US Envoy to Turkey Says Protocols Recognize Kars, Do Not Touch on Genocide

ANKARA—During an interview last week with the Turkish Sabah newspaper, the US Ambassador to Turkey said the Armenia-Turkey protocols recognize the Kars Treaty and do not touch on the Genocide, explaining the Armenia’s Constitutional Court ruling did not negate any of the aforementioned issues.

Asbarez reported last week that US Ambassador James Jeffrey told the Turkish parliament that if Turkey did not ratify the protocols, the Congressional resolution recognizing the Armenian Genocide could be approved.

Below is a transcript of the Jeffrey’s interview with Sabah correspondent Nur Batur:

Nur Batur: The protocol signed with Armenia has been one of the most important pillars of the “zero problems with neighbors” policy. Is the protocol dead now?

Ambassador James Jeffrey: No. The Armenian Constitutional Court has given the green light for the implementation of the protocol. [Turkey’s] Foreign Minister [Ahmet] Davutoglu is in contact with [Armenia’] Foreign Minister [Eduard] Nalbandian. We are working with the Turks almost every day. We are trying to make progress with regard to Karabakh. Actually, these two are separate processes. But, Turkey considers them the same. Conflicts in the Caucasus must definitely be settled. These issues may keep different paces but all of them are important. These are parallel processes. US Ambassador in the Minsk Group was in Ankara last week. Nothing is dead.

However, Foreign Minister Davutoglu found the decision to be in contradiction with the spirit of the protocol. He wants an assurance that would protect the spirit of the protocol. Some expressions in the decision caused discomfort for Turks but we think that the decision is a positive one. It opens the way for passing the protocol at the Parliament. I know, for instance, that when a constitution court reviews a decision, some paragraphs can be found to be in violation of the Constitution in some states. This is not the case with the Armenian court decision. We believe that both sides are serious about their commitment to the protocol.

N.B: Nonetheless, the Constitution says that “the genocide is undeniable”. The court has made references to paragraph 11. They do not recognize the agreement that defines borders.

J.J.: Paragraph 11 does not contain the term “border.” The decision says that “Armenian Government shall not interpret the protocol in a way in contradiction with the genocide that occurred in ‘Ottoman Turkey and the Western Armenia.’ We had jurists review the decision. The protocol contains a clear commitment that the existing borders shall be mutually recognized in accordance with Kars agreement and others. There is not a covert reference to the events defined as “genocide” that took place somewhere in West Armenia, whereabouts of which are not really clear at all. We do not think there is a legal obstacle that would put the recognition of borders at risk. At any rate, the protocol does not touch on the genocide issue in any way. It only mentions a committee of historians that could be set up to investigate the 1915 events. That is, it does not introduce a limitation to the positions. Turks would not have signed the protocol if it had meant a change in borders.

N.B.: What happens if borders are opened and Armenians say that the genocide is indisputable?

J.J.: These are all intertwined steps in the protocol. Steps are being taken, including the establishment of a committee. These are linked to each other. Davutoglu underlined the spirit of the protocol. I understand that. Whenever the position of Armenia and the approval of protocol come up on the agenda, it creates a stir in domestic policy. We have similar problems in the U.S. Senate. But in legal terms, we think that the decision is only giving a green light to the approval of the protocol and that there is nothing else to read into it. Moreover, Armenian government has also stated that it stands by the protocol.

N.B.: Could Turkey get a written assurance?

J.J.: We are trying to understand what both sides exactly want. We would like to understand how the spirit of the protocol comes across.

N.B.: Do you mean mediation? Could there be a way out soon?

J.J.: It is not being a mediator. We are in touch with all parties only. Everyone exerts efforts.

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25 Comments

  1. Dino Ajemian said:

    The Ambassador states “The protocol contains a clear commitment that the existing borders shall be mutually recognized in accordance with Kars agreement and others.”

