Working Collectively to Stop the Protocols

armenia-turkey border5 (Medium)
Although our collective national shock might not have worn off over last week’s disturbing announcement of protocols for the establishment and development of relations between Armenia and Turkey, it is high time to begin accepting the unacceptable and look ahead, because time is running out.

Almost two weeks have passed already of the six-week public debate stipulation of the protocols, after which the two countries will have to sign the documents and, based on a more impermissible provision, await the approval by the parliaments of the two countries.

Last week, it became evident that this so-called public discourse on the protocol was going to be lopsided at best. The authorities and their supporters have already begun a campaign to water down the inherent dangers of the document. Also, as expected, former president Levon Ter-Petrossian and his Armenian National Congress threw their support for the protocols, making one conclude that the dust they’ve been raising for a year and a half was nothing but a self-fulfilling power play by a man whose true national intentions have already been exposed. And now, by parroting the Turkish talking points that Karabakh is not mentioned in the protocols they are well on their way to insulting a nation that is more intelligent and more aware of its national values.

The time has come for us—the people—to set the tone of the debate and take that opportunity away from an otherwise misguided government, which stood by and did nothing while its Azeri and Turkish counterparts were setting the stage for the ill-fated protocols. A similar effort has already begun on the eve of a scheduled visit by the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairmen who have pledged to introduce a “revised” version of the so-called Madrid principles.

The machinations of this rapprochement process also clearly demonstrate the Armenian authorities’ deliberate disregard for the Diaspora and the critical—if not organic—role it plays in the Armenian national arena.

During a meeting late last year at the Armenian Consulate in Los Angeles, the newly crowned Diaspora Minister Hranoush Hakopyan declared that her, and the government’s, mission was to present a united Armenian nation of 10-million strong. Her effort to re-brand Armenians from what she called a “victim” nation to a “strong” collective seems to have hit a brick wall, since we did not see her engaging the Diaspora in any pre-roadmap/protocol debate. In fact, attempts by Diaspora leaders to covey concerns were brushed aside not only by Hakopyan, whose dubious past as an LTP crony made her a questionable candidate for the post she occupies but also by Armenia’s chief diplomat, Eduard Nalbandian.

It is critical to understand the urgency of the moment that has resulted from the Armenian authorities’ self-righteous approach to this and other national issues and to ensure that our collective national resolve is not ignored in favor of Turkey’s policies.

In the next four weeks, all Armenians in Armenia and Diaspora—regardless of their political persuasion—must rise up and express their unequivocal opposition to the protocols in the same manner that we have demonstrated our unity around the veracity of the Armenian Genocide and the pivotal relevance of Karabakh. In their current form, the protocols will not only undermine and discredit decades of hard work in advancing the Armenian Cause, they will endanger Armenia’s national security and rob future generation of their national dignity.

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  1. John K. said:

    I agree with you 100%. I beleive all the political parties in the Diaspora are against this protocol but only ARF has representatives in the Armenian Parliment and they are in the minority. Our leadership in the Diaspora should direct the people towards a specific goal and do specific things to achieve this goal; otherwise all our efforts would be in vain.

  2. Steve said:

    It is shocking to read that the Turkish President repeatedly consulted with Azeri President Aliev in the weeks preceding the announcment of the Protocol to set the Azeri mind at ease that Turkey would do nothing to harm their interests, yet the Armenian President, who is president of 2 and half million citizens and has expressed his promise to care for represent the other 7 million of the disapora, (see his establishment of a special “Diaspora Ministry” did not consult one single diasporan representative about the “Protocol” that deals so intimately with the predicament and the causal trigger for the dispaora… How can that be???
    It must be either abject ignorance or treason??
    As President if you are that ignorant to the obvious political ramifications of your actions many would find that treasonous!
    Toss the scoundrel out!
    The Turks surely would if he was theirs!

