Not in My Name

A whirlwind of noise, meetings, analyses, and most of all, secrecy has attended Armenia-Turkey (note, I did not write ArmeniaN-TurkISH) relations since Turkey’s President Abdullah Gul accepted Armenia’s President Serzh Sarkissian’s invitation to Armenia.

Clearly relations must be established between Turkey and Armenia. The nature and level of those will be determined after MUCH negotiation, or so I would have thought until recently.

Yet, with the veil of mystery shrouding the content of the talks between a genocidal state and one that houses some of the descendants of the former’s crimes, one is left to wonder, why no openness? What is being hidden? What is being given away?

Turkey, as the successor to the Ottoman Empire, inherited the latter’s repository of diplomatic experience, wiles, and talent. Nine more decades of dealing with the rough and tumble of international politics have been added to Turkey’s repertory of diplomacy. Please remember, this diplomatic establishment played off, against one another, imperial Britain, France, Germany, Russia, and the wannabes of that age. Then, it navigated the straights of the U.S.-U.S.S.R. Cold War. If these people are now engaged in negotiations with Armenia, they expect to win big. Unfortunately, our side does not yet possess the same level of diplomatic demonism and sophistication simply because we haven’t been at it long enough.

Sarkissian, in his speech to the U.N. General Assembly, barely mentioned these truly historic negotiations, the Genocide, and much less reparations and lands due us by Turkey. He did give a little more time to the Genocide issue in his presentation at a dinner in New York where he was being honored. But there aren’t much more than platitudes in all this.

Meanwhile, the fool’s errand of an “historic commission” to address the “question” of Genocide seems to still be on the table. If all Turkey gets from these negotiations is this entity’s creation, it shall have won BIG. Fifty years of Diasporan efforts directed at recognition will be rendered almost worthless. Any legal, international, legislative body or international leader approached in pursuit of Genocide recognition will retort, “Aren’t Armenia and Turkey working things out? I can’t butt in.” Sure we can come up with all kinds of lengthy, substantive replies. But, we’d be starting at a fantastic disadvantage.

Then we have the pressure Sarkissian’s been under from the international community since his election to office. Add to the mix the Georgia fiasco, Azerbaijan’s saber rattling, and overall instability in the Middle East, and you’ve got a tremendously dangerous and pregnant (with peril) situation. Now, couple all this with the secrecy shrouding the talks, and one must wonder, what’s going on?

Even a Ramgavar-published analysis points some of this out, and that party’s not exactly noted for its stridency.

So, if in all this, instead of broaching the question of reparations and the Treaty of Sevres with its Wilsonian Armenia, the Republic of Armenia is about to give away the Genocide in exchange for concessions on Artzakh, border opening, and other bi-lateral state issues, I say “Not in my name”. I haven’t authorized anyone, much less the government of a state that represents a distinct minority of the aggrieved–i.e. us, the descendants of the Genocide survivors and our lands and property–to speak for me, not to mention to cede my birthright. Let’s also not forget that only recently, and after great difficulty and effort, were we granted the privilege of being able apply for Armenia’s citizenship, something that ought to have been a no-brainer, our due, another part of our birthright.

Let’s all call and write the local representatives of the Republic of Armenia–embassies, consulates, missions, and any other delegations. Let’s tell them not to succumb. Let’s help them be firmer. Let’s demand our due. Let’s say, “Don’t mess with our rights to our lands and reparations, and just as importantly, our dignity–that would be Genocide recognition. Don’t mess with the Diaspora”.

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