turkish relations we have to stress the word “current”. It is important. It is important from the point that the government and its supporters when answering their opponents they want to create the impression as if no one else except them understands that the border is better to be open than closed, or having good neighborly relations with your neighbor is better that to be in hostility, or that the issues of the past must not cover with an emotional haze the pragmatic calculation of the future.
To underline the current process is important because the government and its supporters opposing the arguments of the opponents of the current content of the Armenian and Turkish relations want to create the impression that those opponents in general are against the normalization of the Armenian and Turkish relations. Perhaps, any rational man cannot be against that process. Of course it must not be made the measurement of rationality and what is said should be perceived as an attempt of joke of words but the question is not in the process in general but in the current process.
Yes, economic development, yes, global integration, yes, exit to Europe, yes, regional integration but why to do all this weakening the strategical factors of the Armenian state. Why to be divested from such a powerful geopolitical instrument as the Hay Dat. Having this instrument does not mean that we have to put it in front of Turkey right now. Moreover, no one reminds Turkey about it, no one demands from it first to recognize the genocide then to give back our lands and only after to open the border. And which is the reason why the Armenians who do not demand anything who assumed the role of the leadership of Armenia as well as the role of the defender of its policy present the demand to the Armenian people to recognize the Turkish border. In other words, the result of the genocide, they demand from the Armenian people to agree with the commission of historians which is going to study the historical archives and communicating with Turkey the Armenian people, no one knows why, have to respect “the territorial integrity and immunity of a third country”. Surprisingly, those people who are against imposing any demand to the Turkish people considering them as emotionality and romantics very calmly impose demands to the Armenian people and consider it a bright example of their pragmatism.
The question is about interstate relations, the question is about regional as well as global competition. The country has to be too attentive to its smallest action. The same, the opening of the Armenian and Turkish border will not enable Armenia to develop more than Turkey, Azerbaijan, or Georgia with its success as a transition country and with its American support. It is all the same, Armenia will continue being economically developed the last country of the region because the secret of development is not Armenia’s economical success but content of values. Armenia’s card is to become a country based on modern values and on this way, the Armenian and Turkish border is not an obstacle. Open border will not enhance country’s reserves or will not replace them even in case of economic growth because only the personal reserves of oligarchs are going to be enhanced from which perhaps the population will be donated a little. That is all. The political instruments of the republic will not increase and with the help of the Armenian and Turkish protocols, they are decreasing.
Hakob Badalyan, 01/10/2009,
Coming Russian Defeat in the Caucasus, David Boyajian
Russia will be well along the road to total defeat by the US and NATO in the Caucasus and beyond if the recently proposed Armenian - Turkish “Protocols” are ratified.
Within two months after ratification, Turkey would be required to open its border with Armenia. Subsequently, or perhaps simultaneously, the Azerbaijani - Armenian border will open if, as appears increasingly possible, an Artsakh (Karabagh) peace agreement is signed.
Regardless of whether the Azeri border opens, a fully open Turkish - Armenian border would inevitably result in US and NATO penetration and subjugation of Armenia.
Let us look at US and Russian policy in the Caucasus, both past and present.
The West’s Goal: Domination
For two decades, the West, as well as Israel, has dreamt of dominating the Caucasus, which is the gateway from Europe and Turkey into the oil and gas-rich Caspian Sea region. To do so required ripping the Caucasus’ three ex-Soviet countries - Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia - from the Russian bear’s claws.
The US and NATO have largely succeeded in doing so. The West has already built two major gas and oil pipelines – BTE and BTC – from Azerbaijan’s Caspian coast, through Georgia and Turkey. The US insists that all pipelines bypass Russia and Iran.
Though Georgia and Azerbaijan are under continual Russian pressure, both are NATO candidates and have aligned themselves with the US.
That left Armenia, perhaps Russia’s only real ally in the world, as the sole obstacle to total American domination of the western land route into the Caspian.
By coaxing Turkey to open its border, Washington is now trying to lure Armenia away from Russia and into the infinitely richer and more modern, attractive, and democratic Western/NATO bloc.
Wealthier, stronger, and about thirty times larger and more populous than its small, besieged eastern neighbor, Turkey has been picked for the lead role in the West’s seduction of Armenia.
Armenia’s Importance to US Strategy
Until last year’s Georgian - Russian war, the US had been silently pleased with Turkey’s blockade of Armenia. Washington hoped the blockade, imposed mostly due to the Artsakh war, would create economic pressure on Armenians to resolve that conflict.
Note that only an Artsakh peace agreement could fully pry open the Azeri-Armenian-Turkish corridor that NATO and Washington craved. [See the author’s “Why Artsakh Matters to the West and Russia” on Armeniapedia.org.]
But the war in Georgia cast doubt on that country’s ability to continue hosting western-bound pipelines.
For the US, the only alternative to unstable Georgia is Armenia. This explains why Washington has been dramatically stepping up pressure - and the “Protocols” are part of that pressure - on Turkey, Armenia, and Azerbaijan to resolve their differences and thereby create a new American path into the Caspian. How does Russia feel about Armenia’s border issues?
Russia’s Fatal Mistakes The Kremlin had long been silently pleased with the closed Turkish - Armenian border and the Artsakh stalemate. After all, these prevented the US from penetrating Armenia and dominating all three Caucasus countries.
Now, however, confidential and other sources indicate that Moscow favors both the Turkish-Armenian “Protocols” and an Artsakh peace agreement.
Russia reportedly hopes that trade across the Turkish – Armenian border would enable it to profit from its ownership of Armenian industry, particularly electricity production and transportation.
However, given Armenia’s small economy and size, the extra revenue for Russia would not be considerable.
The Kremlin is also reportedly worried that a new Russian - Georgian war would hurt Armenia’s economy since most Armenian imports/exports must now go through Georgia.
Thus, Russia allegedly hopes that an open Turkish - Armenian border would give its Armenia ally an alternative import/export route in case of a war. Yet, given its alliance with Georgia, Turkey might well close its border with Armenia in such an eventuality. Conversely, were the Turkish-Armenia-Azeri corridor to remain open, this would partly defeat the very purpose of a Russian attack on Georgia.
Moscow and Ankara have developed significant economic and political relations in recent years. And Russia supplies most of Turkey’s natural gas. Thus, the Kremlin apparently believes that it can dictate to Ankara. The Kremlin is wrong. Regardless of how friendly it becomes with Russia, Turkey will stay within NATO, its only protection against its historic, nuclear-armed Russian enemy.
Moreover, Turkey - and Georgia, which also depends on Russian gas - will eventually develop alternative energy sources and no longer be vulnerable to Russia pressure. In the meantime, Russia will lose Armenia to the West.
Russia is also trying to buy up future production from Azerbaijan’s oil and gas fields in hopes that, in so doing, the West will lose interest in Azerbaijan. In return, Russia is apparently pressuring Armenia to, in effect, hand Artsakh to Azerbaijan.
This is a grave error. Historically, Azeris have betrayed Russia, as happened in WW I when they sided with Turkey, and will do so again. In the meantime, Armenian anger at Russia for selling out Artsakh, combined with the lure of Western wealth, will permanently drive Armenia away from Russia. Only a true Russian alliance with, not economic and military bullying of, Armenia, will keep Armenia as a friend. Armenia’s fear of Turkey is not enough.
Russian Policy Blunders
Russia has a long history of disastrous policies. In the space of 75 years, Russia lost two empires – Czarist and Soviet - and the Cold War. Russia allowed false prophets - Bolsheviks - to impose the inefficient and inhumane political and economic system of Communism upon it. Russians let a deranged Georgian, Josef Stalin, maim and murder countless millions of them. Even today, most of Russia’s wealth comes not from human productivity but courtesy of Mother Nature: oil and gas.
Recent Kremlin policy has been deeply influenced by Aleksandr Dugin, an extreme nationalist ideologue. His political philosophy, Neo-Eurasianism, advocates a Russian led alliance of Asian and Slavic countries. Like most Russian analysts, Dugin saw Armenia as a barrier against Turkey, Russia’s historic enemy. Dugin then changed his mind. He now thinks that Turkey is a Russian ally. This is a clear sign of Neo-Eurasianism’s immaturity.
The Kremlin - this time with Medvedev and Putin at the helm - is once again listening to false prophets. Turkey’s arm can indeed be twisted, but not broken, by Russia. Moreover, Turkey is tougher than Russia. During the Cold War, genocidal Turkey would have annihilated Russia had it, rather than the Soviets, possessed nuclear weapons.
While Turks make Russians think they’ve become friends, Russians foolishly throw their only ally, Armenia, to the Turkish wolf. Russia will lose Armenia but will not win Turkey over. Pan-Turkism will continue, pushed by the West for its own purposes.
Moreover, as I noted two years ago, once NATO enters the Caucasus, it “could then jump across the Caspian Sea and march straight into Muslim Central Asia, posing a possibly mortal threat to Russia.”
Reject the Dangerous Protocols
Armenians must openly reject the “Protocols.” Besides abrogating long-standing Armenian rights vis-àvis its genocidal neighbor, they are a formula for Turkish hegemony over Armenia.
If the Turkish - Armenian border is to open, it must be in a way that does not permit Turks to infiltrate, buy up, Ottomanize, and eventually control Armenia.
Armenians must now publicly and bluntly emphasize to their Russian ally that the “Protocols” will result in Russia’s being surrounded by NATO and ultimately, along with Armenia, destroyed.
The author is an Armenian American freelance writer
Price Of Rapprochement,Artsakhtert, 01-10-2009, The Nagorno-Karabakh Republic Has Already Paid It
The last day of the summer, we can say, quite abruptly has changed the internal political life of Armenia. Under the mediation of Switzerland, initialed protocols on August 31 about the establishing diplomatic relations between Armenia and Turkey and about the development of bilateral relations, in fact, marked a new stage in Armenian-Turkish dialogue, and had a significant influence on political processes in both countries. It should be noted that in Armenia the public debate on this topic began even before the promulgation of the Protocols, and the beginning of it was established by the so-called "football diplomacy". However, the protocols gave discussion more active nature, and the official consultations on the level of political parties began just over a week ago, when on this purpose took place the meeting of President Serzh Sargsyan with the leaders of political forces . Well, the reaction of the Armenian society on the prospects of the normalization of Armenian-Turkish relations was initially controversial, which most visibly manifested during the discussions of the mentioned documents, which played the role of unique litmus paper. Of course, a positive public debate in itself is doubtless and consists in the very possibility of the public discussion of the questions, which have general national value. It is understandable: the collision of different and even polar positions and opinions makes it possible to work out, if not unified, then, at least, optimum approach to solving such a complicated problem, which is the normalization of Armenian- Turkish relations. It is clear that the process of normalization of relations between Yerevan and Ankara -albeit complex, ambiguous - certainly contains a positive impulse because it must be admitted that in the XXI century, when the world wide development are integration processes and closed borders - is nonsense and even anachronistic. However, we must also recognize that this process is, at least for the Armenian part, has both pluses and minuses. Therefore, the nd expert circles are evaluated positively then in the estimations of protocols themselves, one of the main principles of which consists in agreement of both countries to open Armenian- Turkish border, there is no similar unanimity. Taking into account the fact that the enemies of the initialed protocols are from this and that parts as well as inconsistency in words and actions of representatives of the Turkish leadership, with a high degree of probability we can assert that before the singing of the most important international documents by Armenia and Turkey is not close yet.
