We Condemn the Turkish-Armenian Agreement

Gul_and_Sargsyan

24 April 2009

We, the undersigned, strongly condemn the agreement reached between Turkey and Armenia on the eve of the 94th Anniversary of the Genocide of the Armenians. Carried with haste and absolute absence of transparency, it raises grave concerns. As it stands, it serves only the interests of the authorities in Armenia. They shamelessly caved-in to foreign pressures and interests, thus compromising Armenia’s security and the aspirations of all Armenians.

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69 comments
  1. I join the above group in

    I join the above group in condemning the Turkish-Armenian Agreement. Considering that the majority of 8 million Armenians live outside Armenia and that the current government of Armenia is widely unpopular within and outside Armenia, the Sargssian government has no mandate to represent Armenians, especially on such a crucial issue as relations with Turkey.

    1. turkish-Armenian agreement

      I am against this agreement because this agreement is against  the Armenian peopel and Armenian genocide .

      1. We Condemn

        We condemn strongly any Turkish-Armenian Agreement based on "defeatism". We claim Recognition, Justice and our "Lost historic fatherland" on the table of negotiation. This is final word.
         

        Aram Sepetjian,Writer, Member of  Union of Armenian Writers, Beirut, Lebanon

        1. Justice ?

          There is no JUSTICE in any case in the world, we live in a MAFIA jungle.

          1. Justice

            You are absolutely right about no justice; the only justice that will come is through Jesus Christ because we are the chosen people. Believe in him, return back to Him and justice will be served righteously. As for these recounting events they are desperate attempts to divide the Armenian people but the one who will suffer most is the one who destabilized the rock.

          2. That’s news for me

            That’s news for me.  I never knew that the Armenians were the "chosen people"…can you elaborate please.  Do you have any sources, maybe in the Bible, etc.?

          3. We are the first Christian
            We are the first Christian nation. Thanks for the question

      2. What happened yesterday

        What happened yesterday reminds me of the travails of Sisyphus, the legendary king who was condemned to push the rock up the mountan only to see it roll back –again and again–as he approached the crest.

        Yesterday Obama deliberately waffled by calling the Armenian Genocide "atrocity". The same day  Armenia and Turkey announced a historic agreement that is severely damaging to the Armenian nation. Both events happened on April 24, already one of our saddest days. April 24, 2009 could very well be a turning point in the history of our people. What do we do next about Genocide recognition? How do we make the Armenian-Turkish agrement null and void? Where do we get the leadership and dedication in Armenia and in Diaspora to abandon Sarkissian’s wrongheaded policy and to devise a new strategy about Armenian Genocide recognition? With 20 nations recognizing the Genocide, can we go to The Hague and demand reparations from Turkey? The recommendation for setting up a historians’ commission to study what happened in 1915 is a fig leaf. If Turkey doesn’t like the conclusion, it will simply reject it. By then a lot of our impetus would have dissipated..

        Jirair 

         

         

        1. WE SHOULD BE UNITED

          We should be united under one Diasporan leadership.  We should put aside our differences, and pursue one National GOAL, to continue our efforts in RECOGNITION OF THE ARMENIAN GENOCIDE BY TURKEY!  After all, we are the descendants of the 1.5 millions victims  of THE ARMENIAN GENOCIDE!

          I strongly condemn the agreement reached between Turkey and Armenia on the eve of the 94TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE GENOCIDE OF THE ARMENIANS.

          Maro Badiguian-Shirvanian

          1. If there is an

            If there is an event–actually two events–which should unite the Diaspora it is what happened yesterday. It is high time our political parties, leaders, institutions, intellectuals came together in one voice. Enough of a century of divisivness, bickering and futility. A five-million, united Diaspora would also have a stronger voice in Armenia, in addition to having a better chance of advancing our cause against Turkey. If we don’t unite we will also lose the respect and commitment of the new generation, especially in the Americas.

  2. Enough is enough!

    Count me in.

