Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Will Armenia Withdraw from the Protocols?

The buzz in the news these days is Armenias contention of possibly withdrawing from the Armenia-Turkish protocols and with that there have been a quite a few opinions out of Baku on the subject.

The following is an interview that came from a “political expert” who if you ask me is just a propagandist and has no idea or foundation to draw any conclusions as he has, since he clearly lacks a real understanding of what protocols are and their legal implications.

In addition to this, he also has a very selective memory when it comes to our concerns in terms of Genocide recognition and our desire to make sure history does not repeat itself.

I have made some notes to the reader within the body of the article below in Italics.


Today.Az » Politics » Political expert: Withdrawal from Zurich protocols will be Armenian-style hara-kiri

18 December 2009 [11:56] - Today.Az

Day.Az interview with renowned Azerbaijani political expert Vafa Guluzude.


Day.Az: Armenia is going to make amendments to laws which will enable the country to withdraw its signatures from international treaties. Armenian officials recently announced that if Turkey delays ratification of the Zurich protocols, Armenia may withdraw from them. In your opinion, what is the reasons for these statements?


[Ara’s note: “Protocols” are not “treaties” and do not hold anyone responsible to any obligation. Protocols are an understanding between two parties and are also in many cases intended to set the stage for future treaties between said parties. One can not be sanctioned for violating the terms of protocols.]


Vafa Guluzade: The reason is a turkophobia inherent in Armenia. Yerevan made sure that the Turkish parliament either may delay or not ratify the Armenian-Turkish protocols at all. So, it decided to move back. I think that a move by the Armenia parliament to review withdrawal of signature from the Zurich protocols will prove absolutely senseless and unnecessary step. Once Armenia takes this step, it will lose a chance to resume relations with Turkey. It means that Armenia will “dig a grave” for itself. This will be a kind of Armenian-style hara-kiri.



[ Ara’s note: In my opinion, Turkey has no intention to ratify the protocols and would like to see them in limbo as it has with over one hundred other protocols it has not ratified so that as long as it is awaiting to be ratified, the United States and other governments will not recognize the Armenian Genocide in fear of spoiling the potential signing of the protocols and possible good relations they were intended to nurture.]


Do you believe Armenia’s willingness to withdraw from Zurich protocols had an impact on Armenian Diaspora’s radical position towards the Armenia-Turkey rapprochement?


Armenian Diaspora is a special conglomerate, who lives by memories of 1915. The world has seen dramatic changes since then.

There is a very strange situation. The number of Russians the German fascists killed during the World War II was ten times more than current population of Armenia. The elite of the Turkish army was destroyed during the course of the many Russian-Turkish wars, in particular, in the Sarikamish battle. Nevertheless, today, Germany and Russia on the one side, and Turkey and Russia on the other side build a new relationship not looking at past.

However, the Armenian diaspora lives with memories of far-fetched "genocide" in the Ottoman Empire even after 100 years. Neither the empire nor people of that era exist any more. But Armenians do not still forget the times when their betrayal of their country (Ottoman Empire) and taking side of Russian troops provoked an adequate response by the Ottoman Empire. Until now, the Armenian Diaspora believes that hatred towards Turks should unite Armenian people and make it "great". It's just some sort of disease of Armenian psychology. This is quite an unhealthy way of thinking that will ultimately lead to collapse of the Armenian state which is at odds with its neighbors.


[ Ara’s note: I guess Mr. Guluzade was not around during the visit of Turkey’s President (who at the time was Prime Minister) Turgut Ozal, who in a speech he made in May of 1992, which took place on his last trip to Baku before he died, blatantly threatened the Armenians by saying: “Let those Armenians not forget what we did to them. Let them behave themselves or else....” What does Mr. Guluzade mean by empire or people who don’t “exist any more”? If you ask me and according to Turkey’s former President, the statement of “we did” clearly means that as of May of 1992, Turkey is the same empire and same people that the Armenians have to be very careful in dealing with.]



If Armenia had not occupied Azerbaijan’s lands, our region would be the most prosperous in the world. Today Armenia wants to take advantage of Turkey and reopen borders not returning Azerbaijan’s occupied territories and not giving up its hostility towards Turks. So, this is Armenia’s absolutely schizophrenic approach to the problems in our region. It will further feud with its neighbors. Even foreign owners of Armenia will be forced to think over this senseless policy.


[ Ara’s note: If Armenia did not liberate the lands they hold today, Azerbaijan would have wiped off the map all the Armenians of Artsakh and along with Turkey would be chipping away today at connecting Azerbaijan with Turkey and taking with that Northern Iran (which they refer to as Southern Azerbaijan), thus wiping out Armenia all together in the process. And in terms of Armenians desire to “reopen boarders”, this is not what Armenia wants, it wants for Turkey to lift the blockade which is a violation of international law, nothing more, nothing less.]



Armenia avoids linking opening of borders with Turkey with resolution ot the Karabakh conflict. How will Armenia’ possible withdrawal from the Zurich protocols impact resolving the Karabakh problem?

I think Armenia plays not a pivotal role in the Karabakh issue. Russia and the United States play the main role. Pace of the conflict resolution depends on their attitude. Unfortunately, I do not see any real progress in settlement of the Karabakh problem. It may appear only after geopolitical situation in the world and in our region changes.

In your opinion, what relations will Armenian and Turkish Diaspora have in the "neutral ground" (in the U.S. and other countries)?

I think everything will depend on the United States and its interests. If Washington is interested in making the South Caucasus a region of peace and its ally, it will pave a way for return of occupied Azerbaijani territories by Armenia, normalization of Armenian-Turkish relations and opening of borders between the countries. If Washington is interested in the status quo in the South Caucasus, the inactive OSCE Minsk Group to continue to act in its old format.

I do not know which option the U.S. has chosen. But I know one thing for sure- if Washington keeps on acting like this, America will never achieve "peace" in our region.

Concerning the Armenian diaspora in the United States, its representatives are very strange citizens of America. They dedicate their lives to recognition of the far-fetched "Armenian genocide". The actions of the Armenian Diaspora harm the United States and American interests. Thus, it seems that the U.S. citizens (Armenian diaspora) act to detriment of the state, which is extremely interested in close relations with Turkey as its strategic ally in the region.

Z. Ahmadov

URL: http://www.today.az/news/politics/58316.html

Monday, December 14, 2009

Edik Baghdasaryan Honored with “Defender of Armenia Freedom” Award by U.S. Ambassador

www.hetq.am
[ 2009/12/10 | 22:55 ]
society media



On December 10, United States Ambassador to Armenia, Marie L. Yovanovitch, conferred the “Defender of Armenia Freedom” award to Mr. Edik Baghdasaryan, “Hetq Online” Chief Editor and President of the “Investigative Journalists” NGO.

During the reception following the award ceremony at the U.S. Embassy, Ambassador Yovanovitch noted that, “Due to the unprecedented work of Edik Baghdasaryan, it has been possible to uncover cases of corruption, human rights violations and human trafficking, today’s version of slavery. At the “Investigative Journalists Conference” last year in Norway, particular attention was paid to a series of articles that Mr. Baghdasaryan wrote regarding the exploitation of Armenia’s natural resources by a former top ranking Armenian government official.”

Ambassador Yovanovitch stressed that the defense of human rights is a step by step process in which all must participate and demand transparent governance from their elected officials.

Edik Baghdasaryan stated that he would have preferred not to receive such an award and would like to see a world where such awards didn’t exist, “since it is extremely difficult to sit and ponder the fact that people are being persecuted and arrested in your own country merely for their political convictions, when you reflect that 30% of children are malnourished and go to bed hungry. I would really like to underline this last matter and urge our NGO’s to pay specific attention to the plight of the children. I would go so far to say that child malnourishment is the biggest challenge facing Armenia today. As proof, let me just point out that 40% of all army conscripts have some sort of malady. These kids are the ones going without.”

The “Hetq” chief editor argued that as a result of this problem the country would be facing much larger challenges 5-10 years down the road. Thus, he urged greater attention to be paid to the fact that many kids cannot enjoy a normal childhood, a normal school life and receive adequate nourishment.

“Sadly, in Armenia today, the same situation holds true when it comes to other rights as well, starting from environmental rights to the right to a decent education. I never blame society for the state of affairs. It is those higher up the ladder that I hold accountable since there are some problems that could be resolved in an hour with the stroke of a pen. There are many such problems awaiting such resolution. The authorities must possess the political will to act in order to change and reform the situation as quickly as possible,” Edik Baghdasaryan stated to audience members.

He added that it was an unfortunate fact of life that elections in Armenia are a sham and that voters cannot possibly exercise their right to political franchise.

“This is the most basic of issues. It thus behooves us all to seek out those individuals, wherever they may exist, with whom it might be able to change certain things. The attempt must be made,” concluded Mr. Baghdasaryan.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Armenian government trying to come to terms with problem of internet porn effects on youth

Many years ago, we tried to bring to the attention to the Armenian Government and public at large the problem internet access in schools provided by a program funded by the United States Government that was giving children free access to porn to almost no avail.

Well it seems now some of the effects of this exposure is surfacing and counter measures on an official level are going to be implemented.

I'm not sure if Psychosexual education in kindergarten is the answer, but at very least those in power finally recognize the problem and understand that there is a need for change.