  3. Vahe Nalbandian said:

    Self determination is a more important principle than territorial integrity.
    Territorial integrity only serves to propagate past injustices.
    The Armenian genocide is a well established fact. It does not require further study.
    I do not trust Turkish intentions. Their politics is very treacherous.

  4. Gayane said:

    I AGREE..

    I CALL FOR EVERYONE..regardless where they live, what they do, what political groups they belong to.. Armenians all over the world should stand together and voice their anger and disagreement OUT LOUD about these protocols..

    We, ARMENIANS need to protect our land, our people and our country.. and the only way we can do this is by standing up together.. fighting together…

    I am ready to do anything that i can to give my support..


  5. Aram said:

    I completely agree with the article.

    Is it possible to start a pan-Armenian petition against this so-called agreement and send it to Mr. Sarkissian^ After all, he can not ignore a whole nation.

  6. Moris said:

    These two protocols do not deny the fact of Armenian Genocide as well the end result of a huge crime committed by Turkish against Armenian nation. It is worse: These two protocols are going to legalize the genocide committee, WITHOUT TOO MUCHEMOTIONS but being constructive, we all should make President Sarkisian clear, that he and his administration do no have a mandate to speak in the name of Armenian Nation! These all is not about territories.. The memory of the victems of Armeian Genocide being insulted… Let Armenian Parliament rename the Republic to “East Armenia” , delete any reference to “Armenian nation” from protocols and ratify this protocols…

  7. haigoush kohler said:

    Sireli ung. Ara – Greetings from Yerevan. The locals here, for them, life is as usual. In my opinion serious public education is an utmost necessity. Taxi drivers are more concerned who is making more money and who is not. They have an attitude “poor me”… One taxi driver coming from the airport to Ani Plaza Hotel was glad that the borders are going to be opened soon, saying that it is good for our economy… he had no idea what was involved. Am sure he is not the only one. I had to give him piece, and a hard one, for that matter.

    For the general and average citizen, life is as usual. They claim: “kouyrig jan mez ov a lusoom”.

    Medz zorasharjee gariku zgalee e. I am seriously concerned….

    I regret that I was not present at the “informative community forum-meeting at St. Mary’s. My support as always, hajoghoutune.

    Regards, Haigoush Kohler
    Yerevan Armenia
    September 11, 2009

  8. Garo said:

    Mr Khachatourian’s article doesn’t bring any concrete plan to bring a United fight against the proposals. It heightens the already very heigh awareness and anxiety of the Diaspora. So far the only united action taken by the 3 Diaspora Armenian political parties was in Toronto. Why don’t we do the same in USA, Lebanon, France, and all over the world? Where is ANCA’s webfax method to bring united national pressure on the Armenian government and parliament. Where is Assembly’s voice?
    It is obvious by now that The Armenian government will not change their course, as stated in Mr Khatcadourian’s article. Where are the demonstrations all over the world? Why could we silence the opponents of the Armenian Genocide in USA, by the impressive grassroot driven Webfax, telephonecalls and demonstrations, and we are not doing it against the Armenian government. One thinks that our Armenian Parties must know something that the people dont!
    The time is now. Its extremely urgent to act now. This is the time for the Armenian Political parties to come together all over the world and act together and bring a huge pressure on the government of Armenia, and remain loyal to their pledges in their Bylaws. After all if we loose this round, its capitulation, and everything else will be secondary.
    The Armenian parties have the means and the motivation to do it. We will watch and see how much willpower they have to leave their differences aside and act in Unity Now.

  9. Mark Mamikonyan, ARMENIA said:

    It is generally accepted in the diplomatic practice that protocols on establishment of bilateral relations and opening of the borders be limited to a single phrase, like this generic one: “The Parties to this Protocol hereby declare their intention to establish diplomatic relations and open the common border.” For Christ’s sake, what was the need for a lengthy, humiliating, and dubious at best, if not explicitly preconditioned in nature, description of intentions?! Dozens of countries in the world have unsolