Sarkisian to Visit Diaspora to Muster Support For Protocols

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YEREVAN (RFE/RL)–President Serzh Sarkisian said on Thursday that he will tour major Armenian communities abroad early next month to explain and promote his far-reaching diplomatic overtures to Turkey which the Diaspora have been following with unease.

Sarkisian made the announcement as he met with His Holiness Karekin II, the Catholicos of All Armenians at Echmiadzin. He said he will start on October 1 a series of visits to Paris, New York, Los Angeles, Beirut and Rostov-on-Don, Russia.

All of those cities and their surrounding areas have sizable Armenian communities. Sarkisian was quoted by his press service as telling the Catholicos that he wants to hear community leaders’ “views on the process of the normalization of Turkish-Armenian relations.”

Karekin II welcomed the initiative.

“The Diaspora is an important and inseparable part of our people and it is only right for our Diaspora sons … to be able to hear answers from you personally to questions preoccupying them,” said Karakin II, according to the presidential press service. “Also, you will expose yourself to the thoughts, opinions and concerns of our Diaspora sons.”

Diaspora leaders have expressed serious concern about key points of two Turkish-Armenian draft protocols envisaging the normalization of bilateral relations. They are particularly critical of the planned creation of a Turkish-Armenian panel of historians that would probe the Genocide.

The Diaspora also opposes another protocol clause that commits Armenia to recognizing its existing border with Turkey based on past relevant treaties. This clause will preclude future Armenian claims to the territories of historic Armenia illegally occupied by the Republic of Turkey.

His Holiness Aram I, Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia added his voice to those concerns in a letter to Sarkisian made public on Thursday. “The ongoing developments in the establishment of diplomatic relations between Armenia and Turkey have become a cause for serious concern in the Diaspora,” he wrote.

Aram I singled out the planned “sub-commission” of historians for criticism. He said its existence would make it easier for Ankara to deny the Armenian Genocide.

Etchmiadzin has rarely challenged Yerevan governments and will likely be more supportive of the Turkish-Armenian rapprochement. Karekin II told Sarkisian that the church’s Supreme Spiritual Council will meet soon to discuss and formulate its position on the issue.

The planned meetings will be part of “internal political consultations” which Ankara and Yerevan pledged to initiate before signing the controversial protocols by mid-October. Sarkisian described the intensifying debates on the matter as “very useful.”

“Of course, they have some emotional manifestations and elements,” Sarkisain told Karekin II. “And it could not have been otherwise because a huge segment of our people are a generation of persons subjected to genocide. Besides, we have our shrines, our churches, our [medieval] capital and the remnants of many, many people’s ancestral homes across the [Turkish] border.”

“I do realize this because often times I myself internally struggling with my emotions,” added Sarkisian.

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11 Comments

  1. papken hartunian said:

    I do not belive you Mr. President. No armenian has right to call our liberated territories anything else.
    You call them security region. You are wrong. You must lead not mislead our nation. We do not ley you mislead us. The liberated territories have been a shield to Artsakh as well as to Armenia herself. By pulling out your forces from the liberated territories, you are bringing doom to all of us including yourself. You are given chance to be president of our nation. Our nation cannot standby and let our existence to be washed by dirty waters.
    I am sure these protocals will not be ratified.
    Long Live Armenia! Long Live Artsakh! Long Live Diaspora!

  2. David Boyajian said:

    During his visit to the US, “President” Sargsian will probably find the greatest support from the senile sellouts at the Armenian Assembly of America, which still claims, with a straight face, that the Protocols contain no preconditions.

    I received an email today from the Armenian Assembly which contains what it calls “reader comments” about the Protocols. Every one of the “comments” are pro-Protocols. How stupid does AAA thinks its members are?
    But I know for a fact that there are Armenian Assembly members who disagree with the Protocols. Apparently their input is not welcome. Anyway, here is – verbatim – what I received from the Assembly of Senile Armenian American Eshes:
    *********************************************
    ITA READER FEEDBACK
    Last week, we solicited your feedback regarding the announced protocols by the governments of Armenia and Turkey for the normalization of relations and the Assembly’s recent statement in this regard. Below please find a sampling of the feedback we received.
    Thank you to all of those who responded – we truly value your opinion.