Psychosexual education to become compulsory subject in kindergarten and school curricula

12.12.2009 19:36 GMT+04:00

/PanARMENIAN.Net/ Psychosexual education should become a compulsory subject in kindergarten and school curricula, according to Ph.D. Candidate of Sexology Marat Zakaryan, Assistant in Sexology Chair at Yerevan State Medical University. `The absence of such education causes deviations like homosexuality etc. This is a problem that should be resolved on state level,' he told today a news conference.

At that, he stressed the importance of raising awareness among teachers.

`The country's main problem is the existence of a great number of poor quality books whose accessibility disorients teenagers. Free access to the Internet can also have harmful effect,' Mr. Zakaryan said, stressing the importance of starting psychosexual education at pre-school age.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

FOOL ME ONCE, SHAME ON YOU. FOOL ME TWICE, SHAME ON ME.

Could we hear from Barak Obama's mouth the 'G' word? I really don't think the protocols will be ratified anytime soon and would go so far that it will take much longer than April 24, 2010.


BARACK OBAMA: IT WILL BE VERY DIFFICULT TO HINDER ADOPTION OF ARMENIAN GENOCIDE RESOLUTION BY US CONGRESS IF ARMENIAN-TURKISH PROTOCOLS ARE NOT RATIFIED

ArmInfo
2009-12-09 21:12:00

ArmInfo.
US President Barack Obama called on the Grand National Assembly of Turkey to immediately ratify the Armenian-Turkish Protocols. According to the Turkish mass media, Obama said about it during the meeting with Prime Minister of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan on December 7 in the White House.

As the source reports quoting Hurriyet newspaper and DunyaBulteni.Net site, B. Obama recalled that the Resolution on the Armenian Genocide was multiply included in the agenda of the Congress. According to B.

Obama, it will be very difficult to hinder adoption of the Armenian Genocide Resolution by US Congress if the Armenian-Turkish Protocols are not ratified. In his turn, R. Erdogan said that the major part of his party's deputies are not overjoyed at ratification of the Protocols because of the Karabakh problem unsolved. According to him, the Armenian- Turkish Protocols will not be ratified if include them in the agenda of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey today.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Olympic Champ Albert Azaryan – “I never cursed out the president”

www.hetq.am
[ 2009/12/11 | 12:50 ] society
Arman Gharibyan


Minutes ago, Olympic gymnastics champion Albert Azaryan, publicly refuted charges that he ever mumbled profanities regarding President Serzh Sargsyan. An evidently emotional Azaryan was responding to a video clip that recently appeared on the Internet showing that the Olympics champion left the podium, after praising the president, and mumbled some expletives about Sargsyan.

“I sincerely can say that I feel terrible right now. Why would I ever defame our leader? I saw the internet clip and what I say is that if Serzh Sargsyan became president our situation would improve…and then I suddenly shake my head and…Such a thing isn’t possible,” said Mr. Azaryan, a gold medal winner in the 1956 and 1960 Olympics representing the Soviet Union.

“If I actually said such a thing, it should have been exposed two years ago. Someone is evidently out to get me and smear my name. The people behind this should be severely punished so that they understand that such a thing isn’t possible,” stated the 80 year-old Azaryan, arguing that the video clip is doctored.

He confessed that he doesn’t remember when the tape was made or by whom. “I’m now looking into the matter and se who distributed this video.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

"Go, Armenia!" in and out of frame

December 8, 2009
7or.am
December 08, 2009 23:25

http://www.7or.am/hy/news/2009-12-08/9001/



Yesterday evening a video was uploaded to Youtube which is footage of the 2008 presidential election campaign where actor Hrant Tokhatyan and Olympic champion Albert Azaryan urge the electorate to cast their votes for Serzh Sargsyan, the candidate from the Republican Party of Armenia.

This very footage, however, never made it to the final cut. Albert Azaryan and Hrant Tokhatian literally cuss out Serzh Sargsyan, then the prime minister and presidential candidate, and Yervand Zakharyan, the former mayor of Yerevan.

It needs to be mentioned that after becoming president Serzh Sargsyan appointed Zakharyan head of the state committee of the real estate cadastre. He still works there.

7or.am tried to find out who had uploaded the video material and what purpose it served. However, we've been unable to reach Samvel Farmanyan, the Armenian president's press secreteray, and Hrant Tokhatian. Our phone calls were not answered by the press office of the state committee of real estate either.

As for Albert Azaryan, he told 7or.am that it's only a provocation:

"How could Albert Azaryan possibly cuss out his president like that? It's all made up. It was intentionally done to compromise me. Those fools' mouths need to be shut up. I'd like you to know that I will never say such a thing," assured us A.Azaryan.

Eduard Sharmazanov, press secretary of the Republican Party of Armenia, said that he doesn't comment on such negligible things like who uploaded what on youtube.

"I voice commentary on political statements and actions," said Sharmazanov adding that he was unaware who were involved in the filming crew in charge of producing video clips for the presidential campaign.

He, nevertheless, mentioned that Serzh Sargsyan's pre-election headquarters organized the campaign. By the way, the leader of Serzh Sargsyan's pre-election campaign was Hovik Abrahamyan, the incumbent speaker of the Armenian parliament. As far as the filming crew is concerned, it was Sharm. We will be trying to find out how that footage appeared online and whether all other people filmed within the project were campaigning for Serzh Sargsyan against their will.

The speaker of the Republican Party has shared his opinion on what purpose all this serves.

- I wouldn't want to go that far and oppose the second and the third presidents. And I would advise those people who set them against each other and want to get bonuses or to hike up their ratings not to play such dangerous games and, as the saying goes, don't fish in muddy waters. The Republican Party has worked with Robert Kocharyan for 10 years very successfully and normally within the coalition framework. And today. along with Srerzh Sargsyan, we realize our policy.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Go, Armenia!



video

Albert Azaryan: I think that after his election our Armenian people can be in a very good condition. And the purpose of this struggle is not only, say, Serzh Sargsyan’s election… Ah, fuck Serzh's mouth44…

Hrant Tokhatyan: As for the army - we have it. As for the city, it still needs to be created… Er… no, the thing about Yerevan didn’t work… Well, it won’t do. Yervand Zakharian is an a faggot (gyot)! How else should I put it. А faggot is a faggot? Let’s write it down like this: the mayor is a faggot. Big deal, let this one be that way.

Monday, December 07, 2009

ARMENIA AND UAE TO SIGN HUMAN TRAFFICKING MEMORANDUM

Tert.am
17:07 ~U 04.12.09


From December 5-7, United Arab Emirates Minister of State for Federal National Council Affairs Anwar Gargash will visit Armenia.

Planned during the visit are meetings with His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians; RA Prime Minister Tigran Sargsyan; RA Vice Prime Minister and RA Minister of Territorial Administration Armen Gevorgyan; and RA Minister of Foreign Affairs Edward Nalbandian.

After the meeting, the ministers will sign a Mutual Understanding Memorandum on cooperation in the fight against human trafficking between the UAE Human Trafficking Committee and the Republic of Armenia council that deals with issues of human trafficking, announces the RA Ministry of Foreign Affairs.


UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs due in Armenia

armradio.am
05.12.2009 11:15


UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Mohammed Gargash is arriving in Armenia today.

Within the framework of the visit the Minister is expected to meet the Catholicos of All Armenians Garegin II, Prime Minister Tigran Sargsyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Territorial Administration Armen Gevorgyan and Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian.

The delegation headed by Anwar Gargash will visit Tsitsernakaberd to lay a wreath at the memorial to the Armenian Genocide victims.

The Foreign Ministers of Armenia and the United Arab Emirates will sign a Memorandum of Understanding on cooperation in fighting human trafficking. The signing ceremony will be followed by a joint press conference.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Turkish Officials Admit To Playing Games With Protocols

By Harut Sassounian
Publisher, The California Courier



With each passing day, the games Turkish officials have been playing with the Protocols are becoming more obvious and ridiculous!

Throughout the long months of negotiations, I repeatedly warned that Turkish officials were not sincere in their announced intention of opening the border with Armenia and establishing diplomatic relations. By acting as if they were seeking reconciliation with Armenia, Turkish leaders simply wanted to prevent further acknowledgment of the Armenian Genocide by third countries, extract maximum concessions from Armenia on Artsakh (Karabagh), and block future territorial demands from Turkey.

Turkey first dragged out the negotiations until right before April 24 to preclude Pres. Obama from keeping his promise on recognizing the Armenian Genocide. The Protocols were finally signed on October 10, to ensure that Pres. Sargsyan does go to Turkey to attend the soccer match between the national teams of the two countries.

Meanwhile, Turkey’s leaders were repeatedly announcing that they would not open the border and their Parliament would not ratify the Protocols until Armenia returned Artsakh to Azerbaijan -- even though there is no such requirement in the signed documents. More than a month has now passed since the signing of the Protocols in Zurich, but there are no signs that the Turkish Parliament would ratify them anytime soon.

Just before signing the Protocols, Turkey’s President Abdullah Gul and Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu traveled to Azerbaijan to pledge once again that they had no intention of opening the border with Armenia until Artsakh was returned to Azerbaijan.

As if these outrageous pre-conditions were not sufficient to shake Armenians’ confidence in the Protocols, Turkish officials made no attempt to hide their deceptive designs.

The October 5th issue of the Turkish newspaper Hurriyet quoted Foreign Ministry officials in Ankara as stating: “The formation of a joint history commission and re-opening the border are included in the documents. However, they can be put into effect only after a solution is found to the Karabakh issue. Without a solution to the Karabakh conflict, these protocols cannot be transferred to Parliament. Even then, Parliament would not adopt it. So, relax.”