    In our history we have seen many agreements amongst superpowers of the day plotting how to divide countries and massive continents. Armenia was not spared. But this reminds me Ani’s sellout.

    Enough is enough!

  3. ACNIS Comments on Armenian – Turkish Agreement

    Richard Giragosian, Director, Armenian Center for National and International Studies (ACNIS) has released a statement which includes: "….by agreeing to not only issue a joint statement that clearly conforms to Turkish attempts to distort and deny the historical veracity of the Armenian genocide, but to also release such a statement just two days prior to the traditional April 24th anniversary, the Armenian government has demonstrated an appalling degree of short-sightedness and irresponsibility.  Such a strategic error raises further questions over the sophistication, sincerity and seriousness of Armenian leadership, particularly at such a vulnerable point in Armenian history when the security and status of Nagorno-Karabagh remain unresolved and the future course of democratic and economic reform in Armenia remains in doubt". 

    Read the full statement on Khosq  

  4. I condemn this condemnation

    I condemn this condemnation

    I welcome the declaration, the reconciliation, friendship .

    I condemn Diaspora’s silence about human rights abuses in Armenia and hysteria instead about events which took place 100 years ago.
    1. Turkish Armenia agreement

      Vahe .

      You condemn the condemnation of Turkey Armenia agreement . I don’t know where in the world you live  , what have you done about human rights abuses in Armenia ,? remembering we are talking about the same govenment .

      I my self for the last two summers  marched , demonstrated and sat with the relatives of the abused and who are  in prison with out trials  .

      I am upset with the timing of this agreement .

      Vrejouhy

    2. Misplaced Disapproval

      I believe nobody is against friendship, reconciliation and opening the borders. The condemnation is about the price paid, the details of which are not clear at all.

      You may be partially right that the Diaspora has been silent about the "human rights abuses". Your generalization is faulty. The fact that you are expressing your indignation in a blog which advocates against such abuses in general, and in Armenia in particular, is a vivid testimony against your assertion.

  5. Must Read History to Learn From it

    Members of the Armenian ruling class should have learned from events of 1908. However, to do would have required reading, forming analysis, and understanding that human nature, even as played out in 21st century diplomacy, hasn’t changed much since the days of ancient Greece. There doesn’t appear to be a single shread of analysis in the public domain that concludes that any opening the Turkish border, based on whatever quid pro quo is in play, is — or is not — in the interest of Armenia. It would also have be encouraging for the Armenian FM to have stated just what it thinks are the interests of Armenia, the Armenian people, even in the most broadest sense.

    The extent of potential damage that will result from events that are unfolding remains to be seen. When one bases geopolitical decisions on extracting the maximum amount of monetary gains from intersted parties, the danger down the road is evident.

    It is also not surprsing that the Swiss played a role in this "agreement", as one could expect certain bank accounts to swell in the wake of this secret agreement.

    Vay Mezi

  6. Armenian Turkish Agreement

    I condemn the timing of the Armenian Turkish agreement , both my parents were survivors of the Genocide , is this how we should be remembering April 24 this year ?

    Vrejouhy Atikian.

  7. The Armenian president is leading the nation into a disaster

    An Armenian president that has not been fairly and democratically elected lacks the necessary legitimacy to engage in serious negotiations with Turkey. He feels compelled to do what certain other powerful countries want him to do lest those countries continue to question his legitimacy and his violating the human rights of his people.

    He cannot tell those other countries that the Armenian people will not allow him to make certain concessions to Turkey since those countries know very well that he cares little for, and is not necessarily bound by, what the Armenian people think.
     
    In his negotiations with Turkey over the border issue, the Armenian president has allowed the world to believe that the genocide – an issue that is quite different from the issue of a simple border opening for transit purposes – is somehow up for debate. He has apparently given in – to what degree we do not yet know – to the Turkish demand of setting up some sort of joint historical commission on the 1915 to 1923 genocide, as if somehow even he, the president of Armenia, questions whether the genocide occurred. 
     
    Apparently, the president is not aware that the International Association of Genocide Scholars has explicitly told Turkey that a sufficient number of studies have already been done that prove the factuality of the genocide.  Please see [the letter adressed by IAGS to the Prime Minsiter of Turkey] .
     
    Armenia has long stated that it would not agree to any Turkish “pre-conditions” for a border opening.   Yet Armenia’s president has agreed to the Turkish demand for a historical commission. 
     
    In doing so, the Armenian president has also given the US president an excuse to not use the word “genocide.”   The Armenian president has thus thoughtlessly and unnecessarily undermined the dedicated, decades-long efforts of Armenian Americans and the Diaspora.   He has sown discord within the Armenian nation.
     
    It appears that the Armenian president may also accede to another Turkish pre-condition: formal recognition of the Turkish border, thus perhaps throwing away the chances of, for example, gaining much-needed direct access to the Black Sea sometime in the future.
     
    The Armenian president has also allowed President Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and the international media to depict a mere border opening as “reconciliation,” as if somehow Turkey and Armenia had been “reconciled” before Turkey closed the border in 1993 and simply need an “open border” in order to return to that wonderful condition of “reconciliation.”  The logic is too absurd for words, and the Armenian president is responsible for that.
     
    Certain Armenian political parties that have long had Diasporan support must also take responsibility for the Armenian president’s errors. 
     
    The parties were warned many years ago that Armenia, buffeted by powerful outside forces, may be headed down this road. They were repeatedly warned, even before Armenian independence, that allowing the Armenian Cause to be wrongly perceived as simply a matter of achieving genocide “acknowledgment,” rather than as also gaining reparations and territory, was inviting disaster. Now we see that disaster coming true.
     
    A strong and united response by the Diaspora and the people of Armenia is now necessary to turn Armenia and its president away from the road of capitulation, defeat, and yet another genocide.
     
    1. Armenia’s already a disaster

      Hi David, But Armenia is already a disaster.  The people living inside have been experiencing it for the last 10 years .  From the myopic viewpoint of the Diaspora, whose measure of performance of the Armenian administration is Genocide recognition, the disaster has just begun.

      Enough already about the past.  The best way to commemorate our loss is to help the Armenians who are alive NOW!  Alive now in Armenia…  They need our help in establishing a country with the rule of law.  The starving Armenians exist TODAY.  Over 50% of the Armenian population still lives in poverty, and with the current Armenian administration (oligarchy / emperorship) there isn’t much hope that it will improve.

      Without living in Armenia, I’m afraid Diaspora Armenians cannot put Armenian life and history into perspective.

      1. Class struggle in Armenia

        There exists a CLASS struggle now in Armenia.

        It’s not the "political" struggle the administration would like the world and Diaspora to think via its state-controlled media.  It’s not LTP vs SAS.

        It is the poor and working class vs. the oligarchy.

        This is the "war of independence" for Armenia’s working middle class.

        So far, the Kocharchian-SAS administration has "fought" poverty by removing the poorest of society (with the help of the World Bank / IMF) to other countries: the U.S. in particular.

        What excuse can an Armenian administration have of imprisoning an Artsakh Armenian commander, Jirayr Sefilyan?

        If lax immigration laws are setup between the EU and Armenia, Armenia will finally be depopulated.

        Lamentations over the past are meaningless without (1) learning from the past, and (2) acting with that newly learnt knowledge.

        What we learned from the past is that the Armenian people are alone in securing their existence on their ancestral homeland.  And yet we continue to beg the U.S. (and even more ridiculously Turkey) to acknowledge the veracity of the Genocide.  To act, we need to focus on our INTERNAL self-government in Armenia!   Put checks and balances in place over the PRESIDENT which under Armenia’s constitution has WAY too much power!  We need to embed ourselves inside the government so that we know what is REALLY going on!