    Mr james jefrey, I believe, is senile.
    No where in the protocols is it written “Kars agreement” or “Kars Treaty”

    What the protocols says is the following:

    “the mutual recognition of the existing border between the two countries as defined by the relevant treaties of international law.”
    There are relevant treaties and irrelevant treaties between Armenia and turkey.
    The irrelevant treaties are the ones that are illegal and thus non binding.
    The kemalists, a rebel group, akin to the PKK, signed the kars treaty. The kemalists were an unrecognized group during the existence of the recognized Ottoman government. So anything signed by the Kemalist rebel group, during the duly recognized and legitimate Ottoman government, is under international law illegal.
    It is void ab initio, which means “to be treated as invalid from the outset”.
    Thus, the presently turkish occupied provinces of kars and igdir are part of the present Republic of Armenia.
    Now to the relevant treaty that is legal and binding.
    The Wilsonian Arbitral Award. Nothing legal has negated that. It is still legal and binding.
    Under International law, turkey has to cough up: Erzincan, Erzurum, Mush, Bitlis,Agri,Baiburt, Ardahan,Artvin,Rize,Trabzon and Van.

    Ok, so what happens next?
    1)The protocols will be ratified.
    2) The border will be open.
    3) The question of the legality of the treaties of KArs and Moscow will be sent to the Constitutional court of Armenia.
    4) They will be deemed illegal.
    5) Armenia will then go the International Court of Justice not to Arbitration but through litigation.
    6) Three parts to the case: Kars Treaty, Wilsonian Arbitral Award and the Armenian Genocide.

    What will turkey do? Close the border again? Everybody has disputes and court cases but they dont close the border. When they do close the border and hamper our trade, that would be another court case.

    So you say turkey will ignore any court verdict in Armenia’s favor.
    There are legal mechanisms which would strangulate turkey economically and politically if they dont give in.
    Saying, no that cant happen is equivlent to being an ostrich with its head in the sand.

    Maybe there is a reason why Serj is head of the Armenian Chess Federation.
    Most of us have been against the protocols with good reason.
    I would like to see how this all plays out before we build guilotines in Republic Square.

    • Papken Hartunian said:

      The protocols will not be ratified. Meantime Turkey is able to damage the recognition of Ottoman Empire’s genocide against Armenian children. It has been the sole objective of the Turkey all along.
      Moreover, Mr. Sargsyan is able to keep his position. So, as two main parties, it is win-win situation.

  2. Sako said:

    Can the good people at Asbarez solicit an explanatory piece by Ara Papian on this matter please.

  3. John K. said:

    The Protocol recognizes the Kars treaty? For this reason alone the Armenian government should reject the protocol.

  4. Lusik said:

    When one talks about opening/closing borders, one recognizes the borders. In this sense, yes, Protocols recognize the borders. In fact, Armenian government with no pain is giving away a chance to annul Kars Treaty and call for new Treaty between the Armenian Republic and the Republic of Turkey. Serj Sarkisian is not the first, however, to fail. Levon Ter-Petrosian, Kocharian failed before.

    The moment has come to say now: NO.

    The best way the absurdity of the situation was put by Sos Sarkissian recently “What border are we/they opening? A fence put in the middle of our territory?” (not exactly, but in this spirit).

    It is important to stay firm and clear on few issues, in my opinion:
    1. Armenia has a room for insisting revision of borders, since the “Bolshevik Russia” has ceased with the dismantling of the USSR. According to Kars Treaty (Google and read), NAKHICHEVAN WAS GIVEN TO AZERBAIJAN UNDER PROTECTORATE OF TURKEY TEMPORARILY !!!). This key-point gave several times impetus for Russia (Stalin) to sell-and-by important political and economical products for Turkey. Churchill contributed also. It might be the reason, that the Protocols were signed in Churchill’s room of the University of Zurich. But same Churchill said: never, never, never give up. And we chose this side of Churchill.