Last but not least, if not most, in the context of Armenian-Turkish rapprochement, the Armenian public is interested in the process of Karabakh settlement. As you know, in the Protocols two processes are divorced. However, it is known that political and social circles of Turkey are dissatisfied that the authorities finally have agreed to make the scope "of the Swiss protocols" problem of Nagorno-Karabakh. However, regardless of the dissatisfaction of the Turkish establishment, the absence of documents of the Karabakhian linking does not mean that Turkey and its satellite Azerbaijan actually have refused the idea to connect resolution of conflict with the opening of the Armenian-Turkish border. Which the Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan confirms fairly often, constantly asserting the impossibility of opening of the border without the withdrawal of the Karabakh forces from the territories, which is under their control. In order to clarify the understanding of the topic, the NKR authorities clearly and explicitly put forward its position. It consists in the fact that in the process of normalization of bilateral relations between Armenia and Turkey the presence of the factor of third part -Azerbaijan is unacceptable. In other words, the Karabakhian part is for the normalization of these relations, but not to the prejudice of the interests of the NKR. In a definite sense, negative, skeptical attitude of the population of the NKR to the possibility of the opening of the border is explained precisely by the undisguised intention of Turkey and Azerbaijan to resolve their problems at the expense of Nagorno-Karabakh. At the basis of this attitude lies the historical experience of the Karabakhian people, rightly considering tandem Turkey-Azerbaijan as the serious factor of threat to its existence. It is not worth forgetting, that the Karabakh problem is derivative, and is a result of the Genocide of Armenians in 1915-23. There are no convincing reasons to assume that both these Turkish genocidal states abandoned its expa of seizing Artsakh and its destruction as the Armenian public education. Tactically, they can also, blezira sake, demonstrate to the world readiness for the specific compromises, but here strategically their purposes have hardly been undergone any changes. The Nagorno-Karabakh Republic as an independent factor in the region proceeds from the interests of its national security and is ready to discuss entire spectrum of Karabakhian problems on equal terms. It stands for the stability and the establishment of good neighborly relations in the region, but not at any price. Its price for peace, moreover high enough, the NKR has already paid.
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"Ken Hachikian / ANCA" update 28/09/2009 : What are you doing about it?
Dear ANCA activist,
Armenia's under pressure from all sides.
You've heard about the dangers. And I know you want to do something to help.
That's why I'm inviting you today to send a secure online donation to empower the ANCA to fight back against all the forces hell-bent on driving Armenia right off a cliff.
Here's the situation in a nutshell:
* On one side, Turkey and its allies are using illegal blockades to force Armenia to accept "Protocols" that threaten the future of Armenia, cast doubt on the Genocide, and surrender the rights of all Armenians.
* On the other, Azerbaijan and the oil industry are pressuring Armenia to accept the "Madrid" principles, giving away hundreds of square miles of Armenian land in return for a possible decision on Karabagh's status - at some point - in the future.
These dangers are real and urgent.
Decisions may be only days away.
That's why it's so vital that you send your secure online donation today so we can put your contribution to work right away fighting the enemies of the Armenian Cause in Washington.
Your contribution, large or small, allows the ANCA, a true grassroots organization that relies on community donors, to be your voice in pressing the U.S. government to:
* Stand up for truth, and against Turkey's "historical commission."
* Stand up for freedom, and against the surrender of Nagorno Karabagh.
* Stand up for justice, and against the sacrifice of Armenian rights.
* Stand up for real peace, and against foreign pressure.
Your secure online donation of $250, $100, $50, or even $15 is needed right away to lift the pressure from Armenia and pave the way toward a real and lasting peace based on enduring principles.
Please give today as generously as you can.
P.S. I know you want to do something about the dangers facing Armenia. So please click here to send a secure on-line donation today to protect Armenia from the intense pressures and deadly dangers she is facing right now.
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Kotchikian: The Turkish-Armenian Protocols and 'Public' (Dis)Content, Hairenik, September 30, 2009
The past three weeks have witnessed increased attention, condemnations, and justifications to the protocols as announced by the Armenian and Turkish governments on Aug. 31. Not surprisingly, what received the most attention was the section of the protocols that called for the establishment of "a sub-commission on the historical dimension to implement a dialogue with the aim to restore mutual confidence between the two nations, including an impartial scientific examination of the historical records and archives to define existing problems and formulate recommendations..." Yet another clause that received attention states: "... recognition of the existing border between the two countries as defined by the relevant treaties of international law." Both of the above points received the most attention and criticism from those opposing the protocols on the Armenian side-and for a good reason, as both these points are the ones that carry the most nationalist sentiments.
The aim of this opinion piece is neither to justify nor to condemn the protocols. Rather, it is to raise some questions and offer some alternative reading of the protocols by focusing on such issues as: Who is opposing the protocols? Is such opposition viable? And is it possible to link the opposition in the Armenian Diaspora with the one in Armenia?
Perhaps the first obvious question would be: Are these protocols a fait accompli and if so, can parties criticizing them introduce any changes? If history is any indicator, policymaking in Armenia is far from being a democratic process. It is, and has always been, a monopoly in the hands of a few in Armenia. During the last 18 years, most if not all of the decisions made by successive Armenian governments have rarely swayed, no matter how "disastrous" or "naive" these policies were, and no matter how much opposition came from the diaspora. The fact that all three previous Armenian administrations lacked legitimacy because of fraudulent elections had led them to operate from a position of insecurity and lack of compromise, as they continued to view any dialogue with the opposition within Armenia as a manifestation of weakness.
The above observations lead to the next question: Is there any mass opposition against the protocols in Armenia? Again, a quick glance over the past decade or so rarely shows the presence and operation of a viable opposition movement against the dominant system. Political control in Armenia is based on hegemony, and no matter how much discontent exits regarding any given policy, the authorities have rarely reconsidered their policies. In today's political atmosphere in Armenia, especially after almost a decade of no coherent and distinct opposition, the task of the government is much easier as there are no official leverages (parliamentary groups, civil society activists, etc.) that any group opposing the government can utilize.
Related to the issue of the existence of an opposition, a relevant question remains over the number of people opposing the protocols. While it is clear that there are a number of Armenians opposing this specific issue, it is far from being sizeable. This is true not only in Armenia but also in the diaspora, where opponents to the protocols are small in number. This does not mean that the majority of Armenians support the government or its decisions; rather, it is a manifestation of widespread political apathy and a disconnect of the masses from politics and political discourse. At the end of the day, the playing field in Armenia(n) politics remains polarized between two relatively smaller groups, the decision makers and their opponents.
Finally, an interesting point recently brought up by a political analyst is the necessary distinction that should be made between the normalization of relations and reconciliation. While the former is a Turkey-Armenia issue, the latter is a Turkish-Armenian one. If Armenia decides to normalize its relations with Turkey then it is a simple state-to-state issue, one that the nation does not and should not have any say in. However, if the issue at hand is about reconciliation, then it becomes a topic that requires the ownership of all Armenians. The problem with the interpretation of these protocols is that it is both about normalization and reconciliation-hence merging the two sometimes non-overlapping ideas of the nation's interest and the state's interest.
One thing that strikes an observer of this process is the complete inability of the Armenain government to articulate its position on the protocols-a fact that many people would promptly attribute to the notion that Armenia is under pressure and hence its government has no option but to sign the protocols.
President Sarkisian's recent announcement that he intends to visit diasporan communities and centers for consultative purposes is clearly an attempt to articulate his position regarding the protocols. The hope is that this time around, he will be better prepared than the consultative meetings he had in Armenia with the local political parties.
Turkish-Armenian Protocols: Reality And Irrationality David Davidian, Hetq 2009/09/30
The Protocol on the Establishment of Diplomatic Relations Between the Republic of Armenia and the Republic of Turkey officially announced in Berne, Yerevan, and Ankara on August 31, 2009, has been brought to center stage and not without controversy. In order to fully appreciate and rationally analyze this yet-to-be-ratified document that is meant to serve as the basis for further dialog between the parties, its origins and accepted norms of international behavior regarding it must be understood. The document exists, it is not going away, and undoubtedly will be ratified by the Armenian Parliament in short order. The Turkish Parliament may delay ratification. While this article cannot cover every aspect in depth, the attempt is to provide a foundation to understand what may or may not be transpiring between Armenia and Turkey and why.
This Protocol is the culmination of at least five years of discussions between Armenians and Turks at different official levels. Beginning circa 2003, talks were underway between then Turkish and Armenians foreign ministers Abdullah Gul and Vartan Oskanian respectively. While these talks had the appearance of being non-productive, in 2005 Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan suggested instituting a joint historical commission to study what was termed "claims of genocide". Armenia and Turkey are talking for many reasons; if for no other reason they are neighbors, irrespective of the outstanding historical issues. Why might Armenia deign talking with Turkey? Without talking, nothing can be addressed between the two parties, including issues not related to the Protocol, and these are the parties who are the internationally recognized as players, in spite of an extensive Armenian Diaspora.
Neither Armenia nor Turkey is in a position to unilaterally act completely independent of the interests of larger regional or international states. Subordinate states have to constantly re-examine their interests in order to adjust with those of major powers with the aim of maximizing bargaining stand while understanding (and attempting not to capitulate to) the interest of the other parties. In general, this precludes these states from engaging in zero sum inanity, such as demanding an all-or-nothing state of affairs.
If the combined political pressure from Russia, US, and EU "strongly suggests" not only Armenia consider discussing with the Turks lifting their border blockade but attempt to discuss historical issues, it is not acceptable or even in Armenia's interest to simply say "no". In a crude analogy, Serbia's Milosevic responded with the refrain "no, no, no" in response to the demands of major powers to end the campaign of ethnic cleansing regardless of the claim "we didn't start it". His country was bombed and its infrastructure heavily damaged.
Equivalent pressure was put on the Turkey to begin serious talks with Armenia in spite of Turkish demands that Armenian forces leave Nagorno-Karabakh and its environs, and that Armenia end support for genocide recognition before discussions can become substantive1. Interestingly enough, neither of these Turkish demands is stated in the Protocol.
