AGBU Central Board of Directors Issues Statement on Armenia-Turkey protocols

AGBU_EmblemwSmYEREVAN (ArmRadio)—The Armenian General Benevolent Union’s Central Board of Directors issued an announcement Monday on the protocols for the establishment and development of relations between Armenia and Turkey.

Below is the text of the statement:

On August 31, 2009 the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Armenia, together with the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs and the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, jointly produced two documents of protocol concerning the establishment of diplomatic relations between Armenia and Turkey and the development of bilateral relations. These documents provide details on the initial steps to be taken for the normalization of relations, the establishment of consular representation, and the opening of the current border between the two countries.

This marks a significant moment in the history of relations between the Armenian and Turkish peoples. It presents major ramifications for both the government of the newly independent Republic of Armenia and the Armenian nation worldwide. The Armenian people in both the homeland and the Diaspora have followed these negotiations with great interest and concern.

We recognize the great geopolitical challenges faced by Armenia — its concern for its national security, the need to improve its accessibility and communication links vital to its economic development, the desire to participate in regional programs of political and economic cooperation. All of these objectives motivate the Armenian government to be positive and sincere in its approach to these negotiations and to adopt a pragmatic policy with regard to Turkey. However, as practical as such a policy may be, it should not be implemented at the expense of the fundamental and historic rights of the Armenian people. We believe the official governmental authorities in Armenia are both the administrators of the state and the guardians of its future. Therefore, they must be guided by pan-national goals and aspirations in making these difficult and far-reaching decisions.

The documents establishing diplomatic relations between Armenia and Turkey touch directly or indirectly upon the enduring issues of the Armenian Genocide and our territorial demands. We understand the importance for the Republic of Armenia to have normal diplomatic relations with neighboring states, including Turkey. We also believe that justice for the sacred Armenian Case and the international recognition of the Armenian Genocide should transcend and not be sacrificed for any immediate diplomatic consideration.

The start of negotiations between Armenia and Turkey has been favorably encouraged by the international community. The sole opponent to this dialogue between Armenia and Turkey has been the country of Azerbaijan. For almost two decades, Turkey has joined with Azerbaijan in the blockade of Armenia due to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

In the past, Turkey has used the unresolved Nagorno-Karabakh conflict as justification for its refusal to pursue a separate rapprochement with Armenia. This current effort to normalize relations between Armenia and Turkey should not be pre-conditioned by any terms of concession involving the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. The people of Nagorno-Karabakh have already clearly expressed their will to live freely through their exercise of the sacred right of peoples for self-determination.

This is a rare moment of opportunity for Turkey. It must show that it is ready to move forward in earnest. If it falters, hesitates or withdraws, it will expose itself to the reproach of the international major powers and those regional nations which are fostering this rapprochement between Armenia and Turkey.

As this bold diplomatic initiative moves toward normalized relations between the two countries, Turkey will find itself subjected to even greater international scrutiny. To justify its membership in the European Union, Turkey will be under pressure to fulfill its international commitments. It will become more exposed and accountable to world public opinion. It will be forced to adhere to principles of human rights and democratic rule and to cooperate with its neighboring countries.

We know the authorities in Armenia face a difficult path as they endeavor to build new relations with Turkey without imposed preconditions. We also believe the government of Armenia shares our serious concerns about the sincerity of Turkey, given its historic anti-Armenian policy that has continued to the present time. We commend their initiative and lend our support in their efforts to find a just and fair outcome in the building of good neighborly relations between Armenia and Turkey, while safeguarding the historic claims and rights of the Armenian People.

The Armenian General Benevolent Union has been steadfast in serving the Armenian people for more than a century. It has been a leading voice for the desires and aspirations of the Diaspora. AGBU unwaveringly adheres to its time-honored policy of supporting the homeland, safeguarding the rights of the Armenian nation, and promoting the historic and cultural legacy of our people.