    Jeffrey perfectly understand all this. Any educated diplomat understands this. He tries to explain, convince Turks that it might be more important to seal a deal about northern borders by “opening” it, compared to the anxiety of facing world recognition of the Armenian Genocide. I personally think that Turkey pretends that all the problem is the Armenian Genocide (Turkey knows that the USA, Israel, … will never recognize the Armenian Genocide). Turkey stages this theater to diminish importance of sealing Kars Treaty with the Armenian Republic, in order to commit a crime of new sort. Turkey wants a large European and USA community to participate in this illegal international deal. The goal is to bind, compromise them for the next dirty business.

    2. As to the Azerbaijan, it understands that since Artsakh (Karabakh) was not mentioned in Protocols, when ratified, it will be facing loss of not only Artsakh, but Nakhichevan as well. And Aliev’s father was born in Nakhichevan. So, now you can see what a personal pain is all this to the president Aliev.
    To make all these less painful, high-ranked officials from finest country send their emissaries to Baku.

    In brief, NO TO PROTOCOLS.

  5. Jay said:

    This envoy speaks as if the land was of his own ( @#$%^@ you) . We have become ‘Diasporans’ as a direct result of Persecution and extermination.. We are sole owners of the Western Armenian lands.It is long overdue that , the Diasporans take up the issue (Treaty of Kars) to the UN International Court. Another thing,if the United States wants Armenia to ratify this, Cotton Pickin’ finger protocol, then Armenia should lay down Conditions to the US:

    Recognize the Armenian genocide,

    Recognize Artaskh Teritories

    Return of the Wesern Armenian lands to their rightful owners. including Nakicevan by the Occupiers.

  6. Lusik said:

    If one talks about opening/closing borders, one recognizes the borders. In this sense, yes, Protocols recognize the borders. In fact, Armenian government with no pain is giving away a chance to annul Kars Treaty and call for new Treaty between the Armenian Republic and the Republic of Turkey. Serj Sarkisian is not the first, however, to fail. Levon Ter-Petrosian, Kocharian failed before.

    The moment has come to say now: NO.

    The best way the absurdity of the situation was put by Sos Sarkissian recently “What border are we/they opening? A fence put in the middle of our territory?” (not exactly, but in this spirit).

    It is important to stay firm and clear on few issues, in my opinion:
    1. Armenia has a room for insisting revision of borders, since the “Bolshevik Russia” has ceased with the dismantling of the USSR. According to Kars Treaty (Google and read), NAKHICHEVAN WAS GIVEN TO AZERBAIJAN UNDER PROTECTORATE OF TURKEY TEMPORARILY !!!). This key-point gave several times impetus for Russia (Stalin) to sell-and-by important political and economical products for Turkey. Churchill contributed also. It might be the reason, that the Protocols were signed in Churchill’s room of the University of Zurich. But same Churchill said: never, never, never give up. And we chose this side of Churchill.

    Jeffrey perfectly understand all this. Any educated diplomat understands this. He tries to explain, convince Turks that it might be more important to seal a deal about northern borders by “opening” it, compared to the anxiety of facing world recognition of the Armenian Genocide. I personally think that Turkey pretends that all the problem is the Armenian Genocide (Turkey knows that the USA, Israel, … will never recognize the Armenian Genocide). Turkey stages this theater to diminish importance of sealing Kars Treaty with the Armenian Republic, in order to commit a crime of new sort. Turkey wants a large European and USA community to participate in this illegal international deal. The goal is to bind, compromise them for the next dirty business.

    2. As to the Azerbaijan, it understands that since Artsakh (Karabakh) was not mentioned in Protocols, when ratified, it will be facing loss of not only Artsakh, but Nakhichevan as well. And Aliev’s father was born in Nakhichevan. So, now you can see what a personal pain is all this to the president Aliev.
    To make all these less painful, high-ranked officials from finest country send their emissaries to Baku.

    In brief, NO TO PROTOCOLS.