Interplay of Competing and Converging Interests
There appears to be a confluence of outcome in advancing Armenian-Turkish relations despite major interests appearing orthogonal to each other. The EU requires no border conflicts among any of its members or those in ascension towards membership, such as Turkey. It also has trade pacts and bilateral agreements with Turkey required by EU's ascension criteria. The Turkish blockade of the Armenian border makes a mockery of many of their tenets. Moreover, the EU would like to see a stable Caucasus to facilitate energy transport to Europe, as parts of Europe froze last winter when Russia was forced to shut gas through Ukrainian transport pipelines. Any stable routing is in EU's interest. Moreover, without an open border, Armenia cannot actively engage in the European Neighborhood Policy which is an extension of the European Partnership and Cooperation Agreement between the EU and Armenia. As of 20062 the resulting Action Plan for Armenia has provided over 2 billion Euros in Community assistance. The EU would like to see the fruits of their assistance grow through expanded trade. While it is unclear if Armenia would be part of any future or expanded energy transit routes, Turkey does want to expand its role and Armenia provides a convenient and alternative pathway. In the process, Georgia's role as a forced transit route around Armenia may diminish. This would be in Russia's interest.
The full extent of Russian interests in advancing this Protocol itself could be the subject of a small book. However, it is clear that Russian economic interests in Armenia, which are considerable, amounting to nearly $2.5B3, can generate better returns with at least a semi-open border and established relations between Armenia and Turkey. Russia's ability to bring Armenia to its knees in short order is astounding. It could force the closure of the Armenian nuclear power plant at Medzamor, for "technical reasons", eliminating about 40% of Armenia's electrical generating capacity. Russian gas, running through Georgian pipelines to Armenia could easily be "damaged" during winter months, cutting off gas and crippling Armenia. This combined with the ability to enact restrictions on remittances from Russian Armenians; it is clear Russia holds the keys in Armenia. Whether Armenia should have sold off critical infrastructure to the Russians is now a moot point.
Russia watched Azerbaijan react in disbelief when Turkish President Abdullah Gul traveled to Armenia for a soccer match a year ago. It appeared to Azerbaijan that Turkey had forsaken it with Gul stepping foot in Armenia. Turkey has been the champion in support of Azerbaijan in the frozen conflict over the Armenian populated enclave Nagorno-Karabakh.
Nagorno-Karabakh had been placed under Azerbaijani jurisdiction during the Soviet era. Now it is basically an extension of Armenia after Azerbaijan lost control of it in a war. Over the past year, Azerbaijan made threats to stop gas shipments to Turkey and the use of the Baku-Ceyhan pipeline, and began auditing institutions in Azerbaijan funded with Turkish money. Turkey maintained, until the Protocol was made public, that it would not enter into border discussions until Armenian troops vacated Nagorno-Karabakh. There could not have been a more efficient way to create suspicion of Turkish intentions towards Azerbaijan, brining Baku to a point where it could decide to transport a larger percentage of its gas via existing Russian pipelines. The Azerbaijanis may not like dealing with the Russians, but at least the latter is predictable.
Georgia's war with Russia changed the balance of power in the Caucasus and in doing so became a catalyst in advancing Armenian-Turkish talks and accelerating, by perhaps a year or so, the establishment of the Protocols. Georgia became one of the two front-line states, along with Ukraine, that became a battleground for influence between the US and Russia. The United States can project power, but little can replace the influence on Georgia and Ukraine of a neighboring power. In the end, Georgia became a weaker state after the August 2008 Russian-Georgian conflict, not just because it effectively lost South Ossetia and Abkhazia, and is under partial blockade, but Russia made a clear statement about its continued influence in the Southern Caucasus. Azerbaijan was subsequently forced to re-think entertaining notions of attacking Nagorno-Karabakh.
In the zeal to create rough parity with the increased Russian influence moving south across the Caucasus, Turkey was forced to engage Armenia by: accelerating diplomatic efforts, Gul attending the soccer match in Armenia, and advancing a now-defunct Caucasian Initiative, all at the expense of Azerbaijan. This exposed a flaw in Turkish foreign policy by damaging relations with Azerbaijan. In addition, Turkey has shown interest in actually buying Caspian Basin gas and reselling to the EU, cutting into Azerbaijani profits. Individual state interest trumps so-called brotherly relations.
The August 2008 Russian-Georgian war terminated Russia's use of Georgian transport routes to maintain activities at Russian military bases in Armenia. Reports and quick Turkish denials claim the Russians began working with Turkey to allow the use of their airspace to maintain operations in Armenia4,5. Also, supply trains destined for Armenia initially remained stalled in Georgia, creating enough worry that Georgian routes to the Black Sea or to the North Caucasus are simply not reliable for Armenian trade.
A closed Armenian border with Turkey would make any land transport of Russian military items difficult - an open border would facilitate this. Why might Turkey allow Russia to transport military equipment to its base in Gyumri? For Turkey, the prospect of an arrangement, especially on its terms, outweighed any potential threats from Russian bases especially in light of greatly increased bilateral trade and cooperation in potential energy transport to the EU. Besides, once in operation, Turkey can always attempt to extract concessions from Russia for the use of transport routes and can restrict passage any time.
Russia and Turkey cannot project complimentary influence in the larger region without a resolution of the Turkish blockade of the Armenian border. The $500M Russian loan to Armenia6 earlier this year reinforces the strategic importance Russia places on Armenia and with clear ability to influence policies in Yerevan.
There is talk of Turkey warming up to the estranged Georgian region of Abkhazia, which advances Russian interest at the expense of Georgian-Turkish relations. In the words of a think tank associated with the Turkish FM, "Ankara could no longer ignore the new reality in the region"7. Armenian news outlets have quoted Cenk Baslamis writing in the Turkish daily Milliyet, "Ankara will recognize independence of Abkhazia in the near future, while Moscow will recognize Turkish part of Cyprus". Apparently, this topic began surfacing with an article by Paul Goble in the English Language Georgian Daily8. While this could hardly happen overnight, the trial balloon has been released. Ultimately, Turkey can simultaneously give tacit approval of the "new reality" while fomenting anti-Russian agitation in Abkhazia. Turkish-Russian political relationships have been quite dynamic since talks began circa 1996 to reduce Turkish involvement in Russia's Chechen war and Russian support for the PKK9. The Turkish-Russian relationship culminated with the historic visit of Russian President Putin to Turkey in late 200410.
One can see a confluence of Russian and Turkish interest on one side and US pressure on the Turks to "unfreeze" discussions with Armenians and reach some interim agreement - the Protocol11.
The US has transitioned its policy objectives in the southern Caucasus from those of the previous decade. In the last decade the US aimed to secure the development of latent energy reserves and the ability to securely move them westward. Much of this effort was centered upon Azerbaijani oil and gas reserves and those on the eastern shores of the Caspian, such as Turkmen gas and Kazakh oil. This effort required the exaggeration of existing Azerbaijani reserves and tolerating a series of despotic regimes in Baku. The US State Department claimed that from 50 to 200 billion barrels of oil existed under Azerbaijani sovereignty. It turned out to be from 5 to 20 billion barrels. In fact, Azerbaijan will become net importer of oil by about 2021, with peak output declining circa 2012, unless substantial new fields are discovered12. Claims such as "The Deal of a Century" were touted in the western presses, especially in the US and the UK. Clearly, the regional competitor capable of transporting Caspian Basin energy resources was Russia. As the decade proceeded various projects were proposed. The largest was the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline project signed in 1994.
This pipeline avoided Armenia and Iran, even though it was more expensive to construct the line through Georgia. Being Russia's strategic partner in the region, Armenia was bypassed for political reasons. Iran was not even considered, since Azerbaijan is a major source of oil for Israel. US energy related companies have substantial percentage interest in nearly every transport consortium and gas or oil fields in Azerbaijan.
The latest gas pipeline proposed is the Nabbuco pipeline supplying Azerbaijani and Turkmen gas through Turkey, to the Balkans and into central Europe. Other projects include BlueStream bringing Russian gas into Turkey via a pipeline under the Black Sea.
As western energy development and transport schemes became viable alternatives to the Russian pipelines and with Russia architecting and successfully negotiating with energy partners, by early to mid this decade, US policy in the region moved from competition with Russia to mild cooperation. Peace and stability were in both US and Russian interest. As energy transportation requires deposits and contiguous geography respectively, US (and European) efforts became focused first on freezing armed hostilities, then onto solving existing ethnic disputes. The closed Turkish-Armenian frontier must have been at the top of that list, considering the zeal at which Turkey accepted the soccer match invitation at the jaw dropping chagrin of Baku.
US officials have stated that an open border with Turkey would reduce Armenia's dependence on both Russia and Iran. However, any reduction in Russian influence on Armenia with an open Turkish border is questionable since Russia owns major segments of Armenian's strategic infrastructure, such as the electrical grid, the operation of Armenia's nuclear power station, the rail system, and has interest in the Armenian-Iranian gas pipeline, among other things.
If steady energy transport and revenues generated are at the basis for current US policy, it may not be surprising that a change in the political status quo of Nagorno-Karabakh may now be in the interest of major powers. Until now the status quo with respect to Nagorno-Karabakh was in the interest of major players except for those in Baku who daily bellicose vocabulary would have one expecting an Azerbaijani attack on NK any day for the past several years. This frozen status was used by Moscow to influence policy in Azerbaijan.
The "new regional realities" and political transformations have taken place with the Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh conducting their own affairs outside of Azerbaijani sovereignty. The existence of Nagorno-Karabakh in any form does not affect the transport of energy, for there would be no logical reason to run any pipelines over its mountains when that region is surrounded by relatively flat lands. In addition, NK does not have any hydrocarbon deposits. A real resolution to the NK conflict may be possible in the near future in light of these "new regional realities".
With an open or semi-open Turkish-Armenian border, Georgia will quickly lose much of its overland transport fees from Armenian wholesale importers. Reduced importance of Georgia on Armenia also serves Russian interests. Russia would prefer to see Georgia in its sphere of influence. Until that time, Russia would like Georgia simply wither on the vine.
Other than state institutions and the negotiators themselves, no one knows under what conditions, stated or perceived interests, principles, etc., the Protocol discussions proceeded. The process was not at all transparent. It is clear that a unique confluence of political resolve exhibited between the US and Russia across the Atlantic and between Turkey and Russia regionally, had a strong influence on both parties to reach a framework for further negotiations. It is not accurate to assume that Turkey, Armenia or both could simply ignore these international pressures.
Before the Protocol was made public, Turkey maintained two basic preconditions that had to be addressed before formal negotiations could proceed: Armenia end its support for expanding international recognition of the Turkish genocide of the Armenians, and Armenian forces withdraw from Nagorno-Karabakh and surrounding regions. In addition to these two basic preconditions, references were made regarding Armenia specifically stating it has no claims on any lands in eastern Anatolia and by default recognizing current borders as inviolable. None of these items are mentioned in the Protocol. There are only three actionable items in the Protocol, the rest is procedural13. These are:
1. Agree to open the common border within 2 months after the entry into force of this Protocol,
2. Agree to conduct regular political consultations between the Ministries of Foreign Affairs of the two countries;
implement a dialogue on the historical dimension with the aim to restore mutual confidence between the two nations, including an impartial scientific examination of the historical records and archives to define existing problems and formulate recommendations;
make the best possible use of existing transport, communications and energy infrastructure and networks between the two countries, and to undertake measures in this regard;
develop the bilateral legal framework in order to foster cooperation between the two countries; cooperate in the fields of science and education by encouraging relations between the appropriate institutions as well as promoting the exchange of specialists and students, and act with the aim of preserving the cultural heritage of both sides and launching common cultural projects;
establish consular cooperation in accordance with the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations of 1963 in order to provide necessary assistance and protection to the citizens of the two countries; take concrete measures in order to develop trade, tourism and economic cooperation between the two countries;
engage in a dialogue and reinforce their cooperation on environmental issues.
3. Agree on the establishment of an intergovernmental bilateral commission which shall comprise separate sub-commissions for the prompt implementation of the commitments mentioned in operational paragraph 2 above in this Protocol. To prepare the working modalities of the intergovernmental commission and its sub-commissions, a working group headed by the two Ministers of Foreign Affairs shall be created 2 months after the day following the entry into force of this Protocol. Within 3 months after the entry into force of this Protocol, these modalities shall be approved at ministerial level. The intergovernmental commission shall meet for the first time immediately after the adoption of the said modalities. The sub-commissions shall start their work at the latest 1 month thereafter and they shall work continuously until the completion of their mandates. The timetable and elements agreed by both sides for the implementation of this Protocol are mentioned in the annexed document, which is integral part of this Protocol.
Both Turkey and Armenia must ratify the text before this Protocol becomes actionable.
Item 1 is the clause that serves as the basis for opening the border. However, how open it would be and restrictions of its use by the parties, is not stated.
Item 2 refers to the furtherance of bilateral relations, but in particular notes a bilateral commission to be established to examine the "historical" record. While not explicitly stated, the overarching historical issue is the genocide of the Armenians. It is generally understood this is the paramount issue that will be examined.
Item 3 is a procedural item referring to implementing Item 2.
Since Armenia has long stated its desire to enter into discussions with Turkey without any preconditions to affect a resolution of Item 1 -lifting the Turkish border blockade - it can be assumed that Item 2 was a Turkish initiative. It is also assumed that Turkey was never strategically or fundamentally against opening the border, judging by its current tactical interests.
Thus, we can tabulate the preconditions that were suggested, agreed to or dismissed throughout discussions, post 2005, especially after the election of Armenian President Serge Sarkisyan in 2008.
Roughly speaking, the outcome of the agreement is the promise of an open border in exchange for the establishment of the historic commission.
The "winning" and "losing" party has been spun by both sides. Typical of Turkish spin is read in the pro-government daily Hurriyet, September 15, 2009, in an article written by Yusuf Kanli14 where he states, "First of all Armenia has accepted for the first time ever the creation of a history commission that might feature historians from interested third parties in examining the genocide claims. That is, without saying so the Serge Sarkisian administration of Armenian has conceded from the "Genocide is a fact, there is no need to verify it through scientific research or to discuss it" position."
What appears to be an Armenian concession to the Turks is at best a method for Turks to delay international debate on genocide recognition. It is unclear why the Turkish side sees this as a victory unless delaying recognition was their original goal. Using such a commission as a delay tactic will ultimately result in a strategic blunder as Turkish disingenuousness will be clear to the international community. Whether the Turkish end game is gaining a few years of leeway or denying consent to an unfavorable commission outcome, or both, can have negative repercussions with EU countries, highlighting Turkish resistance to reforms expected of it. This may be the case with EU states that have recognized the genocide, such as Switzerland. Switzerland is a party to this Protocol process.
Turkey may have made another mistake in misreading Armenian opposition to a historical commission since Erdogan suggested it in 2005. Armenian opposition to an historical commission, mainly seen in the Diaspora, is based on the assumption that any inquiry into the historical record regarding the genocide is tantamount to questioning the veracity of the genocide. Over twenty countries have recognized the Turkish genocide of the Armenians as an indisputable fact and the Society of Genocide Scholars have stated without reservation that the Armenians were subject to genocide. Scores of renown historians agree it was genocide and the International Center for Transitional Justice (ICTJ), commission by the Turkish Armenian Reconciliation Commission, in their study concluded the Armenians were subject to genocide15 What other possible outcome could such an honest historical commission as stated in Item 2, be other than a reiteration of what is an accepted fact. Unlike the Jews in the aftermath of the Nuremberg Trials, Armenians do not have the luxury of completely rejecting any inquiries into confirming the genocide. The Jews have the ability to reject as blasphemous, for example, somebody publishing an analysis of the gas used in gas chambers as being not really Zyklon-B, but perhaps Zyklon-C, or -D.
Recent Armenian protests16 and proclamations against this commission certainly give the Turks reason to assume they extracted some sort of a concession from the Armenians. Protests since 2005 against any historical commission may have unwittingly helped Armenia's negotiators.
Paraphrasing Turkish professor Taner Akcam17, what previously unknown document could possibly exist that will allow one to negate the genocide of the Armenians in light of all the research that has been done and the clear recognition it has received.
It is entirely possible that Armenian historians would be so inept so as to allow Turkish denialists to re-write history. The chance of this happening with the entire concerned world watching is doubtful. Moreover, if the commission becomes a mockery of the facts, any conclusions it makes would be considered effectively null and void. Besides, chances are high that many of the commission sessions will be hosted in Switzerland, which not only has recognized the crime of genocide committed against the Armenians, but should arrest any deniers on their territory. However, even if the outcome of the historical commission's "research" reiterates the fact of genocide, subsequent redress may remain unresolved.
Yusuf Kanli continues:
"Secondly, for the first time ever in the post-Soviet era, Armenia has agreed to recognize the joint border with Turkey as was defined in the Kars treaty, though there is no reference in the protocols to the Kars treaty. Such recognition by Armenia is no less than declaring it has no territorial claims from Turkey or it has turned a cold shoulder to Diaspora's land claims from Turkey."
There is a border that exists between Armenia and Turkey. On one side are Turkish guards, on the other Russian and Armenian ones. Recognizing the current border is required in order to open it. Hurriyet and its editors engage in extreme spin when they claim that border recognition requires recognizing the process that created that demarcation. No where in the Protocol does it mention the Treaty of Kars, the Treaty of Moscow, or the Treaty of Alexandropol for that matter. This is because there is no international obligation for Armenia to recognize such previous treaties in this case. This is well defined in Villiger's Customary International Law and Treaties18 and in the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties19, ratified by Armenia20 in May 2005. The latter clearly states in Section 2,
APPLICATION OF TREATIES
Article 28: Non-retroactivity of treaties
Unless a different intention appears from the treaty or is otherwise established, its provisions do not bind a party in relation to any act or fact which took place or any situation which ceased to exist before the date of the entry into force of the treaty with respect to that party.
Article 29: Territorial scope of treaties
Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties
Unless a different intention appears from the treaty or is otherwise established, a treaty is binding upon each party in respect of its entire territory.
Article 30: Application of successive treaties relating to the same subject-matter 1. Subject to Article 103 of the Charter of the United Nations, the rights and obligations of States parties to successive treaties relating to the same subject-matter shall be determined in accordance with the following paragraphs.
2. When a treaty specifies that it is subject to, or that it is not to be considered as incompatible with, an earlier or later treaty, the provisions of that other treaty prevail.
3. When all the parties to the earlier treaty are parties also to the later treaty but the earlier treaty is not terminated or suspended in operation under article 59, the earlier treaty applies only to the extent that its provisions are compatible with those of the latter treaty.
4. When the parties to the later treaty do not include all the parties to the earlier one:
(a) as between States parties to both treaties the same rule applies as in paragraph 3;
(b) as between a State party to both treaties and a State party to only one of the treaties, the treaty to which both States are parties governs their mutual rights and obligations.
5. Paragraph 4 is without prejudice to article 41, or to any question of the termination or suspension of the operation of a treaty under article 60 or to any question of responsibility which may arise for a State from the conclusion or application of a treaty the provisions of which are incompatible with its obligations towards another State under another treaty.
At the time of this writing Turkey still has not ratified this convention21. Armenia has and is under no obligation to recognize the Treaty of Kars or Moscow that basically resulted in the current Turkish-Armenian border. The United States ratified this convention on April 24, 1970.
Armenia is in an interesting diplomatic position at the publication of this Protocol. The only item that changes anything is the physical lifting of the Turkish border blockade. Armenia should ratify this Protocol without delay and put pressure on Turkey not to delay or will pay the PR consequences.
Turkey is in a situation where it has alienated its ally Azerbaijan by appearing to cut a deal with Armenia and has been making deals with Russia. It may also be under the false impression it has extracted concessions from Armenia. Turkey cannot appear overtly pan-Turkic in rhetoric in its support of Azerbaijan, as it will be used by opponents of Turkey's EU ascension. Turkey may try to drag out the mandate of an historical commission but that has its time limits as well. Armenian diplomacy can consistently point to Turkish delay tactics.
Turkey also has an issue with ratification. Some opposition parties object to opening of the border without a resolution of the NK conflict. Turkey might use this as an excuse to re-work the Protocol, but that would come at a loss to Turkish diplomacy. Armenia can use this period to press Turkey publicly with actual preconditions if Turkish non-ratification is being used as a technique to gain concessions from Armenia. If Turkey does indeed ratify the Protocol, the pro-Islamic AK party will be on the carpet to deliver the goods for Turkey. They have to end alienating Azerbaijan, not appearing too overtly helpful to Armenia while trying to convince the EU it is sincere in solving its ascension demands, and work with its new energy partner, Russia. If Turkish Foreign Minister Davutoglu, Prime Minster Tayyip Erdogan, and President Adbullah Gul fail to convince the Turkish public and the military that engaging Armenia using the guidelines agreed to in the Protocols, there may indeed be early elections in Turkey before 2012. The AK party could be swept from power, leaving the Protocol in the hands of nationalists which could face public pressure to declare it null and void.
Turkey will be in a diplomatic disadvantage if Armenia makes no errors.
There appears to be no official public study commissioned by the government of Armenia having as its basis a political and economic analysis demonstrating that opening the border between Armenia and Turkey will benefit anybody. Armenia may actually have an argument and not even know it. What has been stated publicly are simply guesses, usually positive, by members of the Armenian Parliament, Turkologists, "experts", or oligarchs. An open border isn't binary as almost all simple guesses have been based on. An "open border" may simply mean it is not totally closed and only allow products and material to traverse a limited number of hours or days a week or may mean automobile and bus traffic allowed on a weekly basis. There may never be a completely open border. It could also be completely open. This is an unknown at this time, but its answer lies at the center of the affects of an open Turkish-Armenian border on the Armenian economy.
This missing study must include a competitive analysis of all major Armenian industries covering at a minimum: management team expertise, product sales & marketing, product planning, market channels and development, government relations, cross-border transportation, international business planning, credit and banking reviews, and yes, accounting practices. One must then compare these industries with their Turkish counterparts and using Armenian and Turkish demographic buying patterns, determine the viability probability of each Armenian industry assuming free and open competition with the added affects of partial and severe protectionism. Past, current and projected trading patterns must be evaluated. In parallel, a comparative study must be done with the only other country having a similar geo-political and economic position and that is Georgia. Such a study must determine why Georgia's GDP is down nearly 40% from a year ago considering it has free and open trade with Turkey, Azerbaijan, and has many Black Sea ports.
Solid conclusions cannot be made without studies. If the studies are skewed (such as not taking into account: general corruption, influence peddling, nepotism, fraud, racketeering, graft, extortion, cartels, blackmail, potential EC-centric liability and product quality issues, engagement and exit strategies adjusting for changes in the Turkish government policies, Georgian and Iranian reaction, changes in employment patterns and the consequences of any subsequent brain drain, etc.) there is every chance of a failed evaluation. Perhaps the reason none of these studies seem to exist is because they would expose too much of Armenia's black economy.
If history is any guide, Armenian oligarchs and those aspiring to be, may simply attempt to sell assets to Turks. An easy way to personal wealth is to replace the "headache" of producing domestic products with those made in Turkey, considering local distribution channels exist and are near monopolies. Armenians emptied out factories in the country in early and mid-nineties and sold their contents, including machines, to the Iranians. Apparently no accounting was made of those transactions.
It will be interesting to note if laws will be enacted to protect indigenous Armenian industries. Unregulated trade, combined with 90 years of Turkish experience in the mechanisms of market economics, could easily destroy Armenia's economy and return the Armenian people to the specter of Turkish domination.
However, with Russian control of major segments of Armenia's infrastructure, unfettered Turkish inroads into the Armenian economy will presumably be moderated. In addition, EU analysis will be watching closely over Turkish treatment of its neighbors.
Thousands Rally Against Protocols; Protesters Await Pres. Sargsyan in L.A., Harut Sassounian Publisher, The California Courier
Up to 10,000 protesters held a public rally on September 27 in Glendale against the Armenian government's plans to sign and ratify two Protocols negotiated with Turkey which include several highly controversial issues. The angry demonstrators expressed their rejection of Pres. Serzh Sargsyan's conciliatory policies with Armenia's archenemy -- Turkey. They objected to the Armenian government's concessions to Ankara, particularly its agreement to set up an inter-governmental sub-commission to examine `the historical records' -- a Turkish ploy to undermine the recognition of the Armenian Genocide by the inte rnational community. The protesters also objected to Armenia's acceptance of Turkey's present borders, which would preclude future territorial claims by Armenians.
The rally was jointly organized by the Social Democrat Hunchakian Party, Armenian Revolutionary Federation, Armenian Democratic League, and United Young Armenians. Representatives of the sponsoring organizations delivered fiery speeches against the Protocols. I was keynote speaker at the rally. My remarks were delivered in Armenian. Below are excerpts in English:
`Today is a very sad day for me, as well as for all Armenians worldwide. While Armenia was suffering under the Soviet yoke for 70 years, Armenians worldwide were dreaming of the day when their homeland would be independent, and they would be masters of their own fate. It never occurred to us that when that blessed day would finally arrive and the homeland would be free, we would be compelled to challenge the authorities of independent Armenia.
`Regrettably, out of concern for Armenia's cherished national interests, we are obliged to gather here to express our indignation and protest against these Protocols. Today, Armenians from all walks of life have come together, regardless of their political and religious affiliations, immigrants and natives alike, to say a loud NO in unison!
`NO, primarily to Turkey, the successor state to the genocidal Ottoman Empire! NO, to the dictatorial regime in Az erbaijan! NO, to territorial concessions on Artsakh! NO, to Russia! NO, to France! NO, to the United States! In particular, NO to the sub-commission on history that would question the facts of the Armenian Genocide! NO, to the Treaty of Kars! And a categorical NO, to the Armenian government's inept diplomatic initiative on the Protocols!
`We are also gathered here to say YES to all those who defend the Armenian national interest! YES, to all those who pursue the recognition of the Armenian Genocide! YES, to all those who demand compensation from Turkey for damages emanating from the Genocide! YES, to all those who reclaim our historical lands! Finally, YES, to all those who support the independence of the Republic of Artsakh!' I concluded my remarks by citing the ten major objections I had written about in my last week's column regarding the Armenia-Turkey Protocols.
I expressed "the fervent hope that Armenia's leaders would have the courage and wisdom to change their minds and not sign and ratify these Protocols. Should they proceed to conclude these infamous agreements, however, I fully expect the next President and National Assembly of Armenia to promptly abrogate them and dump them into the dustbin of history."
In view of the outpouring of vehement opposition to the Protocols during the Glendale rally, it is reasonable to expect that a much larger protest would take place in front of the P resident's hotel, during his Los Angeles visit on October 4.
To avoid a deeper split between the Government of Armenia and Armenians worldwide who outnumber those in the homeland, one would hope that Armenian officials would find a gracious way out of this terrible predicament, in order to bring to an end the discord within the global Armenian family. Armenians need to muster all their resources to jointly counter a resurgent Turkey and a menacing Azerbaijan.
A modest suggestion to Armenia's leaders, assuming that they are prepared to listen, would be to take a deep breath before making a final determination on the fate of the Protocols. They should be in no rush to sign and ratify them, since the Protocols contain no deadlines. A way out would be to renegotiate and amend these flawed documents.
Otherwise, future generations would not forgive Armenia's leaders for the lasting damage they would bring to the national interests of Armenia and the Armenian Cause.
Albert Nalchatchyan – “We Must Stay Away From Turks As Much As Possible”, 2009/10/02, Natasha Harutyunyan
Psychologist Albert Nalchatchyan, commenting on recent developments in Armenian-Turkish relations stated that at issue is the fate of the people and not just a certain group.
“Today, if I had the chance I would put a halt to the proceedings. I am amazed that our leaders cannot grasp the threats incumbent in these proceedings,” he said. Adding that, “The interests of the entire nation are being sacrificed for the interests of a narrow class of traders and commercial importers.”
Mr. Nalchatchyan added that one cannot negotiate with Turkey haphazardly for it would mean certain defeat. “We must isolate ourselves as much as possible from the Turks and other Turkic-speaking peoples,” he argued.
The psychologist said that he found it puzzling that the fear factor doesn’t apply to Armenians, a people that has been persecuted and subjugated so often in the past. He said that a people with such a history must be doubly alert when it comes to such matters. Sadly, he observes that just the opposite is occurring and that Armenians are taking this issue why too nonchalantly.
The other panel member at today’s press conference was political analyst Levon Shirinyan who noted that without concessions from the other side there could be no talk of creating an atmosphere of mutual confidence.
“Those concessions must be territorial and financial. They have appropriated 20 billion francs of property and goods. I see two dangerous issues at work here that cannot be incorporated in this document, at any cost. First, the Armenian Question is much more than genocide recognition. Second, the borders cannot be fixed, in any fashion,” Mr. Shirinyan stated, noting that Turkey isn’t coming to the negotiations table willingly but under pressure from the United States and Russia.
One Response to “Albert Nalchatchyan – “We Must Stay Away From Turks As Much As Possible””,
Tony Says: October 3rd, 2009
There is only one way to guess about this situation. In my view, these Armenian officials are corrupted. They care their own interests; whether it’s financial, winning influential friends for future plans of business or political power. It seems, somehow, secretly, they are filling up their bank accounts, somewhere in Europe, Middle East or one of the Caribean islands with the secret donations of a 3rd party so that the main donor will be out of sight for unexpected or inconvenient consequences it may raise. I think, money is the main reason for deciding to agree and sign the protocols. So, saying for economic reasons is a cover. I see that money and corruption rules.
Marineh Petrosyan – Will Beatings Finally Awaken Diaspora to Truth About Sargsyan?[ 2009/10/03 ] Natasha Harutyunyan
Today, social affairs commentator Marineh Petrosyan and actress Lala Mnatsakanyan expressed their views regarding Armenian-Turkish relations at a press conference at the “Hayeli Club”
Marineh Petrosyan said that she has always been in favour of improved relations with Turkey but that the current president, who is directing the normalization process, is in the weakest position of all presidents since independence.
“President Sargsyan lacks legitimacy and thus it is the wrong time to negotiate with Turkey. Levon Ter-Petrosyan was the first to broach the idea of improving relations with Turkey and it seemed revolutionary at the time. It would appear on the surface that Serzh Sargsyan is doing the same thing, but he isn’t. I believe that Serzh Sargsyan is convinced that Levon was correct on certain issues and that he has taken a page from his play book. But Sargsyan isn’t all that successful in his steps,” Ms. Petrosyan said.
She said that the issue was a deep and complex one and that it would come as a shock to many. Thus, what is needed is an open and free field for adequate discussion and debate whether or not to go down that road.
Lala Mnatsakanyan stated, “If I am opening the border, what interests me is why I am taking that step. I am glad and worried about the border opening at the same time. I will enter into mutual relations with Turkey but only based on my national interests. But since no nation is fully independent and since we are particularly dependent on various powerful states, we must play our cards right and very carefully.”
Ms. Petrosyan confessed that the Artsakh issue concerned her the most and that Serzh Sargsyan has already declared that five of the liberated territories will have to be returned.
She went on to talk about yesterday’s protest melee in Paris connected with President Sargsyan’s tour of the diaspora to sell the protocols package to Armenians overseas.
Ms. Petrosyan said the protest was positive in the sense that Armenians in the diaspora have finally woken up to the reality of Serzh Sargsyan.
“It was good because before being beaten Armenians in the diaspora didn’t understand certain simple facts. They didn’t understand when we would ask them why they defended Sargsyan. Now they will understand what it means to have a president that generally listens to no one,” she argued.
Responses to “Marineh Petrosyan – Will Beatings Finally Awaken Diaspora to Truth About Sargsyan?
Artin Says: October 3rd, 2009
Turkish president Gul and other Turkish authorities are telling Serzh Sargsyan., how to deal with the Armenian Diaspora. It would be OKEY, if Armenian authorities would advise Turkish authorities just to “shut up”!
Tony Says: October 3rd, 2009
Hello there. I remember that there was an English song with a Title: Selling England by the pound. May I use the same Title and say: President Sargsyan is doing the same by Selling Armenia by the Dollar or Dram?
Armenia Will Lose If Reconciliation Is Prevented, October 1, 2009, Semih Idiz
The opposition in Armenia, aided by the Armenian diaspora around the world, is intensifying its efforts to stymie the normalization of ties between Ankara and Yerevan, as the day nears for the signing of the protocol that will enable the establishment of diplomatic ties.
That day, according to news reports, is Oct. 10, and the signing will take place in Switzerland between the foreign ministers of the two countries.
The argument of the Armenian opposition is that the two protocols – which provide a road map for the normalization of ties – amount to a “sellout to the Turks.” They maintain that this sellout involves both Nagorno-Karabakh, and the genocide issue. The opposition on the Turkish side is doing much the same and arguing the same, except that it is talking about a “betrayal of Azerbaijan by the Erdoğan government.” One can safely bet that in the Turkish case the problem has as much to do with domestic politics as it has to do with anything else.
In short, feelings on both sides among the "naysayers" are so intense that there is no indication that the two protocols will in fact move forward once they have been signed. According the road map worked out by the two governments a signature is not enough. The protocols have to also be ratified by both parliaments.
If the two protocols do not mover forward then it is clear that both sides will lose, since a unique opportunity for some kind of reconciliation between these two estranged nations will have been squandered. But if we put the losses on a scale to see who comes out worse as a result of this reconciliation process being scuttled, the answer does not require much mulling.
While the Armenian opposition and the Diaspora – including Turkish "rejectionists" - will have won in that event, it is clear that the looser will be Armenia, whose isolation is already a serious obstacle to its development, as has been highly apparent over these past 15 years. It is also questionable if the opposition and Diaspora will have scored any significant points against Turkey, if by that we mean points that can be translated into political advantage in order to browbeat Ankara into a certain position concerning the events of 1915.
The past four decades should have shown that is not possible. It is true that more people around the world today are aware of the events of 1915, many agreeing that what transpired was indeed genocide. Very few people who know the subject well maintain, however, that any legal retroactivity can be activated over this issue given all that has transpired in the world since then.
The position we face is a simple one. If legal retroactivity is available for this issue, then what does this mean for the countless other such incidents that have taken place over the past century and a half, and for which nothing can be sought today.
While Germany has paid compensation for Nazi crimes, that was a specific case with the Nuremberg trials of Nazi leaders in the background. But if the Armenians insist on using the German example, they should be looking, not at the Nazi case, but at what many refer to as the “Herero and Namaqua Genocide,” which is said to have occurred in German South-West Africa between 1904 and 1907.
In 1985, the United Nations’ Whitaker Report recognized Germany’s attempt to exterminate the Herero and Nama people “as one of the earliest attempts at genocide in the 20th century.” This fact alone cannot be too pleasing for the Armenians who claim that 1915 saw the first genocide of the 20th century.
The German government apologized for the events in 2004, but also made it be known that there was no legal retroactivity that could make it pay compensation to the families of those affected.
The New York-based International Center for Transitional Justice, or ICTJ, also concluded a few years back that while the events of 1915 could be termed a “genocide” under the 1949 Genocide Convention, there was no recourse to retroactivity in this case given the time that the events in question occurred.
Call those events “genocide” (as Armenians insist) or “the natural result of civil war where both sides incurred losses” (as Turks insist), the fact is that they belong to the historic domain today, rather than the legal one. In the meantime what legal dimension may have developed on a national level around the world is also being whittled down due to the situation that prevails today.
The latest example of this, for those who have not heard, is the recent ruling by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in the United States, which tossed out a California law that had opened the door to several multimillion-dollar settlements for Armenians, following cases brought against life insurance companies based on the events of 1915.
What is crucial here is that the California law was annulled on the basis of “unconstitutionality.” For those who may be interested, there are plenty of details on the Internet about this development, which represents a serious blow for the anti-Turkish Armenian lobby in the United States.
If we leave the legal dimension aside and look at the political dimension, it is clear that the Armenian diaspora has created serious headaches for Turkey over these past four decades. One also must not forget the scores of innocent Turkish diplomats, members of their families and other innocent Turkish officials who were killed by the terrorists that this diaspora produced.
All of this has enabled the genocide issue to come to the attention of the international community, which is of course a plus from an Armenian perspective. But the diaspora and Armenia, after it gained independence, have not been successful in forcing Turkey to accept a certain position, let alone pay any compensation.
Neither has this campaign enabled Armenia to break out of its isolation. In fact, Yerevan has missed out on almost every strategic investment opportunity in the Caucasus, and has therefore failed to increase the welfare of its people.
In the meantime, the diaspora and its supporters have totally failed to prevent key projects like the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan Pipeline, or the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway line – which bypass Armenia – from going through.
If the ratification of the protocols mentioned here is prevented by the Armenian opposition and the diaspora, this general situation for Turkey will not change, despite continuing headaches that the Armenian side may cause it.
As to what real benefits the prevention of this reconciliation effort will bring Armenia, it is clear that there are hardly any that can be mentioned. If there are any – that belong to the real world, of course, and not an imaginary one – then we would personally like to hear of these.
10 Reader Comments
Guest - Eirene (2009-10-02 ) :
Just like Mr. McKinney, Armenians too come to Turkey for vacation. In fact, the number one vacation spot for Armenians when they do come out of their cocoon is Antalya. Beware Armenians, cocoons become tombs for those who can't find a way out of them. Turkey has no need to open its borders with Armenia, it's doing quite well with them closed. Apparently this will be news for many of you who think Turkey signed the protocols to join the EU: most citizens of Turkey don't want to join the EU. Frankly, Turkey should not become a member of a union of nation states whose very identities were formed and based upon the primitive concept of homogeneous ethnic and religious identity. Now "enlightened" EU countries promote "multi-culturalism" in which they relegate anyone not from the original ethnic and religious identity into "minority groups" who live in ethnic ghettos so full of despair and hopelessness that children born and raised in those EU countries' ethnic ghettos can feel more compelled to become terrorists than productive members of their own societies, which have, in any event, rejected them (anyone remember the British born terrorists who bombed the London Underground?). Once the EU evolves past such divisiveness, it may be a place for Turkey, but not until then.
Guest - Sevag (2009-10-02 ) :
People are forgetting that Turkey can open the borders whenever they want.....they do not need to wait for these "protocols" to be signed in order to do so. If it is a true democracy, and if they truely want to become part of the EU, it is a simple task for them. Just open the borders, period.
Guest - James McKinney (2009-10-02 ) :
Do the Armenians even matter in todays world? The Turks are a nation with a rich history and are booming into a technological tiger while the Aremenians are just digging deeper into their cocoon. As a Irish citizen I have a lot of Turkish friends and frequently Turkey often but Armenia is a place I will probably never visit. It is time for Armenia to see that friendship with Turkey is in their interest and not the other way around or else they might have something in common with Georgia soon.
Guest - Mapios (2009-10-02 ) :
Turkey will also lose if it continues to strangle the Armenian economy. This completely contradicts what European Union members consider to be the behaviour of a liberal democracy. French, Austrians and Germans who have shown antipathy towards Turkish membership would surely change their minds if they saw a Turkey that has decent and respectful relations towards all its neighbours, including of course Armenia, Greece and Cyprus.
Guest - kufta (2009-10-02 ) :
Well Written Wiley Turk; we know that the Turkish government has worked feverishly to "cleanse" the archives so that we can all examine them together now as one happy family- I don't think so. Do you really think we are such fools? You may win the soccer matches, but we win the chess matches. Your ancestors' deeds and atrocities are well known and already proven, Justice WILL come- in this life or next. Our worst enemy now is potential betrayal by the thugs in power; just as yours will be the Jewish lobby when they betray you over Islam. See you at the protest tomorrow.
Guest - Khachik27 (2009-10-028) :
Very interesting Mr. Ibiz, but not true. Yes, nowadays Armenia needs open borders with Turkey, but Turkey needs it much more than we. Why? First of all, you want to become free from history and to help your little brother Aliev. Secondly, you want to show that how much your country is friendly toward its neigbhours. Thirdly, you want to become a member of EU, and closed borders are big obstacle. Fourthly, you want to receive indluge from East to follow your occupational regime in North Cyprus and to continue violate human rights in turkey, and especially rights of Kurds. Fifthly, you want to prevent possible cooperation in future of Kurds and ARmenians. Six, you want to develop your east regions which are not developed as much as Western part of Turkey. Seven, you need Armenians, because traditionally Armenians were making money in Turkey for Turkey. So, you have much more to loose, if the protocols will not be ratified than we-Armenians. If it will not be ratified Armenia will lose NOTHING, NOTHING, NOTHING!!!
Guest - Masis Ararat (2009-10-02 ) :
I cannot help but think that what Mr. Idiz is saying , with some satisfaction and pleasure , that Turkey can and will get away with this loot. May be but may be not. Incidentally I need to look if my parent's and grand-parent's property in Adana belong to me personally or their current occupiers who also hope to keep the loot. What do you think Mr. Idiz?
Guest - B. Baronian (2009-10-02 ) :
Very eloquent....but where isthe truth....? please think before you speak...!
Guest - Hovhannes (2009-10-02) :
Mr. Idiz, If there indeed is no retroactivity in the case of genocide, then why does the Turkish government lobby so aggressively to prevent the recognition of the Armenian genocide? We are finding out that there is even a FBI case against clandestine Turkish espionage in the US that exposes Turkish groups and individuals with bribing and extortion at the highest levels of past US administration officials, all having one objective: prevent recognition of the Armenian genocide. Secondly, why does Turkey find it so crucial for Armenia to recognize its borders? hasn't Armenia automatically recognized Turkey as a UN member? why go the extra mile in recognizing the Kars Treaty. Perhaps Turkey is indeed afraid of that one thing you claim as "irrelevant"? In reality, as a son of a survivor of the Armenian genocide, I think I speak for many who simply want Turkey to acknowledge the reality of the genocide and perhaps apologize for the actions of the Ittihadists. No land, no compensation just the truth. Instead what we get is a tall tale of Armenians "backstabbing" and "revolting" and even committing "genocide", believe it or not, against the Turks. Turkish denial of the genocide is the root cause of the animosity, and now we hear in your voice a threat, a warning no doubt reflecting your governments ideology, that unless Armenia bows to Turkish wishes she will loose. Such warm neighbourly attitude... By now Armenians are well accustomed to Turkish threats and bullying, one more won't make such a difference. With regards, Havhannes Sahakian
Guest - Sammy (2009-10-02 ) :
Excellent article Mr. Idiz. It would be unfortunate if the protocols did not move forward, especially the historical commission. There is much about the history of the region that has never seen the light of day. Genocide proponents insist upon focusing only on the events of 1915. However, the events of 1915 did not occur in a vacuum but in a continuum of history that includes the massive resettlement throughout Anatolia of the Cerkez who were most brutally ethnically cleansed by Russian military forces. Some Cerkez tribes were completely extinguished as the Russian military engaged in massacres that were conducted as spectacles for Russian nobility/ruling officers (see publications/speeches by Prof. Kemal Karpat who is one of the only historians who has studied these events). Many of those Cerkez people were resettled in eastern Anatolia where, during WWI, Russian invading forces were aided by Ottoman Armenians who served as their guides. One can only imagine the local Cerkez reaction to the help given Russians by local Ottoman Armenians, after all the Cerkez people had only 50 years before (within living memory) been brutally ejected from their homeland by Russia. If there is an interest in understanding the events of 1915, one must understand not only what happened in that particular year in that particular area, but also the history, life and experiences of the participants in the events. Airing the truth is more likley than anything else to bring peace to Armenians and Turks, who really are cultural cousins that have been estranged for far too long. My Russian Armenian friend's mother cried with joy the first time I spoke to her in Turkish because she had not spoken the language in so long and was so happy to have someone with which she could revive it.
Ömer Engin Lütem: Diaspora And The Protocols, Avim, 1 October 2009
The Two Protocols Initialed Between Turkey And Armenia Has Drawn Different Reactions Within Diaspora.
AAA (Armenian Assembly of America), a Diaspora organization supported by wealthy Armenians and which generally has close ties with US governments or tries not to enter into conflict with them, has declared rather unwillingly that they support the protocols. AGBU (Armenian General Benevolent Union) which is known as the Diaspora’s most wealthy organization (its property holdings are above 200 million dollars) has followed a similar attitude.
Although such organizations are important, they do not have close contacts on an individual level within Diaspora. On this matter, Dashnak Party which is influential over middle and low class Diaspora Armenians, have the leading role with its branches and dependent organizations in different countries. The most important of these organizations are ANCA (Armenian National Committee of America) in the U.S., ANCC (The Armenian National Committee of Canada) in Canada, CCAF (Le Conseil de Coordination des Armenians de France) in France, ASA (L’Association Suisse-Arménie) in Switzerland, and “Russian-Armenian Cooperation Union” and “Russia Armenian Union” in Russia. EAFJD (European Armenian Federation for Justice and Democracy) which pretends that they represent all the Armenian organizations in Europe also has a tendency to be extreme nationalist.
When Diaspora is at hand, it is worth mentioning the Armenian churches outside of Armenia. There are two main Armenian Catholicosates: One is the Echmiadzin Catholicosate near Erivan to which the whole of Armenia Armenians and most of the Diaspora Armenians have obedience to. The other is the Cilicia Catholicosate near Beirut which is considered to be the spiritual leader of some of the Diaspora Armenians. It can be concluded that Karekin II, the Catholicos of the Echmiadzin who met with President Sarkisyan to discuss the protocols, is not against them. However, the Western Armenian Church in the U.S. which depends on Echmiadzin, it’s participation in the organization of activities in opposition of the protocols which shows that the Echmiadzin Church can have different attitudes in Armenia and Diaspora. On the other hand, Aram II, the Catholicos of Cilicia who is known for being extreme nationalist and having an anti-Turkey attitude, clearly showed his opposition to the protocols in a letter sent to President Sarkisyan.
The criticisms directed to the protocols by these organizations can be summarized under three points: the first is that the protocols recognized the existing Turkish-Armenian border, the second is the commission to be established from the “historical dimension” would result in discussing the “genocide reality”, and the third is that the Karabakh issue and “self-determination” principle are not mentioned in the protocols.
The Diaspora media is almost entirely against the protocols. Moreover, especially in the U.S., several demonstrations have been held. Among these, one can draw attention to that held in New York on 19 September with 800 participants and the demonstration in Glendale near Los Angeles with 10.000 participants. It seems that demonstrations will be held in France in the beginning of October.
At the demonstration in Glendale in which Dashnak Party participated with the Hunchakian and Ramkavar parties, two resolutions were adopted.
The first resolution heavily criticized the sub-commission on a historical dimension by putting forth that the work of this body would not only irrevocably halt the process of international recognition of the Armenian Genocide, but also diminish achievements resulting from decades of immense efforts in the recognition of the genocide by numerous countries. Moreover, it has been expressed that the official recognition of Turkey’s current borders by Armenia is a concession of its people’s historic, moral, legal and territorial rights. Furthermore, the absence of the right to self-determination in the settlement of the Karabakh dispute has also been criticized.
One of the interesting points about this resolution is the allegation that the Armenian authorities do not have the legal right to bargain with Turkey, the just right of the Armenian people, especially on the issues of occupied Armenian territories (means Eastern Anatolia) and reparations. Taking these matters into account, it has been expressed that the protocols are unacceptable and dangerous and the signing of them by the Armenian government is fraught with irreversible and heavy consequences. Thus, it has been demanded from the Armenian government to immediately end all efforts for the signing and approval of both protocols. Otherwise, it has been expressed that the President of Armenia will bare sole responsibility for future events and will be treated accordingly by the Armenian people and history.
Hereby, it should be noted that Diaspora rarely (and using a restrained language) opposes the Armenian Government and especially refrains from criticizing the President. Therefore, the resolution at hand shows that a deep fault already exists between Diaspora and Armenia.
In the second resolution, Howard Berman, the US chairman of the House Committee of Foreign Relations, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Representatives Adam Schiff and George Radanovich who protect the interests of Armenians and Armenia within the House, were called upon to immediately schedule a vote on H. Res. 252, the Armenian Genocide Resolution pending in Congress. Taking into consideration the importance President Obama and its government puts on the signing and implementation of the protocols, it can be said that there is no chance that this draft resolution will be adopted.
In Armenia also, reactions exist against the protocols. However, besides the well known attitudes of Dashnaks, it can be observed that reactions of the other parties arise from domestic policy considerations and aims at damaging the Government and President. In fact, the three parties forming the government (Republican Party, Prosperous Armenia Party and Rule of Law Party) are in favor of the protocols. Those opposing the protocols are the main opposition parties such as the Armenian National Congress headed by former President Levon Ter Petrosyan and Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaks), along with the Heritage Party and several other small parties. Since the parties forming the government have a majority in the Parliament, it can be seen that the approval of the protocols will not create any problems in principle.
As mentioned above, the challenge on the issue of the protocols is Diaspora. Taking into consideration the increasing relations with Diaspora in all fields and especially the aid given to Armenia by the Diaspora, it is not possible for the Armenian Government to overlook the Armenians living in other countries. In fact, President Sarkisyan, staring from today (1 October) will be travelling to France (Paris), USA (New York and Los Angeles), Lebanon (Beirut) and Russia (Rostov) to meet with Diaspora representatives to explain to them the attitudes of his government concerning the protocols.
ANCA to State Department: Back Off!
ANCA's mobilization calls,
To paralyse protocols!
ANCA Calls on Hillary Clinton to Lift U.S. Pressure on Armenia
WASHINGTON, DC - Ken Hachikian, Chairman of the Armenian National Committee of America, today called upon Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton to lift the unfair and heavy pressure the U.S. government is using to force Armenia to accept a set of highly controversial Protocols on the normalization of relations with Turkey.
In his letter, dated September 30, 2009, Hachikian expressed the Armenian American community's concern that "these one-sided agreements, which are being imposed upon a landlocked Republic of Armenia that remains blockaded by Turkey and that is still working to overcome the devastating demographic, economic and geopolitical legacy of the Armenian Genocide, would, if adopted, call into question the reality of the Armenian Genocide, threaten Armenia's security, jeopardize the freedom of Nagorno Karabagh, and compromise the inalienable rights of all Armenians."
Typical paradox of Morgenthau:
a- Publish a "damning" book in 1918 on Turkey, but
b- Mention no “harming word” in the 1922 Relief Report about Turkey!
AntiTurkey: “The Morgenthau Story”
Film By Apo Torosyan
Will Be Presented In Washington, D.C. And The International Association Of Genocide Scholars Biennial Conference In Arlington, Va
“the Morgenthau Story” Film By Apo Torosyan Will Be Presented In Washington, D.C. And The International Association Of Genocide Scholars Biennial Conference In Arlington, VA
The Armenian Council of America (ACA), from the West Coast of the United States is promoting “The Morgenthau Story” documentary by Apo Torosyan to the “Education and Advocacy Initiative” for the memory and truth of the Armenian Genocide. The ACA is a grassroots organization dedicated to work with political leaders, both Democratic and Republican, offering Armenian-related news, analysis and resources for policymakers and media, advocating issues important to Armenian-Americans. The main thrust of this promotion is to provide “The Morgenthau Story” to the current members of Congress, along with librarians, policymakers, students and activists.
The International Association of Genocide Scholars (IAGS) 8th Biennial Conference: Apo Torosyan has been invited to join “The 2009 Roundtable on Art and Genocide”, Monday, June 8 at 4:00 p.m. The 2009 Roundtable on Art and Genocide brings together working artists who make their art in the context of memory and history. Incorporating ideas about heritage and memory, these artists exhibit their work specifically and deliberately on the grounds where the crimes took place.
Apo Torosyan, visual artist and film maker, was born and lived for 26 years in Turkey. He is a second-generation descendent of Armenian and Greek genocide survivors. While he has exhibited his works nationally and internationally he cannot visit the country where he was born. His documentary films deal with issues that relate to the Armenian, Greek and Assyrian genocide, which happened in Turkey, where Penal Code Article 301 prohibits speaking about the Armenian Genocide. He has sent his films to Turkey where they will be translated and screened underground. They will hear and see his presentation that he cannot personally present there.
The moderator of the Roundtable will be Ori Z. Soltes, Professor at Georgetown University, is the former director of the B?nai Brith Klutznick Jewish Museum in Washington, DC. The other artists in the Roundtable are: Karen Frostig, Associate Professor and Coordinator of Partnership Initiatives at Lesley University, and Visiting Scholar at the Women?s Studies Research Center at Brandeis University, is a second-generation daughter of a Holocaust survivor from Vienna. Fay Grajower, studio artist in Boston, is a second-generation daughter of Holocaust survivors from Holland and Belgium. Her most recent mixed media installation has been traveling in Poland.
The IAGS Conference, “The New Face of Genocide in the 21st Century”, which brings together scholars from around the world, will be held June 7-10, 2009 at the Institute for Conflict Analysis and Resolution at George Mason University in Arlington, Virginia. The IAGS is a global, interdisciplinary, non-partisan organization that seeks to further research and teaching about the nature, causes, and consequences of genocide, and advance policy studies on prevention of genocide.
For information, contact: Rebecca Parson, Conference Registrar, email: email@example.com. www.genocidescholars.org.
At the IAGS Conference, Apo Torosyan’s documentary films “Voices” and “The Morgenthau Story” will also be shown. In “Voices”, Apo interviewed three survivors of the Armenian Genocide and a survivor of the Greek Genocide in Smyrna, now Izmir, Turkey. Yeghsapet Giragosian (107 years old) remembers how her mother died from thirst, and her brother died from starvation. Luther Eskijian helped Armenian freedom fighters in Ainteb, Turkey at the age of six. Of Hovhannes Madzharyan?s family of ten, only three survived the desert of Der el Zor. Sossos Delis was born in Asia Minor. Members of his family were massacred in Smyrna in 1922.
“The Morgenthau Story” tells the story of Ambassador Henry Morgenthau?s commitment to helping humanity. From 1913 to 1916, he served as U.S. Ambassador in Constantinople, and with the beginning of the Armenian Genocide in the spring of 1915 he appealed without success to the Ottoman leaders to stop the killings. In 1923, during the aftermath of the genocide and expulsion of Armenians, Greeks, and Assyrians, he helped save thousands of lives by successfully leading the Refugee Relief Committee in Greece. Filmmaker Apo Torosyan illustrates the story of Henry Morgenthau Sr. by interviewing three of his descendants: grandsons Henry Morgenthau III and Robert M. Morgenthau, D.A. and great-granddaughter Dr. Pamela Steiner.
The Library of Social Science Book Exhibit will represent Apo Torosyan’s films “Bread Series”, “Discovering my Father?s Village-Edincik”, “Witnesses”, “Voices” and “The Morgenthau Story” at the IAGS Conference. For information contact Hugh Galford, Library of Social Science, 9230 56th Ave., Suite 3E, Elmhurst, NY 11373, Tel: 718.393.1104. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. www.libraryofsocialscience.com.
Ani Commented On This Post Date May 26, 2009
It is a Truth!!!
It is a History!!!
It is not AntiTurkey!
Will Turkey calls the terrible events in 1915-1923 Genocide or not, it wouldn’t change enything! It has happened! It is a fact! It is a truth! Awful truth but… it is a truth.
My grandparents’ families on both sides were Genocide survivers from Western Armenia – Bitlis, Van And Mush. We have learned everything about Armenian Genocide from our ancestors. Not from books!
Mr.Morgenthau was a witness of the Armenian tragedy.
Let’s remember Ambassador Morgenthaus words when he met with Talaat Pasha, who asked him:
“Why are you so interested in the Armenians anyway? You are a Jew, these people are Christians”
You don’t seem to realiz
e that I am not here as a Jew but as the American Ambassador.I do not appeal to you in the name of any race or religion, but merely as a human being!!!
Fatma Disli Zibak Todayszaman, Challenging Term Begins For Parliament
Yesterday Parliament began a new legislative year, sure to be a tough and challenging term as the government tries to find solutions to Turkey's most serious and long-standing problems, such as the settlement of the Kurdish problem and the normalization of relations with neighboring Armenia.
Many see this legislative term as a turning point for Turkey and its democracy and believe that Turkish democracy will come out of this process stronger if Turkey can solve the its major problems.
“With the start of the new legislative year on Thursday, Turkey is embarking on a long and difficult road. At the end of this road, Turkey's democracy will either be strengthened or the country's problems will be aggravated,” says Sabah's Erdal Şafak, who states that the first test of Parliament will concern efforts to normalize ties with Armenia. “Two protocols were signed by Turkey and Armenia on Aug. 31, and a six-week-long negotiation process will end in the middle of this month. Foreign ministers of both countries will meet in Zurich on Oct. 10 and sign the protocols. There may be some surprises at the Zurich meeting. For instance, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is expected to attend the meeting. After being signed, the protocols will be sent to the parliaments of both countries, and the approval process will officially begin,” explains Şafak. He says while Turkey is making efforts on the one hand to normalize its relations with Armenia, Parliament will handle the most important problem of the year, which is the government's democratic initiative and national unity project. In his view, the results of the negotiations that the government has had with political party leaders and nongovernmental organizations about this initiative throughout the summer will be made concrete with short-, medium- and long-term steps. “Will the former names of places be restored? Will outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party [PKK] members be open to leaving the mountains? Will the village guard system be reviewed? Will Article 221 of the Turkish Penal Code [TCK], which is the repentance law, be revised? Will the political parties and elections laws be amended? We will learn the answers to all these questions eventually,” he says.
Şafak fears that some circles might find the reforms insufficient because pro-Kurdish Democratic Society Party (DTP) deputies placed the bar too high concerning their expectations from Parliament, and very radical reforms can only happen through a new Constitution, which seems impossible with this Parliament.
Radikal's İsmet Berkan says that although President Abdullah Gül, who delivered a speech in Parliament on Thursday on the occasion of the start of the new legislative year, discussing the democratic initiative and expressing hope about the solution to the Kurdish problem, he is not very hopeful about prospects of a solution being found to this problem. “I believe that the government is very sincere about its efforts to solve the Kurdish problem. In other words, there has not been any incident that would shake my belief, but I do believe that this initiative was not explained to the public in a good way. It was wrong for the government to not delineate an outline for the debates on this issue from the very beginning and to not determine its theoretical and philosophical framework from the beginning,” says Berkan.
02 October 2009
Armenians’ Supreme Spiritual Leader, Council of Holy Etchmiadzin, Supremely Suppressed?, By Appo Jabarian, Executive Publisher / Managing Editor USA Armenian Life Magazine, Friday October 2, 2009
Since the release of the highly damaging Armenia-Turkey Protocols on August 31, hundreds of thousands of the members of the Armenian Apostolic Church have been following closely as to how strongly and unequivocally both His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians, and His Holiness Aram I, Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia would express their pontifical opposition to the Turkish-dictated Protocols.
After a lapse of one whole month, His Holiness Karekin II issued a statement on September 30 expressing Etchmiadzin’s official position on the Protocols.
While HH Karekin II and the Supreme Spiritual Council expressed their serious concerns about the Protocols, they avoided making a full-blown criticism of the Protocols which the overwhelming majority of the Armenians in the Homeland and the Diaspora expected.
Those of us who had the blessing and the honor of personally knowing His Holiness Karekin II would envision that he would surely have much preferred to issue a strong and clear criticism directed at those who are actively trying to force that unjust document on his worldwide flock, the Armenians.
The September 30 Pontifical statement carried all the ingredients of a justified pontifical condemnation of the Protocols, but the Holy Etchmiadzin Supreme Spiritual Council seemingly avoided outright confrontation with official Yerevan.
On the eve of his early October presidential trip to the largest centers of the Diaspora, Pres. Serzh Sargsyan met with HH Karekin II in order to get His Holiness’ endorsement of the Protocols. The Armenian TV programs disseminated short footage of both Pres. Sargsyan and His Holiness leading a cordial conversation. It is obvious that Pres. Sargsyan is actively seeking pontifical assistance for the creation of positive impressions regarding the Protocols in order to convince the Armenians everywhere to agree to the terms of the Protocols.
This is not the first time that official Yerevan has “summoned” Holy Etchmiadzin for “help.” In 1995 official Yerevan under then Pres. Levon Ter-Petrossyan, pressured Holy Etchmiadzin to elect an outsider as Catholicos of All Armenians.
The 1995 Ter-Petrossyan-Etchmiadzin affair sparked the notion that Holy Etchmiadzin now is exposed to official Yerevan’s political pressure.
During the Soviet occupation of Armenia (1921-1991), succeeding Supreme Patriarchs and Catholicoi of All Armenians starting from Gevork V of Armenia (1911-1930), to Khoren I of Armenia (1932-1938), to Gevork VI of Armenia (1945-1954), to Vazgen I (1955-1994), were indirectly and sometimes directly suppressed by official Kremlin. Those who did not compromise to the detriment of their people were physically liquidated.
With the re-establishment of the independent Armenian statehood in 1991, Armenians in Armenia-Artsakh and the Diaspora rightly expected that their Supreme Patriarch and the Holy See of Etchmiadzin would no longer be subjected to outside political pressures. But to the chagrin of many, official Yerevan under the First President Levon Ter-Petrossyan outright interfered in the pontifical electoral process in 1995 in order to get His Holiness Karekin I (Sarkissian) elected as Supreme Patriarch. Before his election as Catholicos of All Armenians, His Holiness Karekin I was the Catholicos of the Holy See of Cilicia.
Pres. Ter-Petrossyan convinced His Holiness Karekin I to vacate the Holy See of the Great House of Cilicia seat and relocate to Holy Etchmiadzin to serve as Supreme Patriarch. At the time, little did His Holiness Karekin I know that Ter-Pterossyan’s hidden goal was to weaken and eventually liquidate the Holy See of Cilicia by incorporating it into the See of Etchmiadzin, thus bringing under his control all the Armenians of the Diaspora, in order to politically manipulate them as he pleased, just like the former communist bosses in Kremlin did during the Soviet dictatorship.
Now His Holiness Karekin II (Nersisyan), despite his obvious wish to outright condemn the Protocols, has involuntarily softened his criticism. But His Holiness Aram I, Catholicos of the Holy See of Cilicia, strongly condemned the anti-Armenia and anti-Armenian Protocols, on September 23.
Alas, our Supreme Patriarch is still under political pressure that is reminiscent of the Ter-Petrossyan and the preceding Soviet Kremlin era. So this brings us to realize that contrary to certain individuals’ argument that Holy See of the Great House of Cilicia must be demoted from the rank of Catholicossate to the level of Patriarchate just like the Armenian Patriarchates of Constantinople and Jerusalem, it must be even strengthened. After all, The Great House of Cilicia is the last surviving symbol of the now Turkish-occupied Armenian statehood in Cilicia.
There is no doubt that the primacy of the Holy See of Etchmiadzin must be observed and respected. But it is equally important to maintain the Catholicossate of the Holy See of the Great House of Cilicia, just like during the Soviet era, when some people said that it’s important to have a church leader outside of the Soviet iron curtain.