Sarkisian Defends Protocols Ahead of Diaspora Tour

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YEREVAN (RFE/RL)–President Serzh Sarkisian tried to defended his policy of rapprochement with Turkey on Wednesday, insisting that it will not thwart greater international recognition of the Armenian genocide or result in more Armenian concessions in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

In his most in-depth public speech on the charged subject delivered to date, Sarkisian portrayed the fence-mending agreements finalized by Ankara and Yerevan as a “realistic” compromise necessary for Armenia.

“This is nether an agreement on our capitulation to Turkey, nor a big treaty on strategic partnership to cause concern. And if somebody thinks that these documents should contain only our desires and lead to the realization of only our aspirations, they need to be a little realistic and understand that that’s not possible,” he told members of the presidential Public Council, a body comprising 36 pro-establishment politicians and public figures.

Sarkisian again acknowledged that the two Turkish-Armenian draft protocols envisaging the normalization of bilateral relations carry potential risks for the Armenian side. “But when did we not have [concerns?]” he asked. “When we were voting for Armenia’s independence [in 1991,] were all of us 100 percent certain that everything will go smoothly? I personally had a lot of concerns and anguish when we were forced to mount an armed struggle [against Azerbaijan] in Nagorno-Karabakh.”

“If we are unable or unprepared to hold negotiations with the Turks, why did we become independent in the first place?” he added. “We could have left our status unchanged and let others continue to determine our policy in our place.”

The president addressed the Public Council at the end of a nearly three-hour meeting that wrapped up its discussions on his conciliatory policy on Turkey. The head of the consultative body, Vazgen Manukian, said it overwhelmingly voted for a resolution that recommended the protocols’ ratification by the Armenian parliament. “We discussed all the pluses and minuses, drew a line, added up things, and got a plus,” Manukian told the meeting.

Still, several members of the council voiced reservations about some provisions of the deal which is expected to be signed on October 10. Among them were Hayk Demoyan, director of the Museum-Institute of the Armenian Genocide, and Ruben Safrastian, director of the Institute of Oriental Studies at the Armenian National Academy of Sciences.

The two historians were specifically worried about the planned formation of a Turkish-Armenian “sub-commission” that would investigate the veracity of the Armenian Genocide. They asked Sarkisian to comment on concerns that Ankara could exploit the existence of such a body to keep more countries from recognizing the massacres as genocide.

“It’s obvious that if that process [of genocide recognition] slows or, in which I don’t believe, is suspended, it will be the fault of not our initiative but those people who want to use the initiative as an excuse for not dealing with that matter,” replied Sarkisian.

He also argued that both sides will be equally represented in the controversial panel and that the Turks will not be able to determine its agenda single-handedly. “No sensible Armenian can forget the genocide,” he said.

Sarkisian also rounded on critics for condemning another protocol clause which commits Armenia to explicitly recognizing its existing border with Turkey defined by the 1921 Treaty of Kars. “The Soviet Union recognized the Treaty of Kars for five times, and when we joined the Commonwealth of Independent States [in 1991] … we pledged to comply with all agreements signed by the Soviet Union,” he said. He insisted at the same time that neither protocol obligates Yerevan to recognize the 1921 document.

The Armenian leader further dismissed as “ludicrous” his detractors’ claims that Turkey agreed to make peace with Armenia only in return for additional concessions to Azerbaijan allegedly promised by him. He indicated that his administration’s position on the Karabakh conflict is not different from his predecessor Robert Kocharian’s policy.

“If we don’t see such a solution [acceptable to the Armenian side] nothing can force us to accept it,” he said. “In that case, the entire nation would have to rally and say that we are ready to fight and go to war.”

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7 Comments

  1. Haro Mherian, PhD Mathematics said:

    First, I should confess that as a Mathematician, I believe, Vasken Manukian has lost all of his mathematical abilities. He says that “We discussed all the pluses and minuses, drew a line, added up things, and got a plus”. By the way, did he use the “New Math” method in adding the lines or the old school math? Perhaps, he should start watching Tom Lehrer videos on YouTube?

    Well, Mr Manukian, I put everything on paper, I used every jargons and tools starting from Mathematical Logic, Hidden Markov Chains to Nash Theory, and guess what. I got a huge system of variables and unknowns that all point out to the annihilation of the Armenia and Armenians. It is almost 60 days that I have not slept wondering how else I can compute the situation. All the faithful formulas that have done so much wonder in my life, are all saying in unison this simple message: “This Protocol is last nail in the coffin of Armenia”.
    Here is what mathematics is really telling if these Protocols are signed and ratified (or even less, assuming that the borders are opened without any conditions). In the first stage, Artsakh will be lost and Suinik will be under military pressure from east and west. Second stage: The rest of Armenia will be forced to declare itself as autonomous region first under NATO, and eventually under Turkey. The Armenian population by then will be less than 0.5 million left mostly concentrated in Yerevan (i.e. everyone will leave the country). There will be no Georgian left in Caucasus. Last stage, the Armenian question will be resolved to the level of guerilla fights, very similar to today’s Kurdish question.