  7. Nairian said:

    Of course the Kars Treaty is both illegal and treacherous. Before the illegal Treaty is accepted, the legal Wilson Arbitration Arbitration Award and the legal Sevres Treaty must be accepted and put in the protocols. Armenia CANNOT and MUST NOT sign a treacherous protocol that accepts the stolen lands by Turkey. Armenia cannot accept today’s Turkey’s borders as fait-a-complit BECAUSE TURKEY HAS BEEN SITTING ON OUR LANDS! Western Armenia has been and it belongs to Armenia proper. Proof; The Wilson Arbitration Award, Genocide reparation by Turkey in the form of our Western Armenian lands. That’s why Turkey is so upset about the Genocide recognition; because once that happends they have to couph up our lands back to the owner; us ARMENIANS!

    ARMENIANS WAKE UP AND DON’T LET THE ARMENIAN PARLIAMENT RATIFY THE PROTOCOLS! IT IS EXTREMELY DANGEROUS TO THE SOVEREIGNTY OF ARMENIA AND ARTSAKH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  8. Ron said:

    I can’t believe this. What the hell is Jeffrey smoking? He should be held responsible for his irresponsible assessment and conclusion about the protocols. His references and lousy explanation with regard to the Genocide issue are just ridiculous. The Armenian government should not let this incorrect interpretation about the protocols and the Kars Treaty to go unanswered.

  9. sari miro said:

    The RoA should be raising the issue of the Turkish annexation of Kars and Igdir by Kemalist forces from the First Armenian Republic.

  10. Alex A. Manukian said:

    This is US desperation to this deal to go through, so they can build many energy line connecting EAST-to-WEST energy that EU desperately needs, because of Russian strong monopoly in the energy supply. Most of the Armenian Energy companies are owned by Russian, and so the companies in Azeri-stan. Russia and Armenia will be the bigger winner in this. The way US treats the GENOCIDE as a f…in bargaining chip is offense to all Armenians. A lot of people suffer in many different ways with what the Turks did to them, and it’s being wave by US at Turkey as a threat. WTF is wrong with people? Is oil new GOD that people worship?

    Turkey has not respected the Kars Treaty, which means that treaty is null by Turkish government, but they wanna keep the fruits of that treaty, the land grab by means of extermination and exportation. This happened to Albanians of Kosovo, and so 65 countires recognized that region independent, but Armenians can’t do the same to Karabakh, because of Stalin’s hatred for Armenians, who gave most all of Armenia’s lands away to Azeri’s, Turks and Georgians. For one reason, because they new our desperate state of people’s of the time, after all, all of Armenians of that day were thanking God to have a new chance at life and make new families and recover from what happened to them. Why don’t people care about that in the world, that what they did is wrong and it wasn’t the first time Armenians endured blood shed because of their ethnicity.

    On Naxichevan, why is it in places sandwiched between 3 countries. They destroy our history in that region, thinking that erasing ink written history of peoples with an eraser would work. Why didn’t Armenians fight for that region at the same time the Karabakh war was going on.

    But I must say, there is a lot things that I don’t like about these protocol, which I have read many times, but I must say looking at what position Armenia is now and how pissed of Azeri’s are today. This puts Azeri-stan in a really bad spot with Turkey, already problems with Iran, Russian uses them as an “OIL COW.”

    Dino Ajemian to your steps, although, legally correct I don’t think Armenia has much to offer to get those legally ratifed. Turkey will just simple brush the International Courts Ruling by having another gov’t overthrow by military, and that will be end of that. Who will back up Armenia? NO ONE BUT THE ARMENIANS. Russian and USA or EU won’t fight a war for us, because we don’t have oil.

    • Dino Ajemian said:

      “Dino Ajemian to your steps, although, legally correct I don’t think Armenia has much to offer to get those legally ratifed.”

      1) So you are not for the constitutional court to make a legal ruling that the the Kars treaty, Treaty of Moscow and Treaty of Alexandropol are void ab initio?
      2) You don’t want to then go to international court about those treaties, the Wilsonian Arbitral Award or the Armenian Genocide? Just because you THINK nothing will come of it? Whose side are you on?

      “Turkey will just simple brush the International Courts Ruling by having another gov’t overthrow by military, and that will be end of that.”

