ARF Will Not Participate in the Western Armenia Congress, Says Manoyan

ARF Political Affairs Director Giro Manoyan

BY ARA KHACHATOURIAN

The Sevres Treaty is a legal document signed by the state of Armenia and, as such, it is up to the state to pursue any action on the matter, hence, the Armenian Revolutionary Federation will not take part in an ad-hoc conference organized by various individuals, the ARF Political Affairs Director Giro Manoyan told RFE/RL’s Armenian service in an interview.
 
“The rights envisioned by the Sevres Treaty for Armenian people, especially as they relate to territory, belong to the state of Armenia. That’s very simple,” explained Manoyan.
 
Some 200 Armenians, from throughout the world who claim to have Western Armenian ancestry have decided to gather in Sevres, France in December for what they are terming the “Western Armenian National Congress” to discuss what one individual terms “the rights of Western Armenians.”
 
The Sevres Treaty was signed on August 10, 1920 by the Ottoman Empire, the Allied Powers and the Republic of Armenia. Per the treaty, Turkey recognized Armenia as an independent republic, with the demarcation of the border between the two countries left to be determined by the United States, a measure known as the Woodrow Wilson Arbitral Award.
 
In November 1920, through the arbitral award by President Woodrow Wilson, the borders of Armenia were to have included two-thirds of the Van and Bitlis provinces, the entirety of Erzerum and the majority of Trabizond, including its Black Sea port.
 
The subsequent new world order created by the emergence of the Soviet Union, coupled with the fall of the Ottoman Empire, created an atmosphere whereby the provisions of the Sevres Treaty were ignored and the new leadership of these replacement states underhandedly colluded to undermine the treaty.
 
The congress is the third of such so-called “Western Armenian” initiatives, one of which boasts a self-proclaimed president and a prime minister. In the RFE/RL interview, Manoyan said that gatherings such as the one proposed for December, have the potential to discredit the Sevres Treaty and the Wilsonian Arbitral Award.
 
One of the organizers of the December congress, Varoujan Gureghian of France told the RFE/RL Armenian Service that “for us Sevres is merely a symbol” adding that gathering “is not related to the treaty.” He explained the conference is linked to the Western Armenia Conferences, which took place in 1917 and 1919.
 
“The aim is to identify the rights of Western Armenians and later, through international law, present it to Turkey,” claimed Gureghian.
 
Manoyan countered this simplistic approach saying that it is unacceptable that the proposed congress be the legal successor to the ones held in 1917 and 1919, especially when the 1919 conference did recognize the then Republic of Armenia as the homeland of all Armenians and the republic declared itself to be United Armenia, the homeland of all Armenians. It was the Republic of Armenia which signed the Treaty of Sevres and the Wilson Arbitration was awarded to the Republic of Armenia, whose legal successor is the current Republic of Armenia.
 
Manoyan also expressed concern about the so-called representatives to the conference.
 
“We are generally opposed to this approach, which creates a renewed separation between ‘Western Armenians’ and ‘Eastern Armenians,’” said Manoyan, who was emphasizing that the Sevres Treaty is a legal document for the entire nation, with provisions that impact all Armenians.

The International Human Rights Law Association at the University of California, Los Angeles hosted a conference last October entitled, “Genocide and Then What? The Law, Ethics, and Politics of Making Amends,” which gathered many scholars in the fields of international law, reparations and genocide, who presented distinct approaches of pusuing this matter from a national and state perspective.

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4 Comments

  1. Jack said:

    There is already a separation between Western and Eastern Armenians. Armenians in Armenia could care less about the genocide, expulsion and occupation of Western Armenia; it’s only the Diaspora $$ they want and to get on with their lives otherwise it’s a big FU to other Armenians.

    What is Manoyan really worried about; the antiquated ARF?

    I think this is a good initiative to show the world that Turkey has occupied Armenian land and it will not be forgotten regardless of who resides there.

    • Avetik said:

      And who built the Genocide Memorial in Yerevan via mass protests and demands, during notoriously anti-nationalistic Soviet rule? That same monument which every official delegate must visit when coming to Armenia?

      Listen, you have no idea of the day-to-day struggles Armenians in Armenia face, and it can sometimes be difficult to worry about the suffering of our ancestors when we ourselves are suffering in the present. But to say outright that Armenians in Armenia could care less about the genocide is an insult that I take personally.

      Would it be fair for me to say that all the Diaspora cares about is the Genocide, and they could care less about whatever little homeland we all have left after that dark chapter in history? That statement, though just as ignorant as yours, makes more sense. Armenia is on the brink of another wipe-out from BOTH sides of our border this time, yet all you care about is what happened 100 years ago (not saying that is not important in the least bit) when the same is about to happen before your eyes and you’re doing absolutely nothing about it. It is easy to concentrate only on history when you don’t have to feel the terrible realities of the present on your own skin.

      Take your high and mighty attitude and stay out of Armenia if you don’t like us so much.

  2. Khachig said:

    Jack, I’ve been through Yerevan, Stepanakert, Gyumri, and Javakhk this summer and I can tell you that in every city I’ve been in, Armenians in Armenia do care about the Genocide, deeply, and to generalize the opinions of some, even a large amount, is an insult to the many, many Armenians in Armenia that do care.

  3. Jack said:

    My apologies Khachig, it appears you surveyed everyone in various cities during your visit.
    Barev, how are you, I’m visiting this city, how do you feel about the Genocide? Perhaps with a goofy hand wave.

    Please. Armenians in Armenia would stop caring if funds stopped. They welcome you as a brother eying your tourist dollar or euro as soon as you leave you are a foreigner. Diaspora funds the country yet they do not like the spyourk getting involved in their government affairs. They need to learn from the jews how to treat and respect the diaspora and then perhaps they can be more successful in life.

    Yes perhaps this is a generalization, but am I wrong?

    There is nothing special about Armenians in Armenia as many diasporans perceive other than their own narcissism.

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