The Protocols and the Political Trio: Ter-Petrossyan, Hovannisian and Voskanian

By Appo Jabarian, Executive Publisher / Managing Editor, USA Armenian Life Magazine, 10 September 2009

The Protocols between Armenia and Turkey announced in late August has aroused worldwide Armenian concerns regarding the twin Armenian republics’ safety and security.

Several Armenian political groups have articulated their position vis-à-vis the protocols. Interestingly, the political trio of the former President Levon Ter-Petrossyan, the two former Foreign Ministers, Raffi Hovannisian, and Vardan Voskanian have jockeyed around for positions on Armenia-Turkey Protocols in order to gain political mileage.

By Appo Jabarian, Executive Publisher / Managing Editor, USA Armenian Life Magazine, 10 September 2009

The Protocols between Armenia and Turkey announced in late August has aroused worldwide Armenian concerns regarding the twin Armenian republics’ safety and security.

Several Armenian political groups have articulated their position vis-à-vis the protocols. Interestingly, the political trio of the former President Levon Ter-Petrossyan, the two former Foreign Ministers, Raffi Hovannisian, and Vardan Voskanian have jockeyed around for positions on Armenia-Turkey Protocols in order to gain political mileage.

Ter-Petrossyan’s Armenian National Congress generally welcomed the initialed documents reminding the readers about his weak position as president regarding several important issues, such as the international recognition of the Armenian Genocide, territorial claims against Turkey, Artsakh’s right to self-determination, among others.

It’s kind of odd that at this 11th hour, the former Foreign Minister, Deputy of the National Assembly, and founder of Heritage Party Raffi Hovannisian has vacated his Parliament seat as of September 7 as "a sign of disagreement with the recent developments in the foreign policy of Armenia." The parliament is the place where Mr. Hovannisian’s presence could be very effective in debating and opposing the protocols, yet Mr. Hovannisian has chosen to be absent and effectively silence his voice in Armenia’s National Assembly.

As for the former Foreign Minister Vardan Voskanian, he has penned a commentary catering to the current political demand both in Armenia and the Diaspora. Voskanian’s Sept. 8 article, titled "Getting This Wrong Will Be Unforgivable," exhibits the stark contrast between Voskanian the former Foreign Minister and Voskanian heading the opposition Civilitas Foundation.

Voskanian should be the last person to criticize the "Road Map" protocols, because he was one of Armenia’s main foreign policy architects of the time (2007) when the infamous Madrid Principles were negotiated.  Furthermore, for many years he carried out secret negotiations with various Turkish officials leading to protocols of 2009.

Several readers remember very vividly the anti-Armenian statements made by Voskanian during his tenure as Foreign Minister of Armenia. Did Mr. Voskanian "conveniently" forget the indignation that he caused a few years ago in Armenia, Artsakh, and the Diaspora, when he expressed willingness to "hand" the liberated Armenian Karvadjar in Artsakh to Azerbaijan, and even thought it’s worthwhile to consider to hand Meghri, Armenia to Azerbaijan?

Before Ter-Petrossyan, Hovannisian and Voskanian claim to represent the Armenian opposition, they should make every effort to genuinely adopt the basic principles of Armenia’s foreign policy issues that deserve just solution such as Genocide recognition and territorial demands from Turkey. Messrs. Ter-Petrossyan, Hovannisian and Voskanian must help Armenia’s leaders mitigate the exact extent of the disastrous consequences of the Protocols.

They should be reminded that before Armenia signs the protocols with Turkey, Ankara must withdraw its unjust demands that 1) Armenia shall no longer hold any territorial claims against Turkey by recognizing the current Armenian-Turkish borders; that 2) Armenia shall give up the pursuit of Karabagh’s self-determination; that 3) Armenia should return Artsakh to Azerbaijan.

Armenia shall not capitulate to this latest unjust Turkish conditionality that aims to substantially weaken Armenia-Artsakh. Armenia should remind Turkey that the forcibly occupied lands in Eastern and Western Armenia and Cilicia must be returned to their rightful owners, the Armenians in Armenia-Artsakh, and the Armenians in the Diaspora who continue to be dispersed around the world. The Armenian leadership and the people in Armenia and the Diaspora should not fall in the Turkish trap. And the genuine opposition shall exercise its rights by being loyal to the interests of the Armenian state; by fending off the political dangers that threaten Armenia’s viability as a secure and prosperous sovereign state


  1. Some basic mistakes
    Dear Dr. Dikran Abrahamian,

    If you really consider yourself a community activist and human rights defender you must not limit your list of news to those which either are written by the people who are ingnorant of Armenian context, such as Appo Jabarian – e.g. Raffi Hovhannisyan has never been a Deputy of the National Assembly and make lots of factual mistakes in their articles or written by the Armenian authorities and so called "opposition". Civilitas and ARF are not considered opposition forces, since they don’t act as opposition: they just serve the "oppositional" needs of Serge.