        (For example, who is behind these "foreign" companies that own Armenia’s ore mines?  And who own Armenia’s power plants (Sevan hydro cascade, Vorotan hydro cascade, etc.)?  Where are the World Bank, IMF, and Russian loans ACTUALLY going?  What is the actual population of Armenia? etc.)

        The past is gone; only the present and the future are in our hands…

      2. Aram, you are mistaken!
        Diaspora Armenians do care foremost about the well being of the people of Armenia. Please treat this matter with great respect. Whether it was during the second republic, or the third, whether LTP, Kocharian or Sargsyan was in power, the Diasporan Armenians never ceased to help their kins in Armenia. Check your data before you make unnecessary inuendos.

        During the second world war it was with donations from Diasporan Armenians that "Sasountsi Davit Zorasyun" of tanks was built with the conviction that irrespective of under what regime, Armenia’s existence as a country is a sacred duty.

        Please honour the memory of many Diasporan Armenians who sacrificed their utmost for the liberation of Artsakh.

        Regarding the rule of law in Armenia, the Diasporan Armenians have been in a straight-jacket, not because of blindness and not noticing what’s evolving under a regime of oligarchs, but mostly because of a sense of shame and not wishing to hang their dirty linens in the yards of odars. You and your friends need to understand this, if you want a sincere ally in your cause. But, listen very well, the style of demagogues is not that of the Diaspora. Sometimes we have been timid, yes, that’s because of deep sensitivities that only a Diasporan would comprehend.

        Make no mistake, some of the best scholars that have devoted their whole life in studying Armenian history, old and contemporary, are from the Diaspora. They have imparted that knowledge to their people with utmost devotion and in extremely dire circumstances. Please refrain from displaying ignorance about facts.

        Your statement of ignoring the Genocide and concentrating only on the ills of Armenia is contrary to both natural and societal laws. In nature or in society there is no such thing of ceasing a process in order to concentrate or start on another matter. They all evolve together. You seem to have lack of basic knowledge. That’s your second mistake.

        1. No You are mistaken

          It is Armenians from the Republic of Armenia who have gone to Russia (some in the U.S. and Canada) who are keeping the Armenians inside of Armenia alive, it’s NOT the "original" Armenian Diaspora who is.

          The Armenian Diaspora’s contribution is partly compared to the about 50% of Armenia’s GDP which comes as money remittances by Armenians (from Armenia) recently moved to Russia, U.S., and Canada.  (GDP of Armenia was < than $9 billion in 2008 and $2.3 billion were sent in wire transfers through banks and about as much through cash transfers through non-bank means: total about $4.5 billion / $9 billion == 50%)

          There is no question that the Armenian Diaspora has helped Armenia.  That is irrefutable.  But today’s Armenia is being kept by the Armenians of Armenia who have forcibly left their country to work in foreign lands (even in Turkey, yes) from where they send money back to family.  If you don’t know this, then there’s a big disconnect between how you view Armenia and what the reality is.

          1. Well aware
            Dear Aram,

            I am well aware, but you brought up history and historically they compliment each other. If your intent is to prove a point by denegrating, let’s say the traditional Diaspora’s preoccupation with the Genocide by examples of comparing and contrasting, then I would like to be left out of such a polemic, because it serves no purpose.

            Your whole tone throughout your comments has been to try to relegate the issue of the Genocide to a secondary or even a tertiary issue.

            Armenia’s Security is a matter of existence. It’s again the same old issue of "To be or not to be". Turkey, through its manipulations, opening the border – which is a misnomer by the way because we did not close the border – integrating Armenia into a common market, flooding Armenia with its own people bit by bit – all these constitute continuation of the Genocide. Hence the two seemingly separate issues are really part and parcel of one main problem – the intent of Turkey to emaciate Armenia.  That brings us back to Genocide in another form.

            Unfortunately, our leaders in Armenia do not see the matters as such and they treat the enemy – yes the mortal enemy – with all sorts of euphamisms, thus blunting the vigilance of people of Armenia itself.

