29 October 2011 Update
Sarkozy in the Caucasus By Kamer Kasim
By Ömer Engin LÜTEM
It has been a surprise for the Armenians as much as for the Turks when French President Nicolas Sarkozy, during his visit to Armenia on 6-7 October, called on Turkey to recognize the Armenian genocide allegations and indicated that if not, France would adopt the draft resolution on punishment of genocide denial. Thus, despite the fact that France had always been a supporter of the Armenian theses all along, no French statesman had gone this far and no one had particularly called on Turkey and assigned it a certain date to accept the Armenian genocide claims. . . .
In order to be able to explain this rather strange situation, we must take a look at the past. As is known, after several hesitations, France recognized the Armenian genocide allegations by adopting a law in 2001, which is composed of only one sentence, an event which had caused serious tensions between the two countries. Shortly after the adoption of this law, the Armenian circles in France had argued that the law was not sufficient enough and by expressing that a similar law existed for those denying the Holocaust, had requested the adoption of another law which would punish those denying that such genocide took place. On 12 October 2006, the French National Assembly approved a draft law which made the denial of the Armenian genocide allegations punishable up to five years and by a 45.000 euro fine. In order for this draft to become a law, it also had to be approved by the Senate. However, despite maintaining this draft on its agenda, the Senate had not discussed it in the past four and a half years. This is the result of senators, who are elected for six years, being less influenced by daily politics. The senators, consisting mostly of Right and Centrist parties, have given more importance to relations with Turkey compared to the minority of senators consisting of the Socialist and other parties with left wing tendencies. Moreover, most of the senators, without making a leftist-rightist distinction, have opposed historical events being formally interpreted through laws. In fact, laws defined as “Memory Laws” which judge historical events like colonialism and slave trade had started being adopted in France in the recent years. A significant part of the French historians had opposed these laws based on the facts that they prevent or harm impartial historical research and this view had been shared by most of the public opinion.
The Armenians had shown great efforts for this draft law to be brought before the Senate’s agenda and in the meantime, received promises from Nicolas Sarkozy as Presidential candidate that if he is elected, he will support the draft being discussed in the Senate. However, after being elected, Sarkozy has changed his stance and started acting in opposition to these “Memory Laws”.
The Socialist Party senators, who have supported the Armenian genocide allegations without any reservations ever since, have been successful this year in May in bringing the draft law which punishes those denying the Armenian genocide allegations (from now on, we will shortly call this the “denial draft”) to the agenda. The Draft had first been addressed in the Senate’s Law Committee and the Committee had unanimously decided that the draft was contradictory to the legality of crime and penalty principle of the Constitution and the principles of freedom of speech and ideas. When the report on this issue in the Law Committee was approved by the Senate’s General Council, the draft was rejected. During the voting, the Rightist and Centrist parties had voted in favor of the Committee’s report, while the Socialists and other Leftist parties had voted against it. Meanwhile, it has been observed that more than half of the Socialists did not participate in the voting procedure.
Rejection of the Denial Law has been perceived as a great defeat for the French Armenians while expressions to protest Sarkozy during the Presidential Elections visibly increased.
Meanwhile, the Leftist parties had gained the majority in the Senate during the by-elections that took place on September 25th, 2011, even though with a slight 3-vote difference. On the other hand, the possibility of the adoption of the draft has increased when the former First Secretary of the Socialist Party François Hollande, who aspires to become the candidate for the upcoming Presidential elections in April, stated that he will call on the newly formed Leftist majority in the Senate to discuss the “denial draft”. Hence, it can be inferred that these developments forced Sarkozy -who was not able to receive good results from public opinion polls concerning his presidency- to review a change in his policy regarding the issue of the Armenian Question.
The first indication of this perceivable change was the extraordinary attention and warm welcome given to Armenian President Serge Sarkisian during his visit to France on 28-20 September 2011. This way, the disappointment among French Armenians towards Sarkozy and the ruling parties for the “denial draft” being rejected in the Senate has tried to be resolved to a certain extent.