    Why don’t you include more or less impartial news and analytical sources like.

    And if you continue this "brainwashing" campaign I will have to ask you to unsubscribe me from you emailing list.
    Thanks and best
    1. A new dynamics in national discourse
      Dear Armenian (an alias),

      I am glad that you are commenting on these matters.

      The intent of these postings regarding the protocols and various reactions is to familiarize, as much as possible, the readers of Keghart with the whole array of reactions from various parties, organizations and individuals – Oskanian, Setrakian, Sassounian, Boyajian, Jabarian etc. It does not mean that Keghart or I endorse their views. My positions on a whole host of issues, I humbly think, are clear through my own postings under my name and appearances in the public.

      I gather from your brief message that you are a supporter of HAK (ANC, Congress). By way of a friendly reminder, let me point out that in addition to the pronouncements of various parties and organizations, the four point declaration of ANC was published in Keghart last week in Armenian language.

      What I would suggest, and that’s what I expect, is a national discourse on these matters. We are in a critical period and we need to talk to each other. Without knowing the views of  the "opponents" such a discourse cannot be fruitful.

      Partly, the comment section following each item is there for that purpose. Keghart would gladly post any criticisms or comments regarding any of the published materials either under the actual name of the writers or aliases.

      With respect to the sources that you have mentioned, Keghart has published articles from A1+, Lragir, Hetq, Khosq and others on various occasions.

      Without elaborating, I would like to make a distinction between pre-protocol  "opposition" in Armenia and the post- protocol period. At present, being in the "opposition" does not necessarily mean that all pre-protocol anti-government individuals are against the entirety of the protocols. Similarly, all anti-protocol organizations or individuals are not in agreement with the positions taken by the anti-government pre-protocol opposition. There are some overlaps, convergence of goals and divergence too.

      Without making above distinctions, it is not possible to solidify a united stand against the principal detrimental clauses in the protocols. There is a whole new dynamics that should be carefully treated in the coming weeks and months.

      Submitted Paregamoren

      1. Yes to discourse; No to Jabarians

        There is no question that a true national discourse is a must. In the Diaspora some of the impediments to such a discourse are directly related to organizations themselves. For example, it is impossible to understand what really the Armenian Assembly stands for.  Beyond couched words, one gets the impression that it is the mouthpiece of the American administration, and hence credibility becomes an issue. How can you trust?

        Another that comes to mind is the self-proclaimed Armenagan-RAG formation of a few individuals who at all cost are hell bound to please the government of Armenia. To what end?

        Individuals as well are hindrances. Foremost, Jabarian. His catchy phrases, such as using the expression "Trio", his factual mistakes, the misleading statement about the Madrid principles – are they coincidence? The original Madrid principles that he talks about, and chronologically were during LTP-Oskanian period, did not negate the principle of self-determination. He needs to make it clear. Which Madrid is he talking about?

        Why does he blame pre-Kocharian players for the present protocols? It’s been already eleven years and a few months that LTP has not been at the helm of the government. Who gave the authority to go along with the Protocols? Was it not President Sargsyan? Why this deliberate misrepresentation through giving the impression that the ingredients of the present protocols were somewhat concocted way back by what he terms the "Trio". After all, Sargsyan is the President, and if he were not in agreement with the alleged pre-Kocharian formulations, he could just have ignored them. Who initiated the "Football Diplomacy"? 

        Jabarian’s credibility too is questionable. Is he complaining about the protocols? Then he is barking at the wrong tree. Wasn’t Jabarian one of those who following the February 2008 election and March 1 Tragedy, along with Ayvazyan, heaped all blame on the "opposition", and thus propped up the present regime?

        No Jabarian and the likes! Your statements and acts do not add up; you make no sense at all, let alone convince others.

  2. The Turkey and Levon Tango

    It’s astounding to read partisanism when there is no more time or room for such behavior.  Yet, this sort of partisanism is what yielded the current situation.

    Levon Ter Petrosyan’s aim was to delegitimize the Presidency of Armenia itself in order to aid the foreign sponsors to force the current normalization.  These people know who to pressure in what way, and they have achieved something remarkable:  They have created a completely delegitimized and totally compliant Armenian administration with the complete help of the so-called "Hay Azgayin Congress," which is anything but Hay or Azgayin.  One does not need evidence beyond the modus operandi to notice this is obviously foreign and anti-Armenian in direction and intent.  Please stop insulting our intelligence and that of the majority of Armenians in the Republic and the Diaspora.  The "attempted coup d’etat" in February-March failed because Ter Petrosyan could not muster enough support – and could only purchase just the right amount to enable charades to the Hague, but powerful entities have exploited the results with a lot of help from the so-called "Armenian National Congress" parading the office of the Armenian Presidency like some effigy of Saddam form the Hague to the streets of Los Angeles.  It is the embarassment of the millennium to read blind people such as those above.  

    As far as the Madrid principles and their so-called "maturation,"  one need only remember that since Levon Ter Petrosyan not much has changed in the central and most important point: Artsakh is to remain inside Azerbaijan as some sort of autonomous territory, which, as the language implies and has implied since the beginning, that this autonomous entity is to be deprived of its armed forces and be completely dependent on so-called "international security forces."   We saw that that did for the Tutsi.  There are many details which will easily illustrate that the core chararacter of the Principles has not changed, but this is, in my opinion, the most important. 

  3. Response to Nareg

    Dear Fellow Hye,

    Vituperative comments about fellow Armenians does nothing to unite us during this difficult negotiating period. It is an example of why we, as Armenians are not able to UNITE.  I think we bicker too much with each other rather than try and solve serious problems. 

    I know you are frustrated by a lot of this insanity, but only through concerned and honest dialogue with other Hyes, showing them the logic of "WHY" we believe a certain action harmful, or good, can we come to a concerned front about any of the protocols we think are wrong, with a United course of action toward removing debilitating dialogues.

    My personal belief is there are two parts to the protocol that should be removed:

    1. The attempt by the Turks to tie the opening of the border to Artsakh setllement
    2. The establishment of a Historical Commision of Turks and Hyes to "determine a study of the Genocide" 

    Respectfully Submitted

  4. The mere signing of the protocols

    The mere signing of the protocols between Turkey and Armenia is a proof that there are such issues between these nations.

    Armenians can argue that the current border between Armenia and Turkey is not a valid one, otherwise it would not have been an issue.

    Mr. Jabarian’s article while blaming others for the nature of the protocols, his main theme in the article is to introduce his own protocols which most Armenians in the world would agree with.



  5. Comment about comments

    Dear Compatriot from Armenia (unfortunately, you did not give your name).

    By threatening to unsubscibe from the "Keghart site" or calling our selfless patriots "ignorant" you achieve nothing.

    Yes, maybe Diasporans don’t have precise information about Mr. Hovhannisian’s post, the stance of Ter-Petrosyan or other members of the "opposition", or Madrid secret negotiations, etc., but it has been shown that Diasporans are more familiar with foreign affairs than their counterparts in Armenia.

    Dear compatriot, is this matter more important or vital for you than the dangerous policy of Armenia’s politicians or the hypocrisy of the "opposition groups"?
    We don’t care about Ter-Petrossian, Hovannisian, Oskanian, Sargsyan or the other groups, past or present.

    Our nation is in crisis. The only way that Armenian people could make it through, is to have complete reliance upon each other.

    This so-called "Road Map" or "Protocols" in their present shape are not in our national interests, because:

    1. Armenians shall no longer hold any ancestral territotial claims against Turkey by recognizing the Turkish border,
    2. The protocol endangers  the  International (including US) recognition of the Armenian Genocide,
    3. Karabakh’s self-determination and independence are not safeguarded. 

    Once again, if any these politicians disregard the above Armenian principal interests, we will neither support nor trust them. We hope they will reconsider  their stance.

  6. The Protocols

    In the first place let us be honest towards each other and respect each other, then follows the rest. To defend our national interests peacefully is not so difficult. Here is a solution:

    We must introduce a new protocol which is acceptable to the present Armenian Government, the opposition parties
    in Diaspora and Armenia and to individuals. If we can achieve this, then we will stand very strong like never before.  When the new protocol is introduced which is acceptebale to all the Armenian people except the Bashe Bozuks then the football will be in Abdullah Gul’s court.

  7. Yes to Jabarian’s factual comments and NO to Nareg’s ill-guided
    Yes to Jabarian’s factual comments and NO to Nareg’s ill-guided and unfounded generalities. Nareg, your attack against Appo Jabarian can only be explained by the fact you are not pinpointing the specifics. Why are you so much disturbed by Jabarian’s correct criticism of the trio – Levon Ter-Petrosyan, Vardan Oskanian and Raffy Hovannisyan. To his credit Jabarian was courageous in bringing up valid points in his criticism of the trio.

    I’d say bravo to individuals like Jabarian.

Comments are closed.

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