Turkey Must Recognize Genocide, French President Says in Yerevan

French President Francois Hollande speaks during a press conference in Yerevan on Tuesday, May 13, 2014.


YEREVAN (ArmRadio)—“Turkey must recognize the Armenian Genocide,” French President Francoise Hollande said at a joint press conference with Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian on Tuesday in Yerevan.

The French President reaffirmed that he will visit Armenia on the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide.

“This is a call to the world to prevent the recurrence of such tragedies in the future,” he said.

“With this visit, France will once again reiterate its position that all genocides should be condemned,” Hollande said.

Speaking about the Karabakh issue, President Hollande said: “As a Minsk Group co-chairing country, France is ready to do its best to find a solution to the issue. Although there is a ceasefire agreement, it’s not enough. A thorough resolution is needed,” he said.

Francois Hollande added that France is ready to host a meeting of the Presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan to help find confidence-building measures.

There have been fears in the recent period that the confrontation between Russia and the West could negatively affect the cooperation between the Minsk Group Co-Chairs and their shared stance on the issue, which would, in turn, result in the reconsideration and change of their positions.

Commenting on this, Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian said: “The Co-Chairs have said on many occasions that they have a united stance, which implies that the status of Nagorno Karabakh conflict should be determined through a legally binding free expression of will of the people. There is no alternative to the realization of the principle of self-determination,” President Sarkisian said.

He added that the approach was recently reiterated by US Co-Chair James Warlick. “He didn’t say anything new. He reconfirmed what his President had said on many occasions.” Sarkisian said. “The same approach was reflected in the statement of the Co-Chairs on the 20th anniversary of the ceasefire agreement,” he said, adding that “Azerbaijan’s attempts to interpret the approaches in a different way are doomed to fail.”

France ‘Understands’ Armenia’s Pro-Russian Stance
French President Francois Hollande pointedly declined to criticize Armenia for backing Russia’s intervention in Ukraine and voiced support for an Association Agreement with the European Union sought by the Armenian government during the press conference on Tuesday, RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am) reported.

Hollande, whose country has imposed economic sanctions on Moscow together with other Western powers, said he understands the motives behind Armenia’s de facto recognition of the Russian annexation of Crimea. President Serzh Sarkisian opted for it “in a certain political and geographic context” reflecting the traditionally close Russian-Armenian relations, he said.

“I don’t want to judge. I want to understand, which is what I have done during this visit,” Hollande told a joint news conference with Sarkisian held at the end of his two-day trip.

French President Francois Hollande with his Armenian counterpart Serzh Sarkisian at a public ceremony in Yerevan

Sarkisian commented vaguely on the reasons why Armenia was one of the few nations that recognized a disputed referendum in Crimea that was followed by the region’s absorption into Russia strongly condemned by the West. “We have been friends with Russia for almost 250 years,” he said.

Answering the same question, Sarkisian went on to defend his unexpected decision last year to join the Russian-led Customs Union. He cited Armenia’s close economic ties with Russia and the fact that the two ex-Soviet states are “in the same security system.”

“On top of that, the Customs Union gives member states some privileges,” he added. “For example, it enables Armenia to import energy resources at competitive prices, which allows us … to manufacture competitive goods.”

Sarkisian reiterated that his government at the same time hopes to deepen relations with the EU through the Association Agreement. “We spoke with Mr. Hollande about that; it would be very desirable to have a special association offer to the Republic of Armenia,” he said.

Speaking to RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am) on Monday night, Hollande confirmed that France supports a “special model” of political association between the EU and Armenia. “Europe must accept an agreement on association with Armenia, and Armenia can go [ahead] with a trade and commercial union with Russia,” he said in English. “That’s not a problem for me.”

Armenia spent three years negotiating the Association Agreement with the EU and was on track to sign it until Sarkisian’s Customs Union U-turn announced last September. The EU abandoned the planned agreement afterwards, saying that its most important provisions relating to free trade are “not compatible” with membership in the Russian-led bloc. The EU’s executive body has since repeatedly rejected an Armenian proposal to conclude a watered-down version of the accord that would not contain those provisions.

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8 Comments

  1. Hratch Karamanoukian MD said:

    The people of Artsakh determine their future – not the U.S. or Russia or France or Azerbaijan or Turkey or the Minsk Group – self determination is the prevailing rule of the land – long live Artsakh

  2. Hratch said:

    Okay, but still want to know why France collaborated with the League of Nations to hand over Sanjak of Alexandretta to Ataturk on June 29, 1939. And to add insult to injury, they resettled the Musa Ler (Մուսա Լեռ) Armenians in the town of Anjar as compensation. Unfathomable, but the French were actually arrogant enough to steal land from the Lebanese and resettle the Armenians. And going along with this violation, the current population of Anjar refers to themselves as Anjartsi instead of Musa Lertsi….Unbelievable !

  3. Berge Jololian said:

    Yes, but, French President François Hollande also called on his hosts to welcome Turkey’s conciliatory statements over massacres during World War I.

    Hollande also called on the Armenian government to welcome “messages of appeasement … wherever they come from” in an indirect reference to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s expression of condolences to the “grandchildren of Armenians killed in 1915”.

  4. Sokimag said:

    France is a true friend of Armenia. I have yet to see a foreign president come to Armenia and have that much respect for Armenia. No American or Russian president would have that much understanding of the situation we, Armenians, are in. Yet, it is not uncommon to see people bash France, because it is in NATO and supposedly it supports Turkey, which is far from the truth.

    France supports Armenia, not Turkey. Hollande has the gut to say to Turkey recognize the Armenian Genocide. I have yet to see Putin or Obama tell that to Turkey.

    • Avetis said:

      You are a simpleton if you actually believe what you wrote. When the Soviet Union broke up, NATO members were given the task of overseeing relations with certain former Soviet states. For example, Britain got Azerbaijan, Germany got Georgia and France, due to its large Armenian population, was tasked with being Armenia’s Western handler. In other words, as in World War One, they are blowing smoke up our ass. But being that we are naive Armenians, no wonder we believe them.

      • Armenian said:

        Europe and Russia are one in the same; don’t think that Russia is more “honest” in its dealings than Europe is. During WWI, Europe was blowing smoke up our ass, and now, thanks to people who have an over-zealous love affair with Russia, the Kremlin is doing the same thing and reaping maximum gains with almost little to nothing in return.

  5. Armenov said:

    France is one of our best allies without a doubt. Not only a strong economic partner, but they are a role-model in democracy and governance for us. I was told once by a Armenian Government Official that the Armenian Government’s establishment used France’s Governance as a blue-print. We in essence modelled our Government after France, which comes to shows our deep links. Our security links are with Russia of course, but France is still one of our best partners in the world.

  6. Pingback: Erdogan And The Armenian Genocide: The Dangers Of Distorting History | International Political Forum

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