On the other hand, Sarkozy’s change of policy became evident almost a week later during his official visit to Armenia.
Approximately a week after Sarkisian’s visit to France, President Sarkozy had conducted an official visit to Armenia on 6-7 October 2001. What’s interesting is that in an unusual way, a very short time has elapsed since the first visit. This shows that Sarkozy is in a rush or in other words, he wants to implement his Armenian policy as soon as possible.
In his statements during his visit, Sarkozy addressed many issues with the friendship of France and Armenia being at the forefront. We will only dwell upon the Armenian question and his statements regarding his expectations from Turkey. We could summarize these as follows: First of all, Sarkozy believes that the Armenians have been subjected to genocide. He has described the denial of genocide and especially the collective denial (refers to Turkey here) as fatal. Furthermore, Sarkozy has emphasized the recognition of the Armenian genocide claims by Turkey. He has said that each country must revisit its history, face the crimes it has committed and accept the dark pages of its history and that this will not belittle it but on the opposite, will make it more honorable and display its significance. Moreover, he has said that this will be a great step towards the future and a gesture for peace and that without recognizing the pains suffered, no reconciliation could take place and Turkey, which is a great country, must also do this just as France and Germany have done. The third and most important point is that if Turkey continues to openly or implicitly deny the Armenian genocide allegations, France could consider amending the draft law which punishes denial (in other words, that the “denial draft” could be adopted in the Senate) and that on the opposite, if Turkey makes a gesture to recognize the genocide allegations, then no change will be made. However, he has gone further and said that France will display its stance (its decision) on this issue, based on what the Turkish statesmen will say, in a very brief time and that this period must be within his term of office.
In short, the French President has called on Turkey to recognize the Armenian genocide allegations and has expressed that if not, then the “denial draft” will become a law and has given until April, when his term of office comes to an end, for Turkey to recognize the genocide allegations.
Firstly we must note that until now, no president of any foreign country had urged Turkey to recognize the Armenian genocide allegations this openly and no one had especially conveyed a certain date for Turkey. From this aspect, Sarkozy’s behavior is at least not appropriate to the relations which must exist between two allies. However, it could be seen that the French President has no such concern and his primary aim is to influence his own country and the Armenian public opinion. In fact, articles have been published in both countries’ press regarding Sarkozy urging Turkey to recognize the genocide allegations and for mentioning a certain period.
As expected, Turkey’s reactions towards the French President’s statements have been harsh. In a declaration issued by the Foreign Ministry, it has been indicated that these statements have been observed with astonishment and deep regret, that the controversies between Turkey and Armenia have tried to be exploited for French domestic politics, and that such an inconsistent and imprudent handling of this serious matter that has human and moral dimensions is unfortunate. It has also been expressed that Turkey will continue its constructive approach on how to improve its relations with Armenia, overcome the controversy over the events of 1915 and reach a just memory and that what is expected from France is to make a positive contribution to this process and to adopt a responsible approach and discourse that would show care to avoid both damaging the multi-dimensional relationship between Turkey and France and offending the Turkish community in France. Meanwhile, we should indicate that while highly praising the Armenians during his statements, Sarkozy had no concern for taking into consideration the Turkish community and the Turks in France.
On the other hand, Foreign Minister Davutoğlu said that these kinds of statements are political opportunism; that this type of opportunism arises whenever there are elections in Europe and that it could have a negative impact on the process between Turkey and Armenia continuing despite some disruptions. He has gone further on to say that there is no problem for Turkey to confront its history, but that mentalities who cannot confront their own histories and who have not intermingled with the societies they have ruled due to colonialism and who have seen them as a lower class, should confront their own histories and that those countries with a colonial past do not have the right to give a lesson to Turkey to confront its history and those suggesting Turkey to do so must first look at the mirror themselves.
European Union Minister and Chief Negotiator Egemen Bağış has expressed that it would be more meaningful if Sarkozy worked on how his country could come out of the economic turbulence instead of assuming the role of historians and developed projects on the future of the EU and has described this situation as the exploitation of the nearing elections.