      1) So through our efforts, after the International Court of Justice rules in favor of the Wilsonian Arbitral Award, the voiding of the three treaties and a ruling that turkey is responsible for the Armenian Genocide, turkish government is over thrown by military somehow you think that’s a bad thing? I only hope so. Turkey will be a pariah, they will be strangulated and we will get back what rightfully belongs to us.
      2) Our legal win would be the equivlent of 10 Army divisions. Clearly turkey would have no right to intervene in our taking back Nakhichevan. And no one give a hoot if we did.
      3) this is what I hate about Armenian thinking: No is the favorite word in the Armenian vocabulary. If we did not have this defeatist-why bother attitude we would still have a kingdom from sea to sea to sea. Let’s say yes we can and invest the time effort and resources so we can have our kingdom back. Otherwise Armenia will continue to get smaller and smaller until its all gone. And then the naysayers will say, even if we did fight to save the country the outcome would have been the same. In my opinion it is better to die on your feet fighting then die on your knees and do nothing.

  11. Philip Pehlivanian said:

    Thats funny, the parliament just ratified a law that would make it easier to nullify international treaties and yet the protocols state that both countries must recognize treaties of international law. Which one is it?? Why is there so much contradiction?? Any reasonable person who has read or studied Armenian history without a doubt knows that Eastern Turkey is Western Armenia and that those lands were given away by Soviet Russia without the consent of the Armenian people or the leadership at that time, sounds pretty tyrannical to me. I don’t care if its been 95 years, those lands will be reconciled with Armenia and the Armenian people.

  12. Araxi said:

    Scandelous and shameful for a man of his stature does not understand the very meaning of International Treaties. This is a bad example of an American politician gone wrong. He needs to re-educate himself.

      • Araxi said:

        Your very fine diplomat is toying with our ancient Armenian lands. Do you have any idea what the Kars treaty is?

        • Lusik said:

          Jeffrey James is the first diplomat, to my knowledge, who stated clearly that Turkey has closed border not because of solidarity with Azeris, as official Ankara claims, but because the international law requires re-ratification of the Kars Treaty between new states – Turkey and Republic of Armenia (since USSR has been demolished).

          This type of statement costs a position. May be he is sick and tired of working on USA-Turkey rusted bond?

        • Lusik said:

          In plus, Jeffrey James might be sending to Armenians a signal, that re-ratification of Kars Treaty, as he qualifies Protocols, might let any country to stop recognition of the Armenian Genocide – as an event preceding the Kars Treaty.

  13. Zareh said:

    I agree with joe that this is the US ambassador’s spin on the issue. The contradiction in the ambassador’s statement, in my opinion, lies in the insistence that the word “Genocide” is not mentioned in the protocols, therefore alluding that that is why the Armenians accepted the protocols, and at the same time he says it leaves room to “investigate events” which is acceptable to the Turks.

    Then he continues saying that ” Turks would not have signed the protocol if it had meant a change in borders” therefore he declares, Armenians have accepted the Kars treaty. The ambassador is in a very shaky grounds. He is taking a well crafted document and interpreting it by what is NOT in it. There is no mention of Kars treaty in the document, how can this be meant as recognition? just as there is no mention of Genocide which the Turks insist on not having recognized it with these protocols. With this logic I guess one can now deduce that Kars treaty can be investigated too.

    Europe, Russia and the US want those borders opened, they are not interested in either Genocide issue nor border disputes, be it Kars or Karabakh. At the end of the day the borders will have to be opened putting aside differences, they are saying, and so far Armenia has accepted those terms and Turkey has not.

  14. Berge Jololian said:

    On this year’s April 24th Commemoration, let’s send a clear message to James Jeffrey and his US State Department: Land * Reparation * Restitution

    Banners with large type: Land * Reparation * Restitution
    Kars, Armenia
    Ararat, Armenia
    Ani, Armenia
    Ardahan, Armenia
    Hopa, Armenia
    Erzincan, Armenia

    Keep Turkey out of the EU

    Acknowledgment with Accountability

*

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