To convince the Azerbaijanis that Turkey had no plans to ratify the Protocols, Turkish Foreign Ministry officials boasted about their success in deceiving Europeans on another agreement: “Turkey had to sign a protocol with the European Union on the Cyprus issue. What happened? Did Turkey open its seaports and airports to Cypriot vessels and airplanes, after four years?”

We now have solid evidence that these Turkish officials were not making an idle boast when they indicated that signing an agreement means nothing to them. In the Oct. 25 issue of “Today’s Zaman,” commentator Ercan Yavuz cited dozens of examples of agreements signed by Turkey, but not ratified, after the passage of many years! At present, there are 146 agreements with 95 countries, including Argentina, Azerbaijan, Libya, Slovenia, Sweden, and Syria, awaiting the approval of the Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Commission. The oldest -- an agreement signed 26 years ago between Iraq and Turkey -- is still pending ratification by the Turkish Parliament. Many other important agreements have been signed since 2004, but still not ratified!

Given the Turkish record of not taking seriously commitments made on behalf of their country, it should not come as a surprise to anyone that the Turkish Parliament would not ratify the Armenia-Turkey Protocols anytime soon. Of course, by not ratifying the Protocols, Turkey would be breaking its written pledge of August 31, to ratify the Protocols in a “timely” manner.

Interestingly, Armenia’s Foreign Minster Edward Nalbandian, in a recent interview with Reuters, asked: “Why sign the Protocols, if they are not going to be ratified?” The answer is obvious: The Turkish government is interested in creating a positive image for itself in front of the international community by appearing to want “good neighborly relations” with Armenia, without actually taking any concrete steps to do so.

Armenia’s officials are sadly mistaken if they believe that Turkey would come under intense international pressure, should it not ratify the protocols. Time and again, Turkey has proven its immunity from pressures applied by other countries, including the United States, as was the case on the eve of the Iraq war when Turkey refused to allow U.S. Troops to cross its borders to enter Iraq.

If pressured from outside, Turkish leaders would simply blame Armenia, by pointing out that it has not made any concessions on Artsakh, thereby making it impossible for the Turkish Parliament to ratify the Protocols.

Armenian officials have repeatedly stated that the Artsakh negotiations are unrelated to the Protocols and that the Armenian Parliament would not ratify the Protocols before Turkey, adding that they would scrap the agreement, if Turkey failed to act in a “timely” manner.

It remains to be seen whether Armenia would keep its pledge of not making any territorial concessions on Artsakh; and should Turkey refuse to ratify the Protocols after the lapse of several months, would Armenia’s leaders have the courage to declare the signed Protocols null and void?

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Marashlian: Accepting the History Sub-Commission Is Like Snatching Defeat from the Jaws of Victory

By Levon Marashlian

The dangers of the sub-commission on the "historical dimension" are so obvious that it is difficult to understand why so many supporters of the Armenian-Turkish protocols do not see them. Some Armenians who support the sub-commission do acknowledge the risks, but they also see the possible benefits; some say it will provide an opportunity to discuss consequences of the genocide, others say it may encourage more open debate within Turkey, while others say it may eventually lead Turkey closer to recognition. Supporters do not seem to realize that the chances of benefiting from these possibilities pale in comparison to the probability of suffering the damage caused by the dangers.

Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian emphatically declared "No, and once again, no," to accusations that "we are calling into question the fact of the Armenian Genocide, that we are obstructing the international recognition of the Armenian Genocide." Nalbandian and other defenders of the sub-commission do not see that the Armenian government's willing participation in "an impartial and scientific examination of the historical records and archives," during which the other side will call into question the fact of the genocide, will create a misleading impression that will be skillfully manipulated.

One of the consequences will be that when independent scholars and diasporan organizations continue their work for genocide education and international recognition, it will become harder because the Turkish government and some third parties, armed with or misled by the appearance of progress being made, will have the excuse to say that recognition efforts are not necessary for now, since Yerevan is already talking directly to Ankara about resolving the issue. This has already happened, as when President Obama referenced the Ankara-Yerevan talks to justify reneging on his promise last April.

During meetings of the sub-commission, meanwhile, historians and other experts chosen by Yerevan will want to discuss the consequences of the genocide and will try to reject efforts by the "Turkish side" to engage in denial. And if a debate does take place, the "Armenian side" will probably prevail inside the meeting room. Nevertheless, the process can still be a victory for Turkey outside the room-so long as the process continues-because Turkey's central objective is not to reach a consensus that it was not a genocide, but simply to further distort and delay, to hinder the pursuit of international recognition as we near the year 2015. Turkey will try, but may not expect to "win" the academic argument in the sub-commission. And eventually Turkey might pay a little price in terms of public relations if its true intentions are exposed. Still, Turkey will have succeeded in obstructing-maybe for years-the increasingly successful momentum generated by decades of dedication, sacrifice, sound scholarship, and public advocacy.

Turkish journalist Mehmet Ali Birand's CNN TURK interview in 2005 with Yusuf Halacoglu, the then-president of the Turkish Historical Society, reflected the extent to which this momentum has been succeeding.

Birand, sometimes agitated during the discussion, exclaimed that although academic work on "the Armenian Question" should continue, the time has come to take "political steps, to make gestures, to shock." Halacoglu agreed: "We are not going to change international opinion regarding Armenian Genocide claims only by publishing documents and books. It is necessary to take more serious political steps, for example, by establishing a research commission in the United States, by taking steps that will create a shock." Halacoglu added that the approach Turkey has been using has not worked, and "if things continue this way, in the end we will lose."

Two months later, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan sent a letter to then-Armenian President Robert Kocharian suggesting the establishment of a commission of historians. This "gesture" by Turkey confirmed that the writing of truthful history by Armenian, Turkish, American, Jewish, and other historians, along with the diaspora's advocacy of recognition, was making impressive advances. In this context, with Turkey's back against the wall, the recommendation to form a commission was a decision by an almost-desperate government to stall those advances, with a clever trap. And President Serge Sarkisian has walked right into it.

Levon Marashlian is a professor of history at Glendale Community College.

Armenia Fund Con Job: Former Pres. of Artsakh Arkady Ghukasyan begs for donations


I trust Arkady Ghukasyan less than I trust a used car salesman. Read the story below to see how he is telling the Diaspora what he thinks they want to hear, yet a little too late so that actions can be taken to counter the damage already done by the Armenian government.

I encourage everyone to SEND A STRONG MESSAGE back to Ghukasyan and the President of the Board of Trustees of Armenia Fund, Serge Sargsyan (also the self-elected President of Armenia) BY NOT DONATING TO THE ARMENIA FUND. They are not interested in our opinion (as Serzh himself said "I did not go to the Diaspora to ask them their opinion, I went to tell them what I was going to do..."), so they don't deserve our donations, which in the past very little of it has gone to the projects they were intended for and instead ended up in their, the government workers who somehow turned multi-millionaire pockets.

Anyway, if you want to see what a two-faced kiss ass Ghukasyan is, read the story below.


Former Pres. of Artsakh Arkady Ghukasyan
States Protocols Were Unprofessional; Contained Many Mistakes


He also Describes Armenia's Foreign Minister as Weak and Unprepared


By Appo JabarianExecutive Publisher / Managing EditorUSA Armenian Life Magazine

The Noyan Tapan News Agency reported this week that Arkady Ghukasyan, the former President of Artsakh, currently Armenia's Ambassador-at-Large, and the Vice-President of the Board of Trustees of Armenia Fund has been visiting the United States and Canada to solicit donations ahead of the upcoming Thanksgiving Day Telethon on November 26.

Mr. Ghukasyan started his North American tour with an October 19 reception in North Jersey, New Jersey; continued with an October 24 reception in Montreal, Canada; and as of press time on November 3, he had been present in Los Angeles, in order to solicit donations for the Telethon.

According to several participants, Mr. Ghukasyan's stated purpose of his appearances was to discuss the upcoming Telethon, which will raise money for Shushi.

"However, the bulk of his comments pertained to the Protocols. Overall, his performance was reported to be fairly polished. He admitted various weaknesses and shortcomings in the Protocols throughout this process. At the same time, he defended the President's integrity and patriotism. In criticizing the Protocols, he did very little sugarcoating; in fact, he probably went beyond the call of duty. Overall, his comments left the audience slightly off-balance -- happy over criticisms that were quite strong at times, yet cynical as folks realized that his criticisms were mainly designed to placate us, not to change anything substantial," reported one participant.

Mr. Ghukasyan, who several months ago was appointed as Armenia's Ambassador-at-Large by Pres. Serge Sargsyan, said that he was aware of and understands the Diaspora's dissatisfaction with the Protocols. He further claimed that he shares those feelings, and sees them to be justified. He acknowledged that Armenia's Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian is very weak and unprepared.

Mr. Ghukasyan stated that he "realizes that dialogue with the Diaspora occurred very late in this process, and that was a mistake also; that he could not understand how bright Diaspora Armenian minds weren't included in the process, as they can offer their know-how in dealing with such issues," especially when -- as Mr. Ghukasyan underlined -- "fighting against Turks on the battlefield is easier than dealing with them in a diplomatic war. For the latter, Armenia is in serious need of advisors," he reportedly said.