On the other hand, in a speech delivered at his Party’s Parliamentary Group Meeting, Prime Minister Erdoğan has said that the French President has given advices to Turkey, but that Sarkozy should listen to his own advice since he speaks differently in each country. Also, after indicating that such a political leadership cannot be pursued and that before everything else, politics requires honesty, he has said that Turkey is not a piece of cake.
MHP Leader Devlet Bahçeli has also criticized Sarkozy, expressing that if he wants to see an example of genocide, he should look back at the history of his own country and that he will clearly see the atrocities committed in Algeria and will notice explicit or implicit massacres in North Africa.
These reactions from Turkey have also been published within the French and Armenian press and has clearly displayed that Turkey has no intention to consider Sarkozy’s call for the recognition of the genocide allegations.
In yesterday’s article, we have informed the reader that during his visit to Armenia, French President Nicolas Sarkozy urged Turkey to recognize the Armenian genocide allegations and that if this recognition was not made within the timeframe until April, the draft law foreseeing the punishment of those denying the genocide allegations and being rejected by the French Senate would be addressed again. We had also expressed in our article that the Turkish statesmen raised criticisms to Sarkozy by harsh statements.
The French President surely knows that there is no possibility for Turkey to recognize the genocide allegations. Yet, despite this fact, what is the reason for being so persistent and even providing a certain timeframe almost in the form of an ultimatum for this recognition?
There is no doubt that Nicolas Sarkozy acts purely out of concern for domestic politics. Presidential elections will be held next April, while Parliamentary elections will be held in June in France. Sarkozy wants to be re-elected as President for the second time, but according to public opinion polls, has not yet gathered the necessary votes for reelection. For this reason, he is trying to increase his support by taking advantage of every opportunity. One of the other problems for Sarkozy is the Armenian demands. The fact that the Socialists won the majority in the Senate following the rejection of the “Denial Law” in the Senate in May has weakened Sarkozy’s position. Now he is attempting to change this condition and to escape the difficult situation he is in due to the “Denial Law”. It could be understood that by calling on Turkey in Yerevan to recognize the genocide allegations within a certain period, he calculated gaining the Armenian hand from the Socialists. While the votes of the Socialists was not enough for the “Denial Law” to be adopted, the possibility for the adoption of this draft became higher as some of the Senators from the ruling UMP Party assumed a more favorable stance towards this law; in other words, a situation has been created where Sarkozy and his Party could accomplish what the Socialists have failed in doing.
While cornering the Socialists, Sarkozy has created tensions in his country’s relations with Turkey. However, it could be understood that Sarkozy does not regard this situation as important and acts by calculating that statements such as Turkey cannot become an EU member and must recognize the Armenian genocide allegations, have been acknowledged by a great part of French public opinion and could turn into votes.
On the other hand, it could be seen that the French have tried to take some measures to prevent a serious damage in relations with Turkey. It would be correct to consider the visit of French Minister of Interior Clause Gueant to Turkey at a time when Sarkozy was in Yerevan, and signing of an agreement on war against terrorism and simultaneously arrests of some PKK members in France within this framework. Moreover, it is also possible for other gestures to be made, following the presidential and parliamentary elections, which could please Turkey. Regarding this issue, one time the “Süleyman the Magnificent” exhibition being opened in Paris and “Turkey’s Year” being proclaimed recently in France which did not draw much attention are still fresh in our memories. However, it is not possible to eliminate the damage for Turkey caused by the adoption of the “Denial Law” through these kinds of activities which could be described as palliative.
Regarding what this damage could be, it is already possible to say that the adoption of a law in France which punishes those denying the Armenian genocide allegations could constitute an example for other countries, the belief will spread that since Turkey has not been able to prevent the adoption of this law in France, then it will also fail in preventing it in other countries, and that this will especially be influential in the US, while on the other hand, that other EU countries trying to stay distant from the Armenian question due to good relations with Turkey could also attempt to follow this path. Furthermore, it should also be considered that with 2015 drawing near, this law, if adopted, will constitute a significant step in favor of the Armenian allegations.
