“The Karabakh issue more important for Armenia’s future than Genocide recognition”

By Liana Sayadyan, Hetq , 22 April 2009 
 
Professor Claude Mutafian of the Sorbonne, visiting Armenia to participate in the conference dedicated to the 100th anniversary of the Adana massacres, stated that in terms of the on-going negotiations between Armenia and Turkey, “The talks are one thing but the issue of the 1915 Genocide will not be resolved in that manner since the fact cannot be overlooked that the bulk of diaspora Armenians are the inheritors of that tragedy.”

By Liana Sayadyan, Hetq , 22 April 2009 
 
Professor Claude Mutafian of the Sorbonne, visiting Armenia to participate in the conference dedicated to the 100th anniversary of the Adana massacres, stated that in terms of the on-going negotiations between Armenia and Turkey, “The talks are one thing but the issue of the 1915 Genocide will not be resolved in that manner since the fact cannot be overlooked that the bulk of diaspora Armenians are the inheritors of that tragedy.”

Professor Mutafian, originally a mathematician who has specialized in Armenian history for the past thirty years, noted that Turkey’s position in linking a settlement of the Karabakh issue to the normalization of Armenian-Turkish relations raises concerns that the Karabakh issue will be solved “by making concessions regarding the Genocide”.

 

“It is difficult to oppose the opening of the border, but the important question to be asked is at what price? For me, as a by-product of 1915, the recognition of the Genocide is important but, to put it somewhat crudely, it terms of the future of Armenia the Karabakh issue is more important,” Professor Mutafian stated to Hetq.

When referring to the attitude in the diaspora regarding the negotiations now taking place between Armenia and Turkey, Professor Mutafian said, “The diaspora is in a difficult situation. Many say that they don’t want to upset the talks but the reality is of course different. I can’t say whether the talks are good or bad. On principle, negotiations are a good thing. One must always be able to sit down with the enemy and talk. The same holds true here; but many are opposed to them. I, however, am opposed to those diaspora Armenians that claim that this is treachery. I, on the other hand, don’t say that the talks are a wonderful thing rather, like it or not, this is the situation. Our interests are different. There are more Armenians living in the diaspora than in Armenia and still today what you have at the basis of the diaspora are the descendants of the Genocide victims. The memories of the Genocide belong more to the diaspora than to the Armenia of today.”

Regarding France’s position on the Genocide, Professor Mutafian stated that even though it has been recognized by law, legislation to punish genocide deniers hasn’t been included into the agenda of the French Senate since, “The French government states that Armenia and Turkey are now negotiating and that we shouldn’t upset these talks.”

Professor Mutafian also sounded a note of caution when it came to the issue of the campaign, organized by Turkish intellectuals, to collect signatures apologizing for the events of 1915. “Twenty thousand Turkish intellectuals signed the statement and that’s good. But we must not forget that statement refers to the ‘Great Calamity’ and doesn’t use the word ‘Genocide’. The Turkish authorities understand their role very well. On the one hand it was a good thing but, on the other hand, we cannot forget that it lead to other measures. We should never say thanks for these other actions.”

When asked if he thought that demands made by Armenia would produce results Professor Mutafian responded, “It’s hard to say, but one must always demand a great deal in expectation of the day when the other side might be ready to make concessions. You must always go with your hands full. I find that the possibility of financial reparations is more realistic. The issue of the supervision of cultural monuments still exists even though some initial steps have been taken in this direction. Turkey must, at the minimum, permit Armenian specialists to oversee the repair and restoration of our monuments in Turkey.”
 

3 comments
  1. Bravo!!

    This article is just correct! It reflects the present situation of the armenians, the issue of the Genocide being important for armenians in the Diaspora while Karabakh is more important for the armenians living in Armenia is so true. But a right Balance should be found between those 2 important issues. Hope so!

  2. What “monuments in Turkey”?

    What monuments in Turkey?

    "n 1914, the Armenian Patriarch in Constantinople presented a list of the Armenian holy sites under his supervision. The list contained 2,549 religious places of which 200 were monasteries while 1 600 were churches. A review in 1974 showed that only 916 Armenian churches could be identified, of which half were as good as totally destroyed and 252 of the remaining objects were only ruins. Only 197 objects/sites were in stable conditions."

    The last review was in 1974!!

    By now, of the 197 remaining objects in "stable" condition, probably only a handful remain (Akhtamar and the ruins at Ani).  35 years is a LONG time!

    The Turkish people are RABIDLY nationalistic!  And Armenia’s leaders are RABIDLY selfish, power-seeking, self-serving (and serving their friends and family — i.e. "clannish").  Professor Mutafian’s assessment of our leaders is therefore rather naive…  He is assuming that the President of Armenian (SAS) is negotiating with the interests of Armenia and the Armenian people in mind.  This is far from the case.  His foremost agenda is his, Kocharian’s, and his clan’s profits.

    By now the population of Armenia should have been growing…  But why is the depopulation continuing so strongly?  Why do I meet new Armenians from Armenia everyday in Glendale?  When will we have a REAL census in Armenia?  This is getting quite ridiculous and out of hand.

    Besides, Professor Mutafian has it all wrong about Armenians in Armenia — they first and foremost want a VIABLE state in which they can make a decent living and a FREE market in which to do business and a country with a JUST rule of law!  That is the number 1 priority of Armenians living in Armenia.  Not Karabakh…

    THIS ONE IS IMPORTANT!! –>  Both the genocide issue and the karabakh issue are being used by the Armenian authorities (SAS, Kocharian, and friends) to move attention away from the oligarchy (non-free market economy, monopolies, and legal system of injustice) and the deteriorating quality of life in Armenia.

    Armenia’s public parks are a good litmus paper as to where government funds are going.  Just look at the poverty in Armenia.  One has to GO to Armenia and live there for some time to see it.  World Bank or IMF reports can brag all they want about Armenia’s falsified "economic indicators" that have been produced using very QUESTIONABLE accounting practices with the likes of Enron and WorldCom.  All I know is that there are people still leaving Armenia en masse and even Yerevan’s Central (Kentron) district still has water rationing.  This is my litmus test.  I no longer trust Armenian government or "international organization" financial documents or financial statements.

    1. Free Market

      Will you stop with the "free market" nonsense, already. What, you haven’t noticed what situation the free market brought half the world into over the past two years? Free market is merely an illusion. Small countries need to protect their markets not free them endlessly.

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