    Contact us at info@aaainc.org.
    —————————————————-
    There are people on all sides who do and do not want the borders open. Let people to people relations flourish and let economic benefits occur.
    H.P.
    ——————————————————————————-
    It’s a very risky situation yet it could be a very calculated chess move.
    H.M.
    ——————————————————————————-
    I agree- Turkey should lift the blockade of Armenia and establish diplomatic relations without preconditions. I want president Obama to hold Turkey accountable for Armenian Genocide.
    O.M.
    ——————————————————————————-
    Finally some unity between Armenian organizations. Good job. You have our support. Thanks,
    H.B.
    ——————————————————————————-
    I have always been against opening the borders. Turkey will swallow Armenia economically within 25 to 50 years. However, I do not live in Armenia I do not feel their daily hardship on my skin, so at the end they have to decide what is best for them. I am against it.
    H.M.
    ——————————————————————————-
    I’m happy about the protocols, from the summary I’ve read. We have to open the borders, even if it means taking recognition of the Genocide out of that agreement. I think it’s fine that that issue has been separated from the treaty. We will not let it go, we’ll keep pressure on a separate front, while hopefully removing the blockade and let today’s Armenians have a better economy.
    Thank you,
    B.K.
    ——————————————————————————-
    The past cannot be changed so move on to the present & future.
    V.H.

  3. Gayane said:

    I agree with Papken.

    It is unfortunate to speak about feelings and emotions like the President expressed to our Catholicos.. Any Armenian, regardless of his position should be me lead by the smell of the green paper, money.. should be lead by the promise of living life in riches because you turned your back on your own people, your own country and culture.. It seems to me our government is willing to turn our nation to the devil for a mere promise of being rewarded at the end.. and we all know they will.. except only handful of people will benefit from these so called “lets send the ARmenian people” under the bloody sword” protocols…

    Struggle internally with his emotions? That is not the case President Sarkissian.. someone with emotions should know better to give Turks another chance to walk all over us.. and not only walk all over us.. they will walk all over our lands once you agree to sign that document.. that will be the end..

    Stand up and do the right thing…

    Gayane

  4. Saro P. said:

    After covertly selling us out he now wants to engage us in discussion?
    For what…to ridicule us further??? NO thank you, don’t do me any favors, you’ve done enough TRAITOR.

  5. Patrick Bairamian said:

    I will make it down for the discussion in LA. We have to, as communities make not a voice for ourselves, but a roar that will make his skin wrinkle in fear.

    I will do my part in promoting this in my community circle.

  6. RAffi Azadian said:

    MR. PABKEN HARTUNIAN YOU ARE RIGHT WE ARE SURE THAT IN DIASPORA MORE THAN 90-95% OF ARMENIAN PEOPLE ARE OPPOSING THE TURKEY-ARMENIAN PROTOCOLS. BUT, WE EXPECT ENTIRE ARMENIAN NATION IN ARMENIA , ARTSAKH AND DISPORN ACT AND WORK TOGETHER AND SPEAK WITH ONE VOICE AGAINST THIS SHAMEFUL CAPITULATION .

  7. Katia K. said:

    Mr. Sarkissyan has been holding secret negotiations with the Turkish government for the past several months, and now at the 11th hour, he wants to dedicate the very last two weeks left before the signing of the protocols to discussions with his people? Is this a joke?
    His planned series of visits to different countries with Diasporan Armenians is very reminiscent of the “Tour” of Armenian communities that Ambassador Yavanovitch gave when the Armenian Americans voiced their outrage over President Obama’s broken pledge of recognizing the Armenian Genocide. I was present at one of her town meetings. It was a complete charade and waste of my time. Mr. Sarkissyan’s appeasing tour is so similar to that of Yavanovitch that it makes me wonder if it is not orchestrated by the same puppeteer, as in Secretary Clinton. After all she was on the phone with Mr. Sarkisyan very recently.
    Is our people this weak, and our leaders such pushovers that Europe, Russia, Turkey and America take it upon themselves to decide our fate? Only WE should decide our fate. They are only after their interests.
    Do not let Mr. Sarkissyan’s announcement of touring different countries take your eyes off the ball.

    LIST OF THINGS TURKEY HAS INFLICTED ON OUR PEOPLE:
    1. Centuries of oppression, outrageous taxation, control of our lands and regular massacres.
    2. Genocide: Organized massacre of 1.5 million ethnic Armenians in Western Armenia.
    3. Stealing of Western Armenian lands after emtying them from Armenians, and the drawing of the now talked about illegal borders.
    4. Confiscation of properties, money, forced islamazation, dessicration of churches, cemeteries and historical sites.
    5. Covering up of Genocide by buying off American congressmen, distortion of facts etc.
    6. Imposing an illegal blockade to Armenia right after Armenia’s Independence.
    7. Making Armenia lose economic growth opportunity and income for the past 17 years.
    8. Sabotaging Karabagh’s right for self determination; the same right given to other parts of the fallen Soviet Union.

    WHAT ARMENIA WILL DO WHEN IT SIGNS THE PROTOCOLS:
    Give Turkey an official PARDON for all of the above.

    WHAT WILL ARMENIA GET IN RETURN:
    The “possible” opening of the illegal borders, and “possible” fair trade, and “possible” goodwill of the Turkish people? A huge setback for independence and reparations for rightful claims, loss of respect throughout the world and a divided and scattered people.

    WHAT WILL TURKEY GET ?
    Exoneration from the Genocide that Armenia itself will cast doubt on. And as the “story” of the Armenian Genocide fades into fable, Turkey will finally be welcomed by the EU as an incredible regional power, that with one negotiation spread peace in a region tormented with dillusional claims of historical lands, and justice for an imaginary massacred people.

    ARE WE THIS STUPID? The damage that Turkey has done to us as a people is so enormous that no price can possibly be put on it. We should fight for justice like any normal people who have been victimized do. These protocols will be completely devastating.

    I am praying and hoping in my heart, that President Sarkissyan’s plans for his upcoming visits are true and honest on their intent. And instead of making out of October 13th another dark date that we will mourn every year along with April 24th, he will make it a day we will all remember, where as a nation we averted a catastrophe when our President regained his senses, refused to sign these protocols in their original text, and put Turkey in its place by demanding it to acknowledge the Genocide as a first step towards any possible honest and good willed relationship among our countries. We can always remind Turkey that at first its intentions were to open the borders and exchange diplomats period. Of course the preconditions surfaced after President Obama’s threat of recognizing the Armenian Genocide passed.
    Who wants to stay enemies for ever? But it is equally unacceptable that evil deeds go unpunished.

    Armenia does NOT need Turkey to prosper economically. On the contrary Turkey will never allow itself to be part of Armenia’s advancement. Armenia only needs the Hayastanzies, the Diasporan Armos and the Kharapakhzies. We are our nation’s only hope and only treasure. Instead of working to end up with poisonous friends, we should work to elect competent leaders, to strenghten our burgeoning Democracy and put our heads together to invent new technologies in such fields as in solar and wind power, green is the future… We invented the MRI… come on… we can do it. This is the time to allow dual citizenship. The genocide divided us, let’s let this moment unite us in an unprecedented and permanent way.

  8. Serge said:

    Are we sure this guy name is Sarkisian and not Sarkisuglu? It seems like no matter what we say and do this guy has made up his mind and wants to sell our country. I suggest we ask his resignation immediately before he does more harm, I don’t believe this guy. I wonder how much money he is getting it for?

  9. Levon said:

    To David Boyajian:

    How dare you insult Armenians by calling them “senile” and “eshes”, you don’t know what the Armenian Americans have done for the community, and you blatantly insult them. Have some damn respect and manners. If you want to get some education on these people and stop being ignorant, why don’t you email me and i’ll educate you, you can email me at levkeu@gmail.com, I dare you.

    This typifies what disappoints me about Armenians, we spread too much hate.

  10. Pingback: ARF to Meet with President on Diaspora Tour, Says Manoyan | Stop the Protocols Campaign

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