29 October 2011 Update
Sarkozy in the Caucasus By Kamer Kasim
USAK Center for EU Studies
21 October 2011
During his recent visit to Armenia, President Nicolas Sarkozy of France made statements which sparked reaction in both Turkey and Azerbaijan. This was not just because they reflected a general tendency by France to accept Armenians’ historical claims against Turkey but also because they contained messages regarding Turkey. It is well-known that the Armenian diaspora has an established place in the French political system. During election campaigns French politicians endorse Armenia and Armenian claims of genocide in order to pick up Armenian votes. President Sarkozy’s remarks have to be viewed within the context of the presidential elections due in France in 2012. In addition it is striking that the French president’s visit to the countries of the southern Caucasus. Because of its petrol and natural gas resources, as well as its population size and income levels, Azerbaijan is usually considered to be the most important country of the southern Caucasus, but despite France’s energy interests in this country, Sarkozy gave priority to Armenian. Azerbaijan will no doubt closely review this fact.
France is also the co-chairman of the Minsk Group, set up by the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) to resolve the Nagorno Karabagh dispute. The Minsk Group has not only failed to find a solution and France in particular has not maintained an impartial stand. In March 2008 the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution concerning occupied Azerbaijani territory. Both the co-chairmen of the OSCE Minsk Group voted against the resolution which stressed the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan and called on Armenian forces to withdraw from the Azerbaijani territory that they are occupying. This shook Azerbaijani confidence in the Minsk Group. Inside the EU there was discussion about the possible removal of France from the joint chairmanship of the Minsk Group and the EU being represented there instead. France vehemently opposes this proposal.
France is trying to play a role in the Middle East and the Caucasus out of proportion to its strengths and its actions there suggest that it places its French identity about its EU identity. Turkey possesses more soft power than France does in the Middle East and Caucasus and its influence there is steadily growing. The transformation which we call the ‘Arab Spring’ is causing the emergence of a style of popularly-based government and in the future this factor will operate even more in favour of Turkey. This situation makes France uneasy. Sarkozy opposes Turkey’s accession to the EU and he regards the Armenian genocide claims as an instrument to deploy against the Turkish candidacy. The French head of state jumbles historical facts and cannot confront his own history, so naturally there is nothing whatsoever that he can say to Turkey.
Looking specifically at Sarkozy’s visit to the southern Caucasus, it was the messages relating to his own domestic politics delivered during the Armenian leg of the journey which attracted attention. During his visit to Azerbaijan, the essential stress was on cooperation between the two countries in the field of energy. Another noteworthy point was that Sarkozy’s called for talks on the Karabagh Problem to be reviewed within the framework of the Minsk Group and that he sounded excessively optimistic on the subject. During his visit to Armenian, Sarkozy remarked that the existing status of Nagorno Karabagh was not sustainable indefinitely and this was favourably received in Azerbaijan. But Sarkozy does not hold that the occupation of Azerbaijani territory there should end and that UN Resolutions on the issue should be enforced. The President’s visit to Georgia was taken up with discussions of events during the Russian-Georgian conflict of 2008 and subsequently. As France was president of the EU at the time of the crisis, Sarkozy met President Medvedev then and a six point Declaration of Principles was agreed. This declaration made the status of Abkhazia and South Ossetia a matter for international discussion but Russia has nonetheless recognized the independence of these two areas. Sarkozy stated that he had been able to obtain the maximum result by obtaining the withdrawal of Russian forces from all Georgian territory outside Abkhazia and South Ossetia and these remarks were criticised by some observers in Georgia. Alexander Rondeli, President of the Georgian Foundation for Strategic and International Studies, says that the situation being described as a ‘maximum result’ was not really a gain if it simply secured the withdrawal of Russian forces from territory occupied in August 2008 and not that occupied earlier.