            The other extreme is yours, when all what you can see is the lack of law and order, oppression in Armenia, exploitation of our kins, but ignore the fact that those very real anomalies play in the hands of the enemy by depopulating the country, thus inching closer to the main goal of getting rid of Armenians and Armenia in the end. The two issues are inseparable.

          2. The enemy IS Armenia’s
            The enemy IS Armenia’s leadership.  Don’t you see?  Yes, there are obviously external enemies.  There is no refuting that.  But Armenia’s internal genocide (the depopulation of Armenia) solely rests on Armenia’s corrupt leadership which has been given birth by the same Armenian people.  So in a way, today’s "white" genocide — of not being able to create a viable environment in which to live in within our homeland — is the collective fault of Armenians the world over…  (Little fault can be placed on Turkey for "closing" the border, since the border wasn’t open to begin with during Soviet times!  Indeed, the border has NEVER been open as long as there’s been an Armenian republic in 1918…)

            The intent of Armenia’s leadership is to depopulate Armenia of all dissent and to depopulate Armenia of all of the "impoverished" people.  This is their fight to maintain their leadership positions and their "fight against poverty."

            Armenians — throughout history — have had the tendency to lay blame of their perils on other people: the Persians, Turks, then Europeans for not helping the Armenians during the genocide…  Reality is that Armenia’s problems are 99% internal and 1% external.  Armenia is quite close to the sea — it’s just a railroad ride to Batum or Poti, and it’s quite efficient.  Armenia’s leadership will always try to focus on external enemies as the fundamental problem of Armenia in order to mask the hundreds of millions of dollars they are taking as let’s say "bribes" from foreign entities.  This

  8. Condemnation

    The present government of Armenia is bankrupt starting from the head of the government to the door keepers. The members of this government are only saving their personal gains and putting into their filthy pockets the 30 silvers of Swiss banks, the Zionists, USA, Russia. I strongly condemn this "agreement" and consider it a sell out, like Vest Sargis and Catholicos Bedros Getadarts, who sold the capital of the Bagratits to the Byzantines in 1045 AD.

    I don’t consider this government as the government of my Armenia.

    Where are the diaspora leaders?  Where are you the people of Armenia, your government is selling the future of your children and grand children? Their next step is the sell Artsakh.

    Minas Kojayan, PhD

    Teacher, Los Angeles

    1. As a Diasporan Armenian I codemn

      We all over the world  must unite to defend our rights!

       

  9. “ROAD MAP” indicates real “reconciliation” will be a long haul..

    As an idealistic Diasporan Armenian, would like to see the memory of our genocidal martyrs honored and justice done regarding the illegitimate usurpation of the land and properties of Armenians. However, the pragmatic streak in me advocates the opening of borders between Armenia and Turkey, and benefit from the geopolitical and economic trends of the Caucasus region – without sacrificing our concerns for issues like the recognition of the Armenian Genocide and the Artsakh (Nagorno Karabagh) region.

    The Republic of Armenia and the Armenian Diaspora should cooperate and coordinate plans and policies, at the same time allow for two pronged approach in dealing with Turkey and the rest of the world. I am envisioning a very long haul in dealing with Turkey – a formidable antagonist with superb bargaining and diplomatic talent… Add to this the geopolitical and economic  significance of Turkey with a population of 70 million.

    Call it Fate or Providence, we are destined to live as neighbors with Turkey and other Muslim countries. We are also in the unenviable predicament of depending both on Russia and the West for our well being. The other alternative of being permanently in the camp of either one is definitely not in our advantage either; so must develop the delicate skills of diplomacy and coexistence.

    On a more philosophical level, Armenians have to develop a healthy balance between historical and ethnic concerns, and current existential  considerations. And in real world relations and politics, it is incumbent on us to recognize and not miss second best achievements in contrast to unattainable ideal goals…

    Respectfully,

    Hovannes

    1. Where is the economic benefit?

      Dear John,

      My impression is that nobody is against opening the borders. That is not what’s  being argued about. It’s at what price? A week and a day have gone by and nobody has a clue what this road map is all about. When the Israeli-Palestinian Road Map was proposed, at least some crucial details were shared with the people. Why this silence of the Sphinx? Russian, Turk and Azeri authorities, or at least people in high offices are talking about it, but our leaders in Armenia are engaged in double-talk. You can’t make sense of what they are saying.