    I watched Mr Serge Sarkisyan’s speech, and I am sure it sounds very impressing, but if you give some thoughts to it, you will realize that his analogies and reasoning with Iran border opening, as well as, diplomatic relations with the rest of the world is very flawed, and in some cases wrong. For example, interaction with Iran has caused us some ethnical problems. There are several hundred (if not thousands) intermarriage problems that I have encountered in Yerevan in my last 15 years of visits. Besides none of these other countries of the world directly committed Genocide to Armenians as Turkey. Therefore, this reasoning is logically flawed.
    On another point, SS claims that a country of 80 million to a country of 3 million will open more than 80 times the economic opportunities if borders are open. Well, Mr President, you are wrong again, both logically and empirically. Iran has the same size of the population as Turkey, and the minimum wage is very close to Turkey’s as well. But we did not see any booming industry in Yerevan from Iran so far. Secondly, logically speaking, the size of population works against the economic gain. This is basic economics 101 lesson. The low wage gab of Armenia will evaporate in less than 6 months, and all new jobs that were gained by the opening of Turkey-Armenia border will be forever gone.

    A final point that I heard from his speech, which I completely disagree and we have proof of the contrary in real geopolitical events, is the statement that “we cannot prosper if we close ourselves in fortresses”. Well, this is quite exaggerated to start, moreover, this exact idea of building fortresses is the basic element of the existence of so many countries all over the globe. In order to survive, each country has build fortresses around themselves for the sole purpose to live freely and prosper.

  2. Miro said:

    “Sarkisian portrayed the fence-mending agreements finalized by Ankara and Yerevan as a “realistic” compromise necessary for Armenia.”

    “REALISTIC” ??????????????????????

    His impeachment is realistic but certainly not these protocols.

  3. Vatche Dakessian said:

    Nicley put, Dr. Mherian, our ilustrious leaders and kindergarten politicians are leading us to believe that there is a positive side to these protocols. For the record, can someone please point out just ONE positive aspect of these protocols? For I personally cannot see any.

  4. Sirvart Garabedian said:

    Mr. President, Serge Sarkgsian,
    Why you don’t listen to Armenian public’s voices that they keep in reming you the signing Protocols are absulately bring a dangerous disastour as the 1915 Armenian Genocide and Karabagh, Sumgait, Armenians flee of torture by Azerbaijanis from Baku. Why can’t give yourself a chance to be degnified and respected and follow Winston Churchil policy that he was thiking and planning for 50 years beyond. He was a strong polition, if you have not heard about him, there is time for you to enquire and follow his legacy, if you want to succeed. You can’t shake hands with the enemy with prior demand of conditions, our degnity goes undder the drain, please don’t do this for the sake of our generations to come, you and Mr. Nalbandian will be held accountable if any disastour from tricky Turks brought upon ourselves. If you are unable to think well due to outside powerful countries’ pressure you better render your resignation with degnity. Think what will happen in couple years. We, Armenians can’t trust Turkish government as they are the decendent of Kamal Attaturk, Red Sultan. I, personally and on behalf of my late orphanned father and mother, and 2 killed were tricked to join their army instead they were both killed instantly among other young men. You should sit down with every Armenian family in or diaspora I bet you will not resist to hear all those crimes they went through which is still carried with us as we never saw happinnes on our parents faces. Do you intend to repeat the same thing in exchange for political football game? Better away from outraged and cunning Erdogan, Davitoglu, Gul and many lier cunning Turks in their government, you can’t beat them, They orchestrated the Genocide, they put blockade on Armenian, instead you should be stong and aggrecive to ask them for reparations, return our terretories, and fully and publicly in front of the whole world Appologize and Recognize the 1915 Genocide. All Armenians are behind you if you don’t sign the Protocols and forget about this dangerous games… I wish you Good Luck..

  5. Lusik said:

    WHO KNOWS WHY THERE IS NO SINGLE MAJOR NEWS PAPER

    WRITING ANYTHING ABOUT THE PROTOCOL AND THE TURMOIL

    IT HAS CREATED IN THE ARMENIAN NATION?

  6. Prof. Roger Smith said:

    Thats not true! Hayk Demoyan, who is not a Genocide Scholar, but was forced by Serj Sarkissian to be elected as a Director of the Armenian Genocide Museum, 100% supported the Presidents undertakings of protocols. Please be informed, before publishing desinformation.

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