In neither of its roles – whether in its efforts to find a solution for Nagorno Karabagh as joint chairman of the OSCE Minsk Group or in the quest for a settlement in Abkhazia and South Ossetia in August 2008 and later – France has not been an effective player. What is more, these were issues where the EU could play an effective role by acting in unison, but by suppressing the EU role and giving priority to its own issues, France has impaired the influence of the EU.
State visit to Armenia, locate the President's speech on the Place of France in Yerevan
SPEECH BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC
On the Place de France, Yerevan (Armenia) - October 7, 2011
President of the Republic, President of the National Assembly, Ladies and gentlemen, Prime Minister Distinguished members of the government, Dear Armenian friends, Dear compatriots, Ladies and Gentlemen,
Let me tell you the joy and emotion that are mine to be today in Armenia, just days after celebrating the 20th anniversary of your independence from France on this site that says so the ties between our two countries.
Rodin's statue dedicated to the painter Jules Bastien-Lepage unveiled today is complete to give this place the face of the friendship between France and Armenia.
Historically, my dear friends, Armenia is in the heart of the French, the two countries, Armenia and France are similar.
Armenia, like France, has a rich history of two millennia, and Armenia as France is attached to its culture. It claims an identity that was forged in the trials of history and it is in adversity that the French and Armenians are best revealed, and they have discovered a strength in them that they even suspect no.
The links between France and Armenia are rooted in the long term.
Christianity, the Crusades are part of our shared history.
The Last King of Armenia is situated alongside the kings of France in the basilica of Saint-Denis.
The Armenian College, inaugurated by Lamartine, is still at Sèvres, a place of reference for the teaching of Armenian in Europe. In the nineteenth century, the Armenian elite was formed in Paris.
But it is in the terrible events of the past century has done to establish the unbreakable friendship between Armenia and France.
After the first pest control company in modern history, tens of thousands of Armenians have sought and found refuge in France. They found in France a second home, never forgetting Armenia.
France acknowledged the death sentence decreed against an entire people while calling it by name, the only possible name, genocide, genocide.
Here in Yerevan, I mean that Turkey should look at his history in the face.
Only the larger countries that are able to look across their history, and reconciliation can not be done at this price.
My dear friends, France is proud of all the son and daughters of Armenia, who gave him the best of themselves, and who enriched.
France has not forgotten what it owes to men like Missak Manouchian, hero of the resistance against the Nazis, is an Armenian who has helped us regain our honor and our freedom. *
The legacy of centuries has made France and Armenia, forever, nations sisters. Now we have to project into the future, we must face together the challenges of the future.
With the end of communism, with the end of the Soviet Union, Armenia had regained control of his destiny.
On September 21, 1991 opened a new chapter in your story.
First, unfortunately, these were war years.
Punctuated the years of trial and suffering.
Armenia has overcome thanks to the virtues of his people, courage, hard work, a tremendous will to live, which is characteristic of the Armenians.
You can be proud of the progress since independence!
The alternation in power, building a peaceful democracy, the admission in the Council of Europe, a rapprochement with the European Union, all this is so successful that the people and the Armenian government can be proud.
Armenia has the right to live permanently at war, albeit undeclared.
Armenia has the right to live permanently enclosed, as this prevents isolation imposed its development and future of his youth.
It's time to find the path to lasting peace.
The time has come to realize the hope aroused by, Mr. President, worldwide signing of protocols between Armenia and Turkey.
It's time to take the risk of peace, because the greatest risk for Armenia is that of inaction.
France will be by your side, and redouble its efforts to help find a just, lasting, peaceful.
No country, better than France does not understand what it means for Armenia on Nagorno-Karabakh.
No country, more than France, does not measure the weight of Turkey in the Armenian collective memory.
