Keghart.org Editorial by Khajag Aghazarian, 10 February 2022
In his most recent interview (Jan. 24, 2022) Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan stated three alarming positions regarding the Armenian Cause that require meticulous review and clarification from the Republic of Armenia government:
1. While answering a question regarding Armenia/Turkey negotiations to normalize relations, Pashinyan stated that the Armenian Cause does not mean border issues between the Republic of Armenia and Turkey. The statement requires a more comprehensive analysis. For example, it is important to highlight that Armenians have never accepted the outcomes of the Treaty of Lausanne according to which Western Powers approved the establishment of modern-day Turkey with expanded territorial dominion that included, besides other territories, Western Armenia (known as the Six Vilayets in the Ottoman era). As well, the borders of the current Republic of Armenia do not compel the legitimately defined borderlines of “Armenia” by the League of Nations and the Wilsonian Doctrine that covers 160,000 sq. km.
If the RoA does not have territorial claims on Turkey, why is Turkey insisting on the recognition of territorial integrity as a precondition for negotiations with Armenia? Pashinyan must clarify why Armenians should quit from demanding the resolution of their pending territorial issues with Turkey while Ankara has never accepted its existing borderline with the RoA.
2. The second alarming Pashinyan statement is that recognition of the Armenian Genocide was never part of the political agenda of the RoA government. This statement is simply wrong. The Armenian Genocide is at the core of the National Security Strategy of the Republic of Armenia ratified and signed by Pashinyan in 2020. One of the seven National Goals that are included in this strategy is the “International recognition of the Armenian Genocide, overcoming and eliminating its consequences.” Point 5.19 of the same document specifies that: “Turkey’s recognition of the Armenian Genocide and the rights of its victims and their descendants shall form the necessary basis for overcoming the consequences of the Armenian Genocide.” In a separate section of the strategy, it is stated: “Turkey’s policy towards Armenia is unneighbourly. It continues its blockade of Armenia, refusing to establish diplomatic relations without preconditions, denying and, in certain instances, justifying the Armenian Genocide.”
Obviously, Turkey is defined by the RoA as a genocidal state that persists not to recognize the Armenian Genocide. Nor did Turkey take any action to return the lost rights of its millions of victims and their descendants that constitute the basis to overcome the consequences of the Genocide. The only change that we can detect is on the side of the current government of the RoA. Turkey did not change any of its denialist policies and attitudes.
3. The third appalling statement made by Pashinyan was that recognition of the Armenian Genocide had always been pursued mainly by diaspora organizations. This is a half-truth. The three consecutive Armenian republics have always demanded recognition of the genocide. What is alarming in this statement is the connotation that the RoA does not have to pursue this existential cause. Pashinyan has to explain to Armenians why the RoA would change its attitude towards a central and vital unresolved national cause.
Like other nations, the Armenian national identity is carved through the collective experiences of the Armenian people, their traumas as well as achievements. The Armenian Cause is an intrinsic element of the modern Armenian national identity that has been shaped during the past 200 years. This identity element is not referred to any fraction in the nation, nor any authority have mandate over its course. As such, changing its status must be approved by all Armenians. Moreover, that may happen only after Turkey recognizes the Genocide of Armenians and agrees on just compensation.
Armenians have the right to know what geostrategic, security and economic benefits is the RoA government expecting in return of abandoning the Armenian Cause. If the talks are aimed at normalizing relations between the two states, then the Armenian counterpart should refuse to include the Armenian Cause on the agenda of negotiations. The RoA government should immediately separate the Armenian Cause from any negotiations between the RoA and Turkey.
Of all the controversial acts and policies undertaken by Pashinyan, his above comments regarding the Armenian Cause are the most damaging to the Armenian nation. At best, his words reflect an abominable naiveté and at worst a treachery that will forever hound the Armenian nation and cause its irreversible decline.