On this occasion, we appeal to all Armenians to face the challenges of this historical moment, in collaboration with the government of the Republic of Armenia, with wisdom, national unity and the spirit of cooperation among our people.

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8 Comments

  1. Garo said:

    AGBU’s policy regarding the protocols is a balanced and positive position; full of passive and wishful thinking. I agree with the Central Board, AGBU has always been steadfast in serving the Armenian People here in Diaspora and in Armenia.
    What is AGBU going to do if Republic of Turkey ratifies the protocols and the government of Republic of Armenia forces the parliament through its parliamentary bloc to ratify the protocols too? They sign the treaty, and its done. Its too late to come and criticise the “government”. I believe this is the time to be more forceful, less diplomatic, and tell the government of Armenia not to make the historical mistake that the whole diaspora will hold them accountable for. Does AGBU agree to the establishment of East Armenia, and Western Armenian cause?
    We have a very short time and this is the time to come forcefully, together with the whole nation to tell our Government that Armenia and World Armenians are one nation, united with one history, and have one goal: National security, Acknowledgement of the genocide and reparations by Turkey, preservation of Karabakh’s Right to Self determination, and then friendly relations with the neighbors.
    AGBU knows very well that the paper Spoon of Khrimian Hairik didn’t get us too far. As this article rightfully raises doubts about sincerity of the Turkish government, we cannot depent on their good will, nor the Azeri’s good will.
    I am very glad that the whole diaspora Armenian organizations are in unity against these protocols. These protocols need to be revised like the Madrid protocols were. They should guarantee establishment of diplomatic relations and openning of Borders without preconditions. The Genocide, our forefathers homes, and Karabakh are not subject to Negotiations. We waited 95 years we can wait another 100 years, eventually Turkey will acknowledge.
    President Serge Sarkisian has called the Armenian political parties for consultations on the protocols. This is the time for Armenias’ parties to show their true Patriotism. History will judge them if they fail.

  2. craig said:

    Thank you, AGBU, for coming forward and making a statement on an issue that is very difficult not to be against. As I read, I was waiting for the place where some sort of insight or opions of the Protocols would agree/disagree with what’s been said recently in Asbarez.
    Unfortunately, I wish the statement said more.
    It doesn’t help those of us who are in doubt of the process that is going on precisely because the statement makes no judgement of whether this is in Armenia’s interest or not, whether this is good or bad for Armenia or whether we as a nation should be for against, wary, patient or whatever. It merely calls for support of Armenia’s government.
    There’s is one subtle point where it says,
    “The documents establishing diplomatic relations between Armenia and Turkey touch directly or indirectly upon the enduring issues of the Armenian Genocide and our territorial demands. We understand the importance for the Republic of Armenia to have normal diplomatic relations with neighboring states, including Turkey. We also believe that justice for the sacred Armenian Case and the international recognition of the Armenian Genocide should transcend and not be sacrificed for any immediate diplomatic consideration”
    I wish there were more answers.

  3. hrag said:

    AGBU statement does not go far enough,it does not condemn the protocols. It doesn’t have a clear opinion,better to have remained silent instead of saying NOTHING with this statement.

  4. Pingback: French Armenian Organizations Issue Statement Opposing Protocols | Stop the Protocols Campaign

  5. Pingback: Switzerland-Armenia Association Opposes Protocols ; Issues Position Paper | Stop the Protocols Campaign

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  7. Garabed Danbarian said:

    Unfortunately, the only possible way for me to score the AGBU stance on this issue is to compare it with a comedic slogan “payqar, payqar, minchev verjananq…” It amazes me to see how many people fail to be constructive on this issue. Has anyone thought about the alternatives at AGBU?

  8. robert ajemian said:

    Isn’t this the same AGBU that shut down the Melkonian with impunity? That action discredits them completely. The only thing they serve now are their millionaires’ club smug self-satisfaction and self-righteousness.
    Anything emitted from them on Armenian national identity is crap at best? Try this on AGBU, “Shut your freakin’ collective piehole!”

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