Mr. Ghukasyan claimed that he "has privately expressed his displeasure about the Protocols to the President, ten times more than Diaspora's complaints." At the same time, while the Protocols are sub par, they are not fatal and "we need to develop loopholes and adopt new laws to protect ourselves."

He even noted that "it's possible that Pres. Sargsyan made a mistake, but he is a sincere and patriotic person who has taken a heavy responsibility on his shoulders," appealing to everyone "to support the President, not to oppose him."

In a related note, Mr. Ghukasyan acknowledged that Armenia went into this "not fully appreciating the impact of the Protocols, and that it must work on that; and that "Genocide recognition is something that Armenia wants and it is not negotiable."

In an attempt to relieve Armenia's current leadership of comprehensive responsibility on core issues affecting all Armenians, Mr. Ghukasyan urged the Diaspora "to continue its fight for Genocide recognition, and that no one, not even Armenia, has the right to prevent it from doing so." A donor underlined that in saying this, he evaded the question of whether Armenia itself bears responsibility for pursuing this issue, until members of the audience stated that Armenia and Diaspora should be working together, to which he agreed and moved on.

As for Artsakh, he said no one is prepared to give up a single village from the liberated territories.

Regarding fund raising, he claimed that the Azeris are watching closely, reminding his audience that "If we don't raise enough funds for Shushi, the Azeris will immediately say that Shushi is not that important for Armenians." This rang hollow -- a shallow fund raising ploy.

He concluded by lavishly praising a number of well-known sponsors in the audience, again to prepare the ground for fund raising.

While several influential members of the Armenian-American community embraced Mr. Ghukasyan's message with apprehension, there is no doubt that Armenians worldwide should rally around Armenia-Artsakh and forge ahead with their economic and moral solidarity.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Ter-Petrosian Aligns Himself with Sarkisian

www.asbarez.com
By Ara Khachatourian on Nov 12th, 2009


Armenian National Congress leader Levon Ter-Petrosian, in a speech to his supporters on Wednesday, said his party was ready—in principle—to recognize Serzh Sarkisian’s legitimacy if the president agreed to cooperate with his group on challenges facing Armenia. In his remarks, Ter-Petrosian also defended some aspects of Sarkisian’s policy on Armenia-Turkey relations and attacked the Armenian Revolutionary Federation and other “extreme nationalists” for their opposition to the protocols process.

Ter-Petrosian criticized the ARF for asserting that by signing the protocols the Sarkisian administration has relinquished its right to demand reparations and territorial claims resulting from the Genocide. Ter-Petrosian claimed that such a posturing has allowed Sarkisian to “present himself to the world as a realistic and resolute statesman worthy of the 21st century.”

The former president said that the principle of “historical rights” was unacceptable within the context of international relations and norms, adding that ARF’s positions, which he characterized as calling for “Turkey’s unconditional capitulation” are aimed at aborting the normalization process, which he said was extremely critical for Armenia.

Ter-Petrosian said he prefers the normalization to take place on the basis of mutual concessions and a display of good will, stressing that for his Armenian National Congress the only unacceptable provision of the protocols was the creation of a historical commission, which he said, will cast doubt on the veracity of the Genocide. He also explained that the commission would alienate the Diaspora, whose existence depends on the Genocide recognition issue. He added that it was “unfortunate” that the Diaspora was so focused on the Genocide issue, since he would prefer for the Diaspora to exert its energy on strengthening Armenia’s statehood.

Ter-Petrosian downplayed Sarkisian’s role in some of what the ARF and others have been criticizing him for and instead shifted the blame to Robert Kocharian, Vartan Oskanian and through his own distorted view of history he accused the ARF of relinquishing territorial claims by adhering to the Kars Treaty. Ter-Petrosian said that Sarkisian inherited the territorial issues, as well as the so-called “Madrid Principles,” on which the Karabakh peace process is based from his predecessors.

The former president reiterated his firm assertions that Sarkisian has made “unforgivable” concessions in order to gain support from the West, at a time when he lacked domestic legitimacy. While repeating his call for Sarkisian’s resignation, Ter-Petrosian signaled that it was not too late for Sarkisian to seek legitimacy by agreeing to cooperate with his forces.

Two top Armenian National Congress officials confirmed that Ter-Petrosian’s speech was, in fact, a call for cooperation.

The ARF’s political director Giro Manoyan on Thursday hit back at Ter-Petrosian saying his overtures to Sarkisian have displaced him as a top opposition leader.

Manoyan also said that Ter-Petrosian was willing to make a deal with his long-time adversary because he supports the defeatist protocols and sees no role for himself as an opposition force and is eager to ensure his survival in the political arena.

Perhaps his own accusation that Sarkisian’s concessions were made to secure legitimacy from the West is propelling his current stance, which he emphasized was the only genuine political assessment of the current situation in Armenia.

For a historian, Ter-Petrosian demonstrated quite a skewed grasp on historical facts beginning with his accusation that the ARF signed the Kars Treaty and concluding with his now militant opposition to the historical commission.

He seems to have forgotten that what led to his resignation was his willingness and readiness to relinquish land for a Western-backed peace deal for Karabakh. Who can forget his ill-conceived Meghri-Lachin land swap deal?

It’s glaringly evident that the person seeking legitimacy is Ter-Petrosian himself. His polarizing rhetoric, which contradicted his own presidential policies, has reached a dead end and he must now sit down with his former defense and interior minister Serzh Sarkisian to discuss what else but the Turkish-Armenia rapprochement, which was a focal point of his own failed policies, of course with the requisite vitriol directed at the ARF.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

NALBANDYAN DOES NOT FEEL "EMBARRASSED AND INSULTED"

news.am
Oct 30 2009
Armenia


Armenian journalists had a first chance of interviewing RA FM Edward Nalbandyan after the Protocols' signing in Zurich due to his Belorussian counterpart, Sergey Martynov's visit to Yerevan. Time was limited as usual, but Nalbandyan managed to make several thrilling statements, NEWS.am correspondent reports.

Asked whether he felt himself "embarrassed and insulted" during the Protocols' signing, when those opposing the documents and pressurizing the signing were standing behind him, Nalbandyan said: "I do not know who is supposed to feel embarrassed. Probably the one suffering from masochism."

According to Nalbandyan, those standing behind (U.S. Secretary of State, French and Russian Foreign Ministers and EU officials-NEWS.am) were the "mediators and allies, but by no means the pressurizers."

"All states except for one or two supported the process and did not pressurize us. It was Armenia's initiative. We reached the agreement jointly with Turkey," Nalbandyan underlined. "The days when one could think that Armenia can be forced to do something under the pressure are gone," RA Foreign Minister stated.

###

If the signing of the protocols was a non-pressured act by the present day Armenian government as FM Nalbandyan claims it was, then we need a change the government and look for one that is looking out for the peoples interests not their personal gains.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Maybe One of the Biggest Blunders in Armenian History

By Dr. Levon Marashlian

Normalization of Armenian-Turkish relations is a natural and necessary goal but the road to that good goal President Serzh Sarkisian has embarked on, with the signing of the Armenian-Turkish Protocols on October 10, will undermine Armenia’s long-term national interests, impede efforts to move Turkey closer to recognizing its responsibility, and violate the Diaspora’s fundamental right to participate in the formulation of policies involving the legacy of the Armenian Genocide. A careful reading of the Protocols makes it clear that Armenia is being pressured to sacrifice too much, by paying a terribly high price for an open border—and this at a time when Turkey, America, Europe, and Russia need the border opened as much, if not more, than Armenia does.

Proponents of the Protocols have been repeating like a broken record that there are no preconditions. “No, and again, no,” Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian exclaimed before the National Assembly on October 1. But Nalbandian’s spoken words blatantly contradict the printed words in the protocols. If we exclude the possibility that he and other proponents are lying, the only way to understand their weirdly unbelievable denial is to apply the following twisted logic: from the moment one side accepts the other side’s preconditions, then we can pretend that they are no longer preconditions—now they are mutually accepted terms of agreement. It’s a primitive game. Yet the end result is the same: one side indeed has accepted the other side’s preconditions.

The Protocols contain at least two major, long-standing Turkish preconditions: establishing a history commission and confirming the 1921 Treaty of Kars. The euphemistic wording in the document fails to camouflage the transparent reality. Insisting that there are no preconditions, insults the intelligence of everyone concerned.

Precondition: The History Sub-Commission

In response to accusations that “we are calling into question the fact of the Armenian Genocide, that we are obstructing the international recognition of the Armenian Genocide,” Nalbandian declared: “No, and once again, no.” Nalbandian fails to understand that the process put into motion by the Protocols, the mere existence of a history sub-commission to conduct “an impartial and scientific examination of the historical records and archives,” and the overall tone of the Protocols, signals to the world that the Armenian government considers it acceptable to help organize and participate in an official study during which the other side will call into question the fact of the Genocide. This signal will be exploited.

One of the consequences will be that when independent scholars and Diaspora organizations continue efforts for genocide education and international recognition, their task will become more difficult because the Turkish government and some third parties, some US Congressmen for example, armed with or misled by the impression of progress being made, will have the excuse to say that recognition efforts are not necessary for now, since Armenia and Turkey already are working on resolving the controversy themselves. In diplomacy and public opinion, impression is often more important than reality.

Historians and other experts appointed by Yerevan to the sub-commission will want to discuss consequences of the Genocide and will try to rebuff efforts by the “Turkish side” to negate the veracity of the Genocide. And if the sub-commission does fall into the trap of such a debate, the “Armenian side” likely will prevail inside the meeting room. Nevertheless, the process can still be a victory for Turkey outside the room—so long as the process continues—because Turkey’s central objective probably is not be to reach a consensus in the sub-commission that it was not a genocide, but simply to muddy the water even more, to hinder the pursuit of international recognition as we near the year 2015. Turkey will try, but may not expect to “win” the academic argument in the sub-commission. And eventually Turkey might suffer a little public relations setback if its insincerity is exposed. Still, Turkey will have succeeded in obstructing, perhaps for years, the increasingly successful momentum generated by decades of dedication, sacrifice, sound scholarship, and public advocacy.

The Ottoman government slaughtered and starved the Armenian people to death. Today’s Turkish government seeks to stall and “study” the Genocide’s history to death.

Exploiting the Protocols’ process to delay recognition is not something that might happen. It already has happened. This year, all the factors were in place for President Barack Obama to recognize the Genocide. Then the blow came on April 6 in Turkey: “I want to be as encouraging as possible around those negotiations which are moving forward and could bear fruit very quickly very soon. And so as a consequence, what I want to do is not focus on my views right now but focus on the views of the Turkish and the Armenian people. If they can move forward and deal with a difficult and tragic history, then I think the entire world should encourage them.”

What we now recognize as the Protocols gave President Obama the opportunity to renege on his strong campaign promise. Twisting the knife in deeper, the State Department pressured Yerevan to agree to have the “Roadmap” to the Protocols announced two days before April 24. Widespread outrage was the reaction among Armenians to this cruel humiliation by Washington and the scandalous capitulation in Yerevan.

Precondition: Confirming Kars

“Personally, I am proceeding to solve problems,” President Sarkisian declared in his unpersuasive opening statement to Armenia’s political parties on September 17. Then he asked a question: “If we have closed any door for the solution of any problem, I ask you to tell me what door we have closed.”

The doors the Protocols seem to close are right in front of him. “Confirming the mutual recognition of the existing border between the two countries as defined by the relevant treaties of international law” is a pivotal sentence in the protocols. It is obvious how Ankara and most other interested parties will interpret that sentence. Yusuf Kanli wrote in Hurriyet on September 15 that “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 a “recognition by Armenia is no less than declaring it has no territorial claims from Turkey” and that “it has turned a cold shoulder” on the Diaspora’s “land claims from Turkey.” Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu also said the sentence referred to Kars (and the Treaty of Moscow) when he presented the Protocols to the Grand National Assembly on October 21.

Although this will likely become the conventional wisdom, there may be alternative ways to interpret the Protocols’ sentence. In his address to the nation before the scheduled signing ceremony in Zurich, President Sarkisian, apparently spurred by the widespread protests in Armenia and the Diaspora, announced for the first time an interpretation that gives the impression that he thinks this door is still cracked open: “The issue of borders between Armenia and Turkey is a question to be solved in line with international law. The protocols do not say any more than this.” Did he offer this alternative interpretation because he believes in it, or to lull critics into complacency? In either case, whatever his strategy is, the way he is executing it is dangerously risky.

This brings to the fore the question of legitimacy versus possibility. It is safe to say that virtually all Armenians want international and Turkish recognition of the Genocide and believe that claims are historically legitimate, in principle. Some believe, however, that it is wishful thinking to expect anything material from Turkey, especially territory, although recognition is essential and feasible. Some believe the maximum is possible. According to a middle-ground view, it is no longer realistic to expect the maximum Turkey owes, no matter how legitimate the claim, but nevertheless, there are alternative, innovative, creative, flexible, unprecedented compromise options that, under certain circumstances sometime in the future, may be palatable for Ankara in view of certain concurrent dividends for Turkey.

Whichever view Armenians may hold, it is a certainty today that the legitimacy of claims is confronted by the appearance of impossibility—yet there are important questions:

1. If it is true that receiving something material can never be a possibility, why is that in 2005 the Turkish National Security Council ordered that access to Ottoman land records be restricted because of concern that these documents may become “material for ethnic or political exploitation”?

2. Why is it that one of the first things Turkey did after Armenia gained independence in 1991 was to demand that Yerevan confirm Kars?

3. Why did Turkey want an implicit reference to Kars in these protocols?

4. Why is that Turkey is not satisfied with the routine acknowledgment of the existing border that Armenia already granted when it joined the United Nations?

5. Why is it that Turkey refuses to have normal relations with Armenia while simultaneously allowing for the existence of a territorial dispute collecting cobwebs in an old file cabinet in a dusty back room, like the over 100 members of the UN that have normal relations and open borders even though they still have territorial disputes?

It is ironic that Abdullah Gul, Recep Tayip Erdogan, and Ahmet Davutoglu appear to understand the historical legitimacy of Armenian claims more than Serzh Sarkisian, Tigran Sargsyan, and Edward Nalbandian.

The closing doors President Sarkisian asked about are the complex possibilities of Armenia securing an equitable degree of justice for the Genocide sometime in the future—admittedly a daunting task. Evidently he does not see these doors because, from a “realistic” perspective, such possibilities do not seem to be in the realm of feasibility. Therefore, since it will never be possible to get an adjustment of the border anyway, he may be thinking, it is better to confirm Kars now, in order to benefit today from an open border.

On the other hand, concerning properties, he mentioned in his April 23 Wall Street Journal interview the idea of putting on the table the issue of thousands of “historic Armenian monuments.” But it seems he does not see that the door hinged to the territorial issue is hinged to other doors, which are hinged to recognition of the Genocide as well as property claims, including his own stated interest in churches and other cultural treasures.

There is reason to believe that the reason behind Turkey’s denial is not only national pride and Turkish identity, but also a concern over the possibility (however slight) of material consequences arising out of recognizing one of the greatest crimes against humanity. Confirming Kars can weaken Armenia’s negotiating position regarding other (non-territorial) issues that are also vital for the Armenian people.

Recognition and Justice are Directly Connected to Armenia’s Future

Protocol Promoters like to say that although we must never forget the Genocide, we need to focus on Armenia’s present and future. Protocol Promoters do not seem to share the belief that securing recognition with restorative justice is directly connected to Armenia’s present and future.

The Genocide is the pivotal reason why Armenia is in the precarious predicament it is in today. Mismanagement, greed and corruption since 1991 are also reasons of course, but the colossal human, cultural, territorial, and material loss suffered as a result of the Genocide is the main factor. The primary purpose of the deportations and massacres and the invasion of Armenia in 1920 and the imposition of the crushing treaties of Alexandropal, Moscow, and Kars, was to eliminate entirely or to cut the Armenians and Armenia down to unsustainable levels, to reduce the Armenian people to insignificance in the region.

The result today is that if Armenia remains constricted by its current resource base, population size, and geopolitical situation, it will remain perilously vulnerable and dependent on foreign aid and remittances from the Diaspora, which probably will not be enough to develop sufficient prosperity to reverse the alarming demographic trend and ensure its national security. An open border may be a net gain for the economy, but will it be enough to produce the degree of prosperity and security to save the country from being independent in name only? All Armenians must hope so, but based on the evidence available today, banking on that hope is a shaky gamble.

Without a major augmentation of its preparedness for self-preservation, Armenia can get along for some time with outside support, but its future does not look bright. To overcome this reality which, again, is mainly a consequence of Turkish policies from 1915 to 1923, to increase Armenia’s chances of survival as a viable state, it is extremely important to find an equitable solution to the Genocide issue. In any event, even if getting justice is an impossibility, it does not negate the fact that it is a necessity for boosting Armenia’s ability to survive with dignity and security.

This issue is also related to millions of personally innocent Turks who are unjustly forced by their dishonest government to be burdened by the albatross of a dishonorable denial. The Turkish people deserve from their government a meaningful atonement for the Genocide. A simple apology, however, would be only a hollow halfway measure which would carry with it little sincerity, and would not be in the spirit of true reconciliation, when Turkey’s refusal to consider restorative justice maintains the consequences of the crime and perpetuates Armenia’s poverty and precarious situation.

International Pressure and National Pride

President Sarkisian deserves some sympathy for the powerful outside pressure he has been facing. But in response to the diplomatic pressure and interrelated physical dangers, especially Russia’s ability to freeze, starve, and otherwise strangle Armenia, was he and Nalbandian (and previous policymakers) armed with the most effective arguments for linking what is good for Armenia with what is good for Russia and other countries?

America, Europe, and Russia expect to benefit greatly from an open border—a nice little Armenian carpet they are getting virtually for free, over which they can carry cargo and energy. Turkey especially will benefit, in many ways. Yet Turkey’s only real contribution to the deal is to open a border that Turkey itself chose to close in 1993, which Turkey would be required to open anyway, as part of its bid for EU membership. Armenia, meanwhile, is being required to forfeit its potential options in the future for augmenting its ability to survive, its honor and dignity, its ability to claim its right to justice for a catastrophic atrocity that U.S. Army General James Harbord, in 1919, called “this most colossal crime of all ages.”

With more skillful diplomacy, coordinated with the under-utilized capabilities of the Diaspora, Armenia’s negotiators might have been able to leverage their country’s position to get a better deal—because at this moment in history, at least for now, Armenia has a monumental moral cause of historic dimensions that is globally respected, and also a piece of real estate that powers in the East and West consider valuable for their own interests.

But Armenian governments have failed, starting with Levon Ter Petrosian, continuing with Robert Kocharian, and now with Serge Sarkisian (whom I favored over Ter Petrosian in the 2008 election, not knowing he would move toward Ter Petrosian’s policy regarding Turkey). Yerevan has failed, for example, to develop the most effective arguments in defense of Armenia’s national interests in general and toward the Karabakh conflict in particular, while its performance in media and public relations has been mediocre.

And now the Armenian people have come to this—the threshold of an ignominious defeat that may be remembered, depended on the outcome, as one of the greatest blunders in all of Armenian history: “By inviting Turkey’s President to Armenia and initiating this whole process, my purpose has been to open a window of opportunity for Armenia and Turkey to normalize bilateral relations, to show that the nation that experienced the devastation of Genocide, and the Armenian state, resolute and faithful to its people’s pain, has enough strength to be the first to extend a hand and to point out the senselessness of moving against the course of world development.” How sad.

Imagine a case of two families in the same neighborhood. It would be so demeaning that the leaders of the descendants of the victims of murder, rape, torture, and theft of their family’s land, heritage, property, precious heirlooms, and even countless numbers of its children, would want to be “the first to extend a hand” to the leaders of descendants of the murderers, rapists, torturers, kidnapers and thieves who continue to deny their ancestor’s crimes, who even claim that the victimized family itself was guilty, who continue living in relative luxury enjoying the fruits of the plundered property, while the victims’ descendants still suffer in a little corner of the neighborhood, in relative poverty, and denied access to the best road in the vicinity.

And that’s not all. As if they did not get enough in the Protocols, Turkish leaders have been adding insult to injury by making not-so-veiled threats that they will not open the border until Armenian forces withdraw from strategically critical regions and until the Karabakh conflict is settled. Yet Sarkisian has been insisting that Karabakh is not a precondition of normalizing relations. In the Wall Street Journal on October 7, Prime Minister Erdogan contradicted Sarkisian, pushing him into an embarrassing position by declaring that “although the Armenians sometimes say this agreement has nothing to do with the Azeris, there is in fact a relationship.” Erdogan even intervened in Armenia’s internal affairs by advising Armenia’s President on how he should relate to his own people: “Armenia should not allow its policies to be taken hostage by the Armenian Diaspora.”

Adding more insult to injury, it was revealed just before the signing ceremony that Davutoglu’s after-signing statement included a reference to pre-conditions. This was an overbearing over-reach which was like pouring salt on the open wounds of Armenia’s assaulted pride. This brazen, in-your-face poke in Sarkisian’s eye was too much even for Armenia’s timid government. Nalbandian correctly backed off from signing. For three hours, Mrs. Clinton wooed and cajoled Nalbandian into surrendering to a compromise. Then she gave him a ride in her car to the signing ceremony, where neither side delivered closing remarks.

As the ink was drying on the paper, the expressions on the faces made clear who won and who lost. The smiles of satisfaction and grins of glee on the faces of the diplomats standing behind the signing desk showed no sympathy for the discomfort of their poor Armenian colleague—whose face, in stark contrast, appeared to express a mixture of chagrin, stress, sadness, and perhaps anger that he was struggling to suppress. Nalbandian looked like a beaten man, signing under political duress. Davutoglu’s beaming smile, meanwhile, reflected triumphant happiness over the near-maximum success of his government’s skillful and pushy diplomacy.

And it is to this haughty and unrepentant republican government, successor to the imperial government that carried out the destruction and robbery of the Armenian people, that Armenia’s government wanted to be “the first to extend a hand.” Instead of “enough strength,” Yerevan is showing too much weakness. Yerevan is groveling on the world stage while Ankara is imposing pre-conditions and conditions that are the diplomatic equivalent of raping Armenia again and shoving her government’s face into the mud. It’s a national disgrace.

The Legacy of Today’s Policy

Yet Armenia’s rulers seem determined to go ahead with ratification—like a train speeding down a mountain toward the edge of a cliff. During the negotiations that led Armenia to this historic precipice, if only President Sarkisian had acted more in the spirit of the man I met in happier days in May 1994. Now, after the fateful signing, it will be more difficult to advance the position that, whereas Yerevan has remained true to its long-standing policy of welcoming normal relations and open borders without any preconditions from Armenia’s side, Turkey’s side is imposing preconditions and conditions that insult the memory of over a million victims of the Genocide, preconditions that will undermine in the future the independent existence of impoverished little Armenia, and that, consequently, it is Turkey—big, powerful, wealthy—that can afford more flexibility.

In the end, Serzh Sarkisian, Edward Nalbandian, Tigran Sargsyan, Artur Baghdasaryan, Heghine Bisharyan, Arsen Ghazarian, Galust Sahakyan, Edward Sharmazanov, Vasgen Manukyan, other members of the National Assembly, and all other Armenians who favor the Protocols, should think of how they will appear in history. Will they be remembered as strong or weak? As smart or foolish? As proud or pathetic? As patriots or profiteers? Will their children and grandchildren be proud or ashamed of their names? The President in particular needs to ask himself what his own legacy will be in 5, 10, 50, or 100 years. Will Serzh Sarkisian be praised by future generations of Armenians, or will he be cursed?

___________
Levon Marashlian is professor of history at Glendale Community College

Sunday, October 25, 2009

TWENTY-FIVE ANTI-HAIL STATIONS TO BE INSTALLED

YEREVAN, October 22, /ARKA/. The government of Armenia has decided today to increase its spending for 2009 by 250 million Drams, which will be spent on installment of 25 anti-hail stations in eight provinces of the country.

Agricultural minister Gerasim Alaveridan said the country's agriculture sustains each year $13-$20 million damages caused by different calamities, half of which by hails. The minister said the monitoring of the situation and information from provinces show that virtually all regions of the country suffer from hails.

The minister also said the government of Japan for its part will provide 250 million Drams for installment of 25 anti-hail stations in Armavir and Ararat regions which will help protect a total of 3000 hectares of crops. The stations will be assembled in 2010 spring. ($1 - 387.18 Drams).


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During the war with Azerbaijan in 1993 when we took Aghdam, we captured a brand new, never used, portable anti-hail station that was assembled in a trailer with instruction manuals. The trailer was brought to Martuni where the commander of the region who is now the Minister of Defence in Artsakh, instructed a friend of mine who is an electrical engineer to gut the trailer as he wanted to use it as a bath-house for the army. He tried to convince the commander that we keep it as we don't have one in our region to no avail. The trailer was gutted and worked as a bath-house for about a month before it was decommissioned and take the village of Jardar, where it served the commander for his personal use. To this day we don't have a single anti-hail station in Artsakh and of as the article above states, crop damage from hail represents more than 50% of the damage we sustain each year. That same commander was the one whose brother Arayig had a private milk farm that consisted of cows that were loaned to the army from common people for the sake of providing milk to the army, but later on the cows were decommissioned and privatized by the brother and presumably the commander. I know a few people who are still wondering when they will get their cows back.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

America cashing in their chips

Today the Sarkissyan government has caved in to pressure from the United States Government and signed into what can be called nothing less than a bad deal that will provide little to no benefit to Armenia and her citizens. This has been a long time coming and though it is not yet ratified by Armenia’s mafia dominated Parliament, I would say that it’s a done deal if we don’t see some very extreme changes soon.

I will not get into the details of the deal that was cooked up to open the boarder between Armenia and Turkey (you can read the more important parts of it in the post bellow)so the “President” can go to Turkey to watch a soccer match, but will say that the pressure from the citizens of Armenia and Diaspora was not as powerful as the pressure that the West has been able to exert on the Armenian President who was elected under questionable circumstances that was then followed by some of the worst human rights offenses Armenia has ever seen on March 1, 2008.

Why is the Presidential election and events of March 1st so significant? Well, it’s all very harmful dirt that can effect the Armenian government and their ability to retain power. All the West needs to do is have a change in their stance on the issues, which they intentionally turned a blind eye to and deem then as to what they are, extreme human rights violations, which could allow America for one to cut off aid that the corrupt Armenian government depends on for their own personal wealth and power.

The next calling in our their chips by America will be around the Artsakh issue and us being told to had back strategic lands that we have liberated. This is what the promise America made to Turkey was around the signing of increasing their efforts to resolve the issue.

So what do we have facing us today? We have a very weak government that will jump as high as those governments that can blackmail the Armenian government with the dirt they hold, which can be used to topple them if they don’t do as they are told by the West.

What should be done? The present day government should resign so this very unbalanced deal will not face a vote in front of a Parliament that is as corrupt as the President himself. If this does not happen, then I hate to say this, but we are going find ourselves in a few years up the creak without a paddle.

WAKE UP EVERYONE!!! Our ship is sinking and too many are waiting for a life preserver that is not going to save us in the end since it will probably be made in Turkey.

Preconditions, Protocols and Joint Statement of Five Armenian Organizations

From: Harout Bronozian

To: AGBU Generation Next info@agbugennext.org; AGBU Press Office 2 agbupressoffice2@agbu.org; agbuny agbuny@agbu.org; agbuwb agbuwb@agbu.org; bsetrakian@agbu.org; Western Diocese info@armenianchurchwd.com; ARAMAC-CA ykeshishian@aaainc.org; aramac aramac@aaainc.org; Armenian Assembly of America info@aaainc.org; avaktbrabed@knightsofvartan.org

My article below, written one week ago, indicates how treacherous these five "Armenian" organizations are, especially now that the Armenia-Turkey protocols are signed. Please read it and boycott ALL activities of these organizations and demand the immediate resignations of their top leadership. Specifically Louise Simone, Berj Setrakian, Mihran Aghbabian, Sinan Sinanian, Hovnanians, Hovnan Derderian, Knights of Vartan hidden leadership and others acting behind the scenes. The same boycott should be applied to ALL those who supported these protocols in Armenia and the diaspora. It is about time. Shame on ALL of them.

And please feel free to circulate this e-mail and publish it in your newspaper or respond directly to these five organizations or Armenian Government.

Also view Gevorg Yazedjian's views on the AGBU http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=udJ3NzvgYck



This is in response to the October 1, 2009 Joint Statement of the Western and Eastern Dioceses of the Armenian Church, the Armenian General Benevolent Union, the Knights of Vartan, and the Armenian Assembly of America welcoming President Serzh Sargsyan to the United States.

It is apparent that these organizations either did not read these protocols as well as hundreds of responses and analyses of these protocols published in the Armenian media for the past five weeks; or are not familiar with the past and present anti-Armenian and Genocidal policies and intentions of Turkey; or they have a blind eye on the undemocratic and "abazgain" policies of the present regime in Armenia. It says: "Turkey has now publicly committed to establish normal relations without preconditions". The words "without preconditions" is repeated four times in this Joint Statement.

Let us start with the protocols and see what the facts are.

I. Protocol on the Establishment of Diplomatic Relations between the Republic of Armenia and Republic of Turkey

Paragraph 2 of this protocol. (Precondition 1)



“Reconfirming their commitment, in their bilateral and international relations, to respect and ensure respect for the principles of equality, sovereignty, non intervention in the internal affairs of other states, territorial integrity and inviolability of frontiers.”

This paragraph, true indirectly, in fact fixes the unshakeable nature of Azerbaijan's frontiers ("...nonintervention in internal affairs of other states, territorial integrity and inviolability of frontiers"). That is, Yerevan de facto and de jure should agree that solution to the Nagorno Karabakh conflict is only possible within the framework of Azerbaijan's territorial integrity.

On the other hand the Joint Statement falsely says: "This means that Turkey has for the first time formally dropped its long-held preconditions regarding the Nagorno Karabakh peace process ..."


Paragraph 4 of this protocol. (Precondition 2)

“Confirming the mutual recognition of the existing border between the two countries as defined by the relevant treaties of international law,”

This paragraph meets Ankara's precondition and finally buries all claims of Armenians and Armenia concerning Western Armenia. It also, 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.

II. Protocol on the Development of Relations Between the Republic of Armenia and the Republic of Turkey

6th point: (Precondition 3)


(…) Reiterating their commitment to refrain from pursuing any policy incompatible with the spirit of good neighborly relations.” (…)

This point is a direct intention, and Turkey’s aim, to definitively block international recognition of the Armenian Genocide. Furthermore, this point would be used against any claim or issue Armenia should make concerning the destiny of Armenian cultural and architectural patrimony in Turkey, bilaterally or under international law. Although indirectly, this point could be used against Armenia’s role in the Karabakh conflict, given the close ties between Turkey and Azerbaijan.

Also, (Precondition 4)

“Reiterating their commitment to the peaceful settlement of regional and international disputes and conflicts on the basis of the norms and principles of international law,”

Clear reference is made to the Karabakh conflict, and implies that the Republic of Armenia is no longer entitled to support, help, or contribute to the defense of the Republic of Karabakh.

Among the sub-commissions mentioned, (Precondition 5)

“Implement a dialogue on the historical dimension with the aim to restore mutual confidence between the two nations, including an impartial and scientific examination of the historical records and archives to define existing problems and formulate recommendations, in which Armenian, Turkish as well as Swiss and other international experts shall take part."

This reinforces the fact that Armenia has accepted for the first time ever the creation of a historical commission that might feature historians or politicians from interested third parties in examining the genocide claims. That is, without saying so, the Serzh Sargsyan administration has conceded from the “Genocide is a fact, there is no need to verify it through scientific research or to discuss it” position. The conclusions by a Sub-Commission on the “historical dimension” will not be a binding resolution for Turkey; only recommendations are foreseen. Given Turkey’s track record, it would be highly unlikely that the Republic of Turkey will take any responsibility for the Armenian Genocide based on simple recommendations. Armenia thus is renouncing the process of international recognition of the Armenian Genocide committed in the Ottoman Turkey in the years of World War I. On the other hand the Joint Statement falsely says: "This means that Turkey has for the first time formally dropped its long-held preconditions regarding............. its demands on Armenia with respect to affirmation of the Armenian Genocide.

The complete and detailed analyses of the above was produced by the Swiss-Armenia Association in a position paper on Sept. 8 in Berne and were published in the Armenian media and various web sites such as http://www.armenian.ch/index.php?id=1 or http://stoptheprotocols.com/?s=swiss+armenia+association&x=50&y=6 or http://www.armeniadiaspora.com/news/latest/646-switzerland-armenia-association-opposes-protocols--issues-position-paper.html It seems that the signatories of this Joint statement are simply puppets of the present regime in Armenia.

If ratified by the respective Parliaments of the two Republics, these Protocols will have the value of an international treaty; they will be legally valid under international law, and the parties will assume obligations among themselves. It will not be possible to object to these obligations unless a new treaty, with different content is ratified.

The question is: why is this Joint Statement falsifying these facts? Are the above "emotional debates", or "ongoing mischaracterizations" or "advance other agendas" or does it indicate "the best intentions of the President of the Republic of Armenia", as indicated in this Joint Statement? How can the above preconditions make these five organizations "stand firmly with the Nagorno Karabakh Republic to ensure its freedom and security as well as with all those working for universal affirmation of the Armenian Genocide". Of course "the United States of America and the Obama Administration, as well as France, Russia, and the European Union" would like the reduction of tensions in the South Caucasus each for their own political and economic interests. The same applies for Armenia as well, but that should have been done without endangering Armenia's national security and national interests. Remember that President Serzh Sargsyan's administration did not hold consultations with the leaders and experts of the Armenian Diaspora and Armenia prior the August 31, 2009 protocols. It was kept secret and included concessions as indicated in the above preconditions.

The policies of the signatories of this Joint Statement, since the independence of Armenia from the Soviet Union and before, have always been pro-Western. The leadership of these five organizations have one thing in common. They are all elitist groups and are controlled by the so called Knights of Vartan, a pseudo-masonic organization that agrees with US/Israeli/Turkish policies in the Middle East and the Caucasus. And the above indicated points and paragraphs of the protocols meet the interests of these countries but not Armenia. The Genocidal policies of the Ottoman and Young Turk regime and all those that supported them, is being continued today by Turkey by denying the Armenian Genocide, rewriting its history, spending millions of dollars, and dividing the diaspora from Armenia, a diaspora that Turkey has created.

The present regime in Armenia has approached these protocols very lightly and unprofessionally to say the least, and has not thoroughly evaluated every word and nuances of these protocols. How can a true Armenian of an independent Armenia sign any document with Turkey, for the first time, with such superficial approach, and with such terms is not imaginable. When anyone signs any contract, he or she is bound by the written terms and not by their opinions and wishes not indicated in a contract. These protocols indicate the fact that the present regime do not understand the national and historical aspirations and strategic interests of the Armenian people in Armenia and the Diaspora, and are controlled by unqualified and self interest people. And now President Sarkisyan tours the disapora to consult with their representatives after the fact, when changes can not be applied to these protocols. Whose agenda are these protocols serving and how can the "President of Armenia deserve our support" as indicated in this Joint Statement.

Thousands of Armenians have demonstrated against these protocols all over the world to express their opposition. Why is it that no such demonstrations occurred in Turkey? The answer is simple. Because these protocols are in favor of Turkey and not Armenia. And these five organizations are trying to falsify and cover up simple realities and truths. And it includes two "religious" organizations on top of it!

To conclude, no one is against normal diplomatic relations with Turkey. However the above terms are simply unacceptable for Armenians wherever they are. The position of the signatories of this Joint Statement by the representatives of the AGBU, the Armenian Assembly, Knights of Vartan and the Dioceses is not surprising for me knowing who and what they are.

Harout Bronozian
Tujunga, California


Below is the JOINT STATEMENT OF MAJOR ARMENIAN-AMERICAN INSTITUTIONS WELCOMING THE PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF ARMENIA.

The protocols initialed by Armenia and Turkey present new opportunities and pose new challenges to generations-old issues. We welcome the initiative of the President of the Republic of Armenia in taking a positive approach to the process of normalizing relations with Armenia’s neighbor, the Republic of Turkey. Successive Armenian governments previously offered to normalize relations and reopen the border without preconditions only to be rebuffed by Turkey, which has insisted on Armenians forfeiting Nagorno Karabakh and renouncing the Armenian Genocide, among other conditions. Thus, the protocols announced on August 31st represent a marked change from the past. Turkey has now publicly committed to establish normal relations without preconditions, and the process has yielded remarkable progress.

At the same time, it is also true that this public commitment has been met with widespread skepticism. Conflicting remarks often proffered by Turkish officials contradict Turkey’s formal commitment. Despite such counterproductive comments, it does not change the fact that Turkey's commitment to normalize relations without preconditions has not only been brokered and verified by the Swiss government (a government that is on record affirming the Armenian Genocide), but has also been reinforced by the United States of America and the Obama Administration, as well as France, Russia, and the European Union. This means that Turkey has for the first time formally dropped its long-held preconditions regarding the Nagorno Karabakh peace process and its demands on Armenia with respect to affirmation of the Armenian Genocide.

The explicit fact that Turkey has publicly agreed to normalize relations without preconditions is an important step forward and has seemingly been overlooked during the emotional debate that has followed since the August announcement. We support the public discourse and welcome a vigorous debate regarding this historic development within the parliaments of Armenia and Turkey, as well as throughout the Diaspora. We believe, however, that ongoing mischaracterizations of the general principles and guidelines of the protocols as potential concessions, and then attacking the protocols and the best intentions of the President of the Republic of Armenia based on these mischaracterizations, misguides public opinion and does not serve the best interests of the Armenian people.

The path ahead will not be easy and will undoubtedly involve new twists and turns along the way. That makes it all the more important to understand that this is not the time to advance other agendas at the expense of Armenia's future. At this critical moment, we believe that the President of Armenia deserves our support. We, therefore, welcome President Serzh Sargsyan’s upcoming visit to the United States and other communities in the Diaspora to address the concerns and aspirations for the future that we all share and care about so deeply. We pray for success, wisdom and courage for the participants in this crucial endeavor.

As this process unfolds, there should be no question that we also continue to stand firmly with the Nagorno Karabakh Republic to ensure its freedom and security as well as with all those working for universal affirmation of the Armenian Genocide. At this point in our history, it is time to give the promise of a new approach our support, and we commend those courageous enough to deal directly with Turkey.

Armenian General Benevolent Union •55 East 59th Street • New York, NY 10022, USA. Tel (212) 319 6383; www.agbu.org
Diocese of the Armenian Church of America (Eastern) • 630 Second Ave • New York, NY 10016, USA •Tel (212) 686 0710. www.armenianchurch.org
Diocese of the Armenian Church of America (Western) •3325 N Glenoaks Blvd • Burbank, CA 91504, USA • Tel (818) 558 7474. www.armenianchurchwd.com
Knights of Vartan •11 Crestview Rd• Belmont, MA 02478, USA • Tel (617) 314 6367. www.kofv.org
Armenian Assembly of America • 1334 G Street, Suite 200 • Washington, DC 20005, USA. Tel (202)393 3434; www.aaainc.org


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Other News:



TURKEY-SWITZERLAND MARKS 80TH ANNIVERSARY OF DIPLOMATIC RELATIONS

http://www.hri.org/news/turkey/trkpr/2008/08-11-12.trkpr.html#01

Oct 6, 2009

President Abdullah Gul and his visiting Swiss counterpart Pascal Couchepin yesterday attended a ceremony at a historical museum in Ankara along with other high level Turkish and foreign officials as part of celebrations marking the 80th anniversary of Turkish-Swiss diplomatic relations. Speaking at the ceremony, Couchepin said that Switzerland considered Turkey a strategic partner, and expressed his hope that the cooperation between the two countries would
continue. Pointing to his gladness about signing the Treaty of Lausanne that the boundaries of modern Turkey were recognized through, Couchepin underlined that symbols are also important for ties between the two countries. Couchepin said that he brought the table, on which the Treaty of Lausanne was signed, from his country to give as a gift to Turkey. For his part, Gul characterized the table morally "important", and said that this table will be displayed the best way.

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For Bilateral relations between Switzerland and Turkey see site below.

http://www.eda.admin.ch/eda/en/home/reps/eur/vtur/biltur.html

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Alex Yenikomshyan : Armenia and Turkey Aren’t Ready for Relations

www.hetq.am
[ 2009/10/05 18:06 ]

Member of the “Miatsum” National Initiative Responds to Hetq Questions Re: Protocols

My evaluation of recent developments in Armenian-Turkish relations is negative for a few very clear reasons. It has been stressed that in the protocols, that really have the content of a treaty, there exists al the preconditions that Turkey has sought over the years regarding normalization of relations with Armenia or the opening of borders. There are three such preconditions: issue of the Genocide, recognition of current borders and Artsakh. It appears that Armenia must make major concessions for all three.

Exactly what points in the protocols do you see such preconditions?

Where it talks about the opening of the border it clearly states that the two countries recognize their mutual borders, based on bilateral and international agreements. Here, everything is clear.

Of course, regarding the Genocide, the actual term “genocide” is not noted. But the main focus of the historical sub-committee will be the Genocide. It is not important that the word “genocide” is not stated.

Just the fact that this point exists signifies that the two parties, voluntarily or involuntarily, agree that the Genocide is a topic of debate. This is rejected as a matter of principle by Armenians. When the Armenian side accepts this, it is a slap in the face to the Armenian people.

This will put a halt to all those processes that have taken place all these years internationally for the recognition of the genocide. Such lobbying overseas is essential given that, in the end, it might pressure Turkey in recognizing the Genocide.

The most crucial is the Artsakh matter. Is the matter of Artsakh raised in the so-called protocols or not? The point in the document which states that the two countries agree to recognize the territorial integrity of other nations clearly refers to Artsakh and Azerbaijan.

In addition, if the party representing Armenia believes that it can come to an agreement with Turkey without raising the issue of Artsakh, it is sadly mistaken.

Turkey, which has entered this process, and the international powers that be (which are not only sponsoring but directing this process); see little strategic importance in the opening of the Turkish-Armenian border if it isn’t linked to the Armenia-Azerbaijan stalemate. Thus, whether or not it is literally written in the protocols or not, it essentially exists.

Let us for a moment assume that the borders have opened, that the protocols are put into practice, but that the Artsakh conflict isn’t yet resolved as a result of Armenia-Azerbaijan diplomatic relations.

In that case, we will be faced with a reality where, as a result of the normalization of Armenian-Turkish relations, the influence of Turkey in the region, especially in Armenia, will be greatly expanded.

And we will wind up in a process where negotiations with Azerbaijan will continue but Armenia will find itself in a new set of circumstances.

In other words, up until the opening of the Armenian-Turkish border we had negotiations with Azerbaijan in one set of conditions and later, we will be in another situation where the influence of Turkey, Azerbaijan’s ally, will grow with all the consequences of that growth. Thus, it’s totally ludicrous to state that the Artsakh issue and relations with Turkey are not linked together.

Naturally, given these conditions, a nation that has been subjected to genocide and lost its homeland cannot foster normal relations with the government that represents the nation that perpetuated that crime and still refuses to accept what it has done.

In the set of relations between those two peoples, Armenians will always be in an inferior situation psychologically. And a people belittled cannot come out victorious in future relations.

Furthermore, as long as Turkey refuses to recognize the Genocide it means that it is always able to repeat what it has done. Given such conditions, the crafting of relations poses dangers for Armenia.

After the publication of the protocols many political forces expressed their opposition and some are continuing to organize public actions against their possible signing. President Sargsyan also called a meeting of the country’s political leaders and forces. Do you believe that any of this will have an impact on the authorities in terms of their signing the document or not?

Everything shows that all this has not and will not have an impact on the decision of the authorities. This doesn’t mean however that such actions aren’t warranted.

On the contrary, such protest actions must be continuous. The protocols will be signed around October 10-11. But later there’s the issue of parliamentary ratification.

Given today’s situation, we can have no illusions but that the Armenian parliament will ratify the protocols. Here we come back to the Artsakh issue since for Turkey and the West the issue of Artsakh is directly linked.

They openly state that their parliament will not ratify and that the protocols will not be enacted until Armenian forces pull out of the liberated territories.

Here lies the crux of the matter. If we are able to put a halt to the defeatist and concessionary solution of the Karabakh Issue that is being forced on Armenia, then I believe that the two projects will fail simultaneously. That is to say that if they don’t get the solution to the Artsakh conflict that they demand then the protocols will not be enacted either.

If this is the case, then naturally Turkey will not reopen the border. And many believe that an open border is in our favor.

It is my opinion that Armenia and Turkey aren’t ready for relations today; and it is not only because of the existence of those preconditions.

Even if those preconditions didn’t exist, it is not in Armenia’s best interests to foster relations with Turkey today.

Regardless of the preconditions, Armenia today is sadly in an unfavorable situation in all sectors – economic, social, morally, demographically, etc.

In every sense of the word, Armenia finds itself in a weakened position and there’s a huge difference in the populations of Armenia and Turkey.

One is a huge nation; the other quite tiny. And if we enter into relations with Turkey today, we do so from a position of defeat from the outset.

The case would be different if Armenia was in a healthy position for relations with Turkey.

Given today’s situation we are destined to experience setback and defeat; even without the preconditions. Thus, I believe that when they expect economic growth as a result of the opening of the border this isn’t merely an illusion but outright fraud.

They were saying that for the past six years we have witnessed double-digit economic growth. And this took place with closed borders. What economic calamity are they now referring to when they claim that we can’t experience growth without open borders with Turkey?

If we were able to in the past we can do the same now. Of course we realize that the double-digit growth of the past didn’t go to improving the welfare of the common people but merely lined the pockets of a narrow class at the top.

Now, these same oligarchs wish to expand their financial possibilities via the opening of the border. Thus, the border opening will change little for the country and the bulk of its populace.

There will be changes for that narrow class at the top and they will certainly gain from any border opening. Their imports will grow cheaper but the prices paid by the people will remain the same.