But no country knows more than France, my dear friends, it is so great that injury can be cured, it is so deep ditch between two people that can not be filled. It is the way that France has taken to Germany after 1945, when the memory of the occupation and the atrocities of the war was still so painful. It's on the ruins of the deadliest conflict in history has been wild friendship between two peoples, the German people and the French nation. A friendship that is now more than ever the backbone of Europe.
It took the vision of exceptional men, General de Gaulle and Chancellor Adenauer, to be sealed the reconciliation between France and Germany.
Armenians, Azerbaijanis, Turks, it's that way for you to take your turn. There is no other. This is the way of peace. I know that the Armenian people have the will, and that the President has the stuff. This same message of peace that I will bear earlier in Baku and I will address the Turkish leaders.
Armenia and France will. It will help Armenia develop its economy.
France and its companies will be at your side.
Our two economies have started to bind to each other.
Our two peoples enjoy working together because they respect themselves, because they share the treasures of culture and civilization, because they understand.
I think of the French University in Armenia, from which issue each year over 200 young Armenian economists and lawyers.
I think the 250 Armenian schools that teach French to bilingual schools nursery, primary and professional.
I think of the hundreds of Armenian students studying in French universities and I wish even more for the future.
The time has come to take the next step, with the creation of a real French school here in Armenia, Yerevan, that the K-terminal, train Armenian speaking elites of tomorrow. It is the decision we made.
The time has come, Mr. President, for Armenia to become a full member of the great francophone family.
Armenia loves the French, like the French culture, never forgetting their own language and own culture.
Even as I speak to you, French and Armenian archaeologists working hand in hand to dig up the glorious past of Armenia belongs to the heritage of humanity.
There are between our two countries shared a thirst for culture that is almost unrivaled in the world.
Robert Gediguian, Serge Avedekian, Alain Terzian, Simon Abkarian, Vahan Martirosian, André Manoukian, Michel Legrand, Hélène Segara, and Charles Aznavour, they are great and great French Armenians, the whole genius of our mix that is embodied in these figures.
Few people in the world have experienced throughout their history as many events as the Armenian people.
Even fewer are those who, like the Armenian people, had to fight for their very survival against forces that wanted to annihilate you.
If the Armenian nation is celebrating the 20th anniversary of its independence, it's herself that she must, because the people victims of genocide know deep within themselves that is first in relying on their own strength they will save their children and give them a future.
France is proud to have hosted children persecuted in Armenia.
These children of Armenia became the children of France.
Much more than a gift, the statue of Rodin is, first, the expression of what France has to Armenia, his girlfriend and her sister, who has given so much by the heart and mind .
Long live Armenia and vive la France!
Please feel free to email us a better translation
Visite d'Etat en Arménie : retrouvez le discours du Président sur la Place de France à Erevan
DISCOURS DE M. LE PRÉSIDENT DE LA RÉPUBLIQUE
Sur la Place de France
Erevan (Arménie) --Vendredi 7 octobre 2011
Monsieur le Président de la République, Monsieur le Président de l'Assemblée Nationale, Mesdames et Messieurs les députés, Monsieur le Premier ministre, Mesdames et Messieurs les membres du gouvernement, Chers amis arméniens, Chers compatriotes, Mesdames et Messieurs,
Je voudrais vous dire la joie et l'émotion qui sont les miennes d'être aujourd'hui en Arménie, quelques jours seulement après la célébration du 20e anniversaire de votre indépendance, sur cette place de France qui dit si bien les liens qui unissent nos deux pays.
La statue de Rodin dédiée au peintre Jules Bastien-Lepage qui est dévoilée aujourd'hui achèvera de donner à cette place le visage de l'amitié entre la France et l'Arménie.
Depuis toujours, mes chers amis, l'Arménie est dans le cœur des Français, nos deux pays, l'Arménie et la France, se ressemblent.
L'Arménie, comme la France, est riche d'une histoire deux fois millénaire, et l'Arménie comme la France est attachée à sa culture. Elle revendique une identité qui s'est forgée dans les épreuves de l'Histoire et c'est dans l'adversité que Français et Arméniens se sont le mieux révélés, et qu'ils ont découvert une force en eux qu'ils ne soupçonnaient même pas.