      Additionally, there is as if a concerted effort to convince Armenians that Armenia will benefit from it. The only benefit at present – if major concessions are not made – is relieving the pressure.

      Economic advantages? That’s very doubtful. For example, will the pipeline go through Armenia? If yes, then fine, Armenia will benefit. Similarly, if Armenia will sell electricity to its neighbour, then it may profit. The contemplated atomic station in my view will be a huge burden for as long as it’s not clear who the potential share-holders will be. We may end up financing the station and being under tremendous debts for years to come. Can we afford it?

      Armenia would economically benefit if it had a strong manufacturing base, to sell goods to Turkey. That is not the case. On the contrary, it is the other way round. Turkish goods, from what I hear, have flooded Armenia and that within the context of closed borders. The argument that the presence of 70 million people constitutes potentially a large market does not hold true.

      Additionally, it is argued that the Turkish ports on the Black Sea will open up their doors to the outside world for Armenia. As far as I know, nobody has done a cost estimate of what it would cost if Armenia were to carry its business through the port of Trabzon, the nearest, for example. So far people in the know are mostly in agreement that Batumi in Georgia is much more cost effective.

      I would rather prefer to deal with the Georgians, who after the Georgian-Russian conflict are less dangerous to Armenia than the Turks who have not yet renounced Pan-Turanism and Pan-Turkic aspirations. Opening to the world through Trabzon will always be under the mercy of Turkey. Any future eventuality can close that window based on the whim of Turkey and its ally Azerbaijan.

      1. Very well said
        Dear Nareg,

        My thoughts exactly!  I don’t see how Armenian market will benifit, except acting as transit, may be, like Lebanon. We would like to hear an Armenian economist (from Armenia) explain a few words on this. 

        Houry

  10. As Richard Giragosyan pointed

    As Richard Giragosyan pointed out, by agreeing to the ‘normalization’ of ties just 2 days before the 24th, the current administration in Yerevan showed short sightedness.  However, we shouldn’t jump to conclusions before all or more facts are made public and we must not forget that these moves toward normal relations between Armenia and turkey are led from Washington and Moscow.

    1. WHEREVER THESE MOVES

      Wherever these moves have been led from, whether Moscow or Washington, the Armenian president should not have agreed to it, especially, without consulting the Armenian Diaspora.  This way, the long efforts carried forward by the Armenian Diaspora for the RECOGNITION OF THE ARMENIAN GENOCIDE OF 1915. are being pushed down the drain.  I strongly condemn this reconciliation with Turkey, without it recognizing the ARMENIAN GENOCIDE.  I don’t like to be friendly with someone who doesn’t respect me, period!

      Maro Badiguian-Shirvanian

      1. I understand your concerns

        I understand your concerns and frustrations with the current issue, but lets be more cool headed and less emotional about it.  This is politics, there are no friends or enemies just interests.  Armenia being in a weak geopolitical position doesn’t have too many options in going against the demands of the two superpowers, which we are assuming are leading this.  Unless one is in the higher echelons of the Sargsyan administration it is hard to say if they are playing their hand correctly, from the outside it looks like they aren’t, but we really need more info on everything to come to a rational conclusion.  Was the timing of the announcment a bad, sure looks that way but who is to say that it was planned weeks before.  Afterall diplomacy is just a game.

        I am just as concerned about the opening of borders and the recognition of the treaty of kars, so Armenians should keep asking questions from the Sargsyan administration but before all the facts are in lets not jump to any conclusions.

        1. I agree with everything you
          I agree with everything you said.  It’s important not to over react,  that deal might be for all we know very advantageous to the current geopolitical needs of Armenia.