Once More on the Pair of Unfortunate Protocols

By Ara Papian

Through their own dubious analysis and that of others, certain Parteikanzlei (party leaderships) are attempting to equate opposition to signing the pair of unfortunate protocols and the establishment of Armenian-Turkish diplomatic relations with opposing the opening of the so-called border. Personally, I am one hundred percent for establishing diplomatic, as well as consular, relations and fifty percent for opening the so-called border. At the same time, I am one hundred percent against signing, much less ratifying, the aforementioned protocols as, apart from the establishment of diplomatic relations and the lifting of the blockade on Armenia, they consist of more than ten very serious, even historically critical, liabilities, which are not even so much preconditions in nature, but are designated demands to be fulfilled.

Establishing diplomatic relations is not a self-serving prospect. It is a means to resolve present and potential problems, disputes and disagreements between countries through negotiations. If we are adopting final compromises on all issues of principle, what are we to discuss with the Turks in future? The preservation of Armenian cultural monuments or regulations on importing Toyota spare parts?

A brief observation on how there supposedly isn’t any mention of the Treaty of Kars in the protocols. Firstly, could someone please explain to me what the parties mean by, “the existing border between the two countries as defined by the relevant treaties of international law”? Perhaps even the Treaty of Alexandropol, seeing as how the word “treaties” is in the plural.

Politically speaking, what was the Treaty of Kars? It was a bribe by Bolshevik Russians to those generals of the Ottoman army – already defeated by the Armistice of Moudros (on the 30th of October, 1918), condemned by their own legal authorities, declared as criminals by their own allies – who were ready to annihilate Armenian and Greek “imperialism”.

Despite its rapacious nature and illegal status, the Treaty of Kars does consist of some beneficial clauses. In particular, articles 11, 17 and 18 refer respectively to rights of foreign nationals, unimpeded communication and trade, regulating them to a certain extent.

Putting aside the legality of the Treaty of Kars, as well as those of Alexandropol and Moscow, or rather, the question of their illegality, let me briefly turn to the liability mentioned in the fifth clause of the protocol “On the establishment of diplomatic relations between the Republic of Armenia and the Republic of Turkey”, which is, “the mutual recognition of the existing border between the two countries as defined by the relevant treaties of international law”.

One can assert with conviction that it would have been better to directly mention the Treaty of Kars instead of such convoluted, but simultaneously clear, citations. In the second case, we are legally stating and recording the territorial occupations by rebel Turkish forces against a legally-recognised state, the Republic of Armenia, without even making note of the advantages brought about by the Treaty of Kars.

I would like to believe that the more than ten anti-Armenian mistakes found in the unfortunate protocols are the result of the negligence of the bureaucracy, or else one may blame the heat for affecting the minds at work. It is summer, after all.

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