Les liens entre la France et l'Arménie sont enracinés dans la longue durée.
La Chrétienté, les Croisades appartiennent à notre histoire commune.
Le dernier roi d'Arménie se trouve aux côtés des rois de France dans la basilique de Saint-Denis.
Le Collège arménien, inauguré par Lamartine, est aujourd'hui encore, à Sèvres, un lieu de référence pour l'enseignement de l'arménien en Europe. Au XIXe siècle, l'élite arménienne a été formée à Paris.
Mais c'est dans les terribles épreuves du siècle passé qu'a fini de se nouer l'amitié indéfectible entre l'Arménie et la France.
Au lendemain de la première entreprise d'extermination de l'histoire moderne, des dizaines de milliers d'Arméniens ont cherché et trouvé refuge en France. Ils y ont trouvé dans la France une seconde patrie, sans jamais oublier l'Arménie.
La France a reconnu la sentence de mort décrétée alors contre tout un peuple en l'appelant par son nom, le seul nom possible, le génocide, un génocide.
Ici à Erevan, je veux dire à la Turquie qu'elle doit regarder son histoire en face.
Il n'y a que les grands pays qui sont capables de regarder leur histoire en face, et la réconciliation ne peut se faire qu'à ce prix.
Mes chers amis, la France est fière de tous ces fils et ces filles d'Arménie, qui lui ont donné le meilleur d'eux-mêmes, et qui l'ont enrichie.
La France n'oublie pas ce qu'elle doit à des hommes comme Missak Manouchian, héros de la résistance contre les nazis, c'est un Arménien qui nous a aidé à retrouver notre honneur et notre liberté. *
L'héritage des siècles a fait de la France et de l'Arménie, à jamais, des nations sœurs. Nous devons maintenant nous projeter dans l'avenir, nous devons relever ensemble les défis de l'avenir.
Avec la fin du communisme, avec la fin de l'Union soviétique, l'Arménie a retrouvé la maîtrise de son destin.
Le 21 septembre 1991 s'est ouvert un nouveau chapitre de votre histoire.
D'abord, hélas, ce furent des années de guerre.
Des années ponctuées d'épreuves et de souffrances.
L'Arménie les a surmontées grâce aux vertus de son peuple : le courage, l'ardeur au travail, une formidable envie de vivre, qui est le propre des Arméniens.
Vous pouvez être fiers du chemin parcouru depuis l'Indépendance !
L'alternance au pouvoir, la construction d'une démocratie apaisée, l'admission au sein du Conseil de l'Europe, le rapprochement avec l'Union européenne ; tout cela, c'est autant de succès dont le peuple et le gouvernement arménien peuvent être fiers.
L'Arménie a le droit de ne plus vivre en état de guerre, fût-elle larvée.
L'Arménie a le droit de ne plus vivre enclavée, car cet isolement imposé empêche son développement et l'avenir de sa jeunesse.
Le temps est venu de trouver le chemin d'une paix durable.
Le temps est venu de concrétiser l'espérance qu'avait fait naître, Monsieur le Président, dans le monde entier la signature des protocoles entre l'Arménie et la Turquie.
Le temps est venu de prendre le risque de la paix, car le risque le plus grand pour l'Arménie, c'est celui de l'immobilisme.
La France sera à vos côtés, et redoublera d'efforts pour vous aider à trouver un règlement juste, durable, pacifique.
Aucun pays, mieux que la France, ne comprend ce que représente pour l'Arménie le Haut-Karabagh.
Aucun pays, plus que la France, ne mesure le poids de la Turquie dans la mémoire collective arménienne.
Mais aucun pays ne sait davantage que la France, mes chers amis, qu'il n'est de blessure si vive qui ne puisse être guérie, qu'il n'est de fossé si profond entre deux peuples qui ne puisse être comblé. C'est le chemin que la France a emprunté avec l'Allemagne après 1945, alors que le souvenir de l'occupation et des atrocités de la guerre était encore si douloureux. C'est sur les ruines du conflit le plus meurtrier de l'Histoire qu'a été renouée l'amitié entre deux peuples, le peuple allemand et le peuple français. Une amitié qui est aujourd'hui plus que jamais le pilier de l'Europe.
Il aura fallu la vision d'hommes d'exception, le général de Gaulle et le chancelier Adenauer, pour que soit scellée la réconciliation entre la France et l'Allemagne.
Arméniens, Azerbaidjanais, Turcs, c'est ce chemin qu'il vous faut à votre tour emprunter. Il n'y en a pas d'autres. C'est le chemin de la paix. Je sais que le peuple arménien en a la volonté, et que son Président en a l'étoffe. C'est ce même message de paix que je porterai tout à l'heure à Bakou et que j'adresserai aux dirigeants turcs.
La France aidera l'Arménie. Elle aidera l'Arménie à développer son économie.
La France et ses entreprises seront à vos côtés.
Nos deux économies ont commencé de se lier l'une à l'autre.
Nos deux peuples aiment travailler ensemble parce qu'ils se respectent, parce qu'ils ont en partage des trésors de culture et de civilisation, parce qu'ils se comprennent.
Je pense à l'Université française d'Arménie, d'où sortent chaque année plus de 200 jeunes économistes et juristes arméniens.
Je pense aux 250 écoles arméniennes qui enseignent le français, aux écoles bilingues maternelles, primaires et professionnelles.
Je pense aux centaines d'étudiants arméniens qui étudient dans les universités françaises et je les souhaite encore plus nombreux pour l'avenir.
Le moment est venu de franchir une nouvelle étape, avec la création d'un véritable lycée français, ici en Arménie, à Erevan, qui de la maternelle à la terminale, formera les élites francophones arméniennes de demain. C'est la décision que nous avons prise.
Le temps est venu, Monsieur le Président, pour l'Arménie de devenir un membre à part entière de la grande famille francophone.
L'Arménie aime le Français, aime la culture française, sans jamais oublier sa propre langue et sa propre culture.
Au moment même où je m'adresse à vous, des archéologues français et arméniens travaillent main dans la main pour exhumer le passé glorieux de l'Arménie qui appartient au patrimoine de l'humanité.
Il existe entre nos deux pays une soif de culture partagée qui a peu d'équivalent dans le monde.
Robert Gediguian, Serge Avedekian, Alain Terzian, Simon Abkarian, Vahan Martirosian, André Manoukian, Michel Legrand, Hélène Segara, et Charles Aznavour, ce sont de grands Français et de grands Arméniens, c'est tout le génie de notre mélange qui est incarné dans ces personnalités.
Peu de peuples au monde ont traversé au cours de leur histoire autant d'épreuves que le peuple arménien.
Plus rares encore sont ceux qui, comme le peuple arménien, ont dû lutter pour leur survie même, contre des forces qui voulaient vous anéantir.
Si la nation arménienne célèbre cette année le 20e anniversaire de son indépendance, c'est à elle-même qu'elle le doit, car les peuples victimes de génocide savent au plus profond d'eux-mêmes que c'est d'abord en comptant sur leurs propres forces qu'ils sauveront leurs enfants et leur donneront un avenir.
La France est fière d'avoir accueilli les enfants persécutés d'Arménie.
Ces enfants d'Arménie sont devenus des enfants de France.
Comments by Sukru Server Aya
I thank both Mr. O.E. Lutem and Maxime Gauin, for their very valuable comments.
I submit Page 97 from my new “pocket book” (available on order in English or Turkish) and also in DVD format, and ask the super hypocrite Mr. President, to explain to Armenians also his true fidelity, which is clearly visible in the Sykes-Picot map given below. 1916 is one year after 1915 and France had already wiped out Armenia completely! Does he have a face?
Travesty is not limited to street hookers; the political ones are much worse and harmful to countries and generations to follow. Sukru S. Aya