A.R.F. Bureau Declaration

Following the recent advances in the European and American political arenas toward the universal recognition of the Armenian Genocide–and on the eve of a vote on this subject in French National Assembly–the A.R.F. Bureau issues the following declaration regarding Turkey’s recent references to the establishment of an Armenia-Turkey dialogue:

While affirming the principle of open-dialogue as a key in the resolution of outstanding issues between neighboring countries–the A.R.F. stresses that any such effort aimed at establishing official relations between Armenia and Turkey must not involve any preconditions set forth by Turkey.

It is clear that recent references to dialogue–advanced as part of the Turkish diplomatic agenda–do not stem from Turkey’s sincere interest in normalizing Armenian-Turkish relations. Rather–it represents a tactical move by Turkey to use superficial expressions of good-will to slow down the process of international recognition of the Armenian Genocide and to gain support for Turkey’s accession into the European family. Turkish diplomatic circles are publicly setting unacceptable preconditions regarding the Armenian Genocide and the status of Artsakh for this dialogue.

The irrefutable fact of the Armenian Genocide cannot be subject to bargaining. The only issue that can be negotiated is the form of reparations for the Genocide. If the Turkish government genuinely wishes to establish diplomatic relations with Armenia–it must first accept the fact of the Armenian Genocide–as a good-will gesture–and take concrete steps in making Turkish society aware of this historical fact.

The Artsakh issue cannot be part of the dialogue process between Armenia and Turkey. Turkey is not and should not become an official party in the Artsakh issue. The status of Artsakh is first and foremost to be determined based on the mutual agreement between the Republic of Mountainous Karabakh and Azerbaijan.

The dialogue between Armenia and Turkey affects the interests of the entire Armenian nation. As such–any attempts to create rifts between the interests of the Armenian state and Diaspora during this process is doomed to endanger the dialogue–and consequently will lead to its breakdown.

The international recognition of the Armenian Genocide is a fundamental foreign policy issue for Armenia–reaffirmed by President Kocharian’s address at the United Nations.

Therefore–we expect that Armenian diplomacy will soberly and correctly assess Turkey’s current tactics and ensure that the Armenian policies –formulated over the past two years through Armenian government diplomacy and the efforts of the forces committed to the Armenian Cause – will remain proactive and effective.

It is our belief–that the normalization of Armenian-Turkish relations – an issue of importance to all Armenia’s – should not be limited to discussions by a narrow circle of officials.

A.R.F. BUREAU

January 16–2001

Yerevan–Armenia

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