Turkey-Armenia Accord Cannot Come at Expense of National Interests, Says Hovsepian


LITTLE ARMENIA–Any agreement between Turkey and Armenia on normalizing relations cannot come at the expense of future generations or our collective national interests, said Armenian Revolutionary Federation Bureau member Dr. Viken Hovsepian Monday during a live interview on Horizon 180.

The issue of opening the Armenian-Turkish border is a critical and a complex one, Hovsepian told host Armen Dilanian, explaining that the ARF, on numerous occasions, has expressed it concerns both in government circles and through public announcements.

“It is unacceptable for us that any agreement–be that the border opening or normalizing relations–contain concessions that will impact future generations,” said Hovsepian, adding that any document, for example, that is signed by the governments which casts a shadow on the veracity of the Armenian Genocide is deemed objectionable by his party.

The ARF leader said that President Serzh Sarkisian will bare all responsibility for any decision, because he is the one leading the government and its foreign policy.

He explained that despite the fact the ARF is part of the ruling coalition, on this issue the party’s posturing is more principled, which stems from the national aspirations of the Armenian people as well as concerns for national security of Armenia.

Hovsepian emphasized the need for the Armenian state and the Armenian nation to be pursuing the same interests, because at the very sign of diverging approaches “we will be on the brink of defeat.”

Hovsepian said the impetus for the United States  to pursue the opening of the Turkish-Armenian border was to weaken Russia’s influence in the region, as well as to diminish Iran’s role in the region especially vis-a-vis Armenia.

He emphasized that the US has been prudent–if not cautious–in its approaches toward Armenia, because the US government often has taken into consideration the Armenian constituency and the Armenian lobby.

“We have succeeded in emphasizing to successive US administrations that Turkey cannot be used as an agent–a mediator–because for us the Turkish government is not an acceptable entity or player vis-a-vis our issues, given that there still remain unresolved matters such as the Genocide issue and other historical, legal and political concerns. We are not willing or ready to accept Turkey’s role as an honest broker in the region,” said Hovsepian.

The ARF leader said while it is always desirable to have friendly relations with one’s neighbors, the border opening posed quite a few complexities among them an opportunity to close the border on a whim.

He explained that any decision that impacts Turkish-Armenia relations should be well thought out, because the opening of the border would automatically create situations for dependence, be they economic and otherwise.

“This will make us all hostage if we are not properly prepared for it,” added Hovsepian.

In discussing President Obama’s announcements in Ankara Monday, Hovsepian explained that one of the reasons the Armenian-American community supported Obama’s candidacy was his decisive views and pledges on the recognition of the Genocide.

The circuitous manner in which he addressed the issue in Turkey was a missed opportunity for Obama to set the record straight, explained Hovsepian, adding that he was hopeful that the president would issue a more unequivocal and principled acknowledgement as April 24 approaches.

Hovsepian called on the community to re-double its efforts in pursuing this issue by calling on the White House and signaling the elevation of expectations by the Armenian-American community on this very crucial matter.


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