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


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).


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; AGBU Press Office 2; agbuny; agbuwb;; Western Diocese; ARAMAC-CA; aramac; Armenian Assembly of America;

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

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 or or 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


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;
Diocese of the Armenian Church of America (Eastern) • 630 Second Ave • New York, NY 10016, USA •Tel (212) 686 0710.
Diocese of the Armenian Church of America (Western) •3325 N Glenoaks Blvd • Burbank, CA 91504, USA • Tel (818) 558 7474.
Knights of Vartan •11 Crestview Rd• Belmont, MA 02478, USA • Tel (617) 314 6367.
Armenian Assembly of America • 1334 G Street, Suite 200 • Washington, DC 20005, USA. Tel (202)393 3434;


Other News:


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.


For Bilateral relations between Switzerland and Turkey see site below.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

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