ANCA’s Genocide Dilemma

By Bruce Tasker, Khosq, Yerevan, 23 April 2009

Years of persistent lobbying by the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) has now led to more than 100 members of the US Congress supporting the Armenian Genocide bill, and in the light of Obama’s record on Armenian Genocide, this healthy bipartisan majority should have led to Americas President Obama formally signing on, after the bill had been passed by the Congress and the Senate.

By Bruce Tasker, Khosq, Yerevan, 23 April 2009

Years of persistent lobbying by the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) has now led to more than 100 members of the US Congress supporting the Armenian Genocide bill, and in the light of Obama’s record on Armenian Genocide, this healthy bipartisan majority should have led to Americas President Obama formally signing on, after the bill had been passed by the Congress and the Senate.

Following President Obama’s 6th April remarks before the Turkish Parliament, ANCA’s Executive Director Aram Hamparian commented: "In his remarks today in Ankara, President Obama missed a valuable opportunity to honour his public pledge to recognize the Armenian Genocide. Harut Sassounian followed by writing of his efforts to “expose the Turkish government’s ploy of creating the false impression that Ankara is engaged in serious negotiations to establish diplomatic relations with Yerevan” ……. “Turkey has been exploiting the illusive promise of opening the border in order to pressure Armenia into making concessions on a host of issues, while simultaneously subverting Pres. Obama’s pledge to recognize the Armenian Genocide”.

On the 22nd April, the State Department made an announcement, which was followed by numerous reports in the international news that, according to the Turkish Foreign Ministry “Turkey and Armenia had agreed on a roadmap for normalizing relations and reaching reconciliation”. Add to that Russia’s state television announcement that a ‘document’ had been signed, considered to be ‘historic’, it must be assumed that tomorrow 24th April, the chances of President Obama using the ‘Genocide’ word are all but over.

Turkey, through its determined process of negotiations and manipulations, has not only achieved its priority objective of staving off an otherwise inevitable Obama recognition of Armenia’s Genocide, it has also re-linked normalizing Turkish – Armenian relations to the Armenian – Azerbaijani conflict over Karabakh. The Sargsyan / Nalbandian camp responded with a resounding silence, a signal that they are not too eager to release the details of the ‘roadmap’ or the document’.

The ANCA effort to gain US recognition has to be commended, but why has ANCA been criticising Turkey for doing exactly what it was expected to do, dissuade Pres. Obama from standing by his pledge to recognize the Armenian Genocide. ANCA should have been directing its criticism at Serzh Sargsyan and Eduard Nalbandian; it was they who thwarted the Obama Genocide recognition, not Turkey.

But ANCA has a problem with criticising the Sargsyan regime, which goes back to Armenia’s first President, Levon Ter-Petrossian (LTP). ANCA is made up predominantly of members from the Dashnaktutsiun (Dashnak) Party, which was outlawed by LTP after his victory in the 1991 Presidential election. A number of in-country Dashnak leaders were imprisoned for several years accused of involvement in ‘criminal’ activities. Robert Kocharian forced LTP out of office in 1998 (on the Karabakh issue) and brought the Dashnak Party back from political obscurity. Since then, in contrast to the Dashnaks in the Diaspora, who appear to cling on to traditional and highly commendable Dashnak principles, the Dashnaks in Armenia have disgraced themselves by consistently collaborating with the Kocharian / Sargsyan regime and failing their obligations to the Armenian electorate.

The ANCA was faced with a dilemma; if it had criticised the regime on its Genocide misdealings, then Levon Ter-Petrossian would have been given a boost in his efforts to move back into Armenian mainstream politics, which the Dashnaks in Armenia would not tolerate. The ANCA is also aware that, once in City Hall, LTP would be looking directly at the Armenian Presidential Palace, a major problem for the regime and its faithful co-conspirators, the Dashnak Party. Armenia should therefore not be fooled by a seemingly nationalistic letter from Armen Rostumian, appealing to the US Congress for Genocide recognition; the Dashnaks are in close collaboration with the illegitimate Sargsyan regime in its Genocide ‘Sell-Out’, as it is with all other regime matters.

If the ANCA had directed its criticism and considerable influence at the party actually responsible for Armenia’s failure in this year’s Genocide recognition debacle, then Armenia would have had a much greater chance of celebrating this 24th April as the day which signalled full international recognition of Armenia’s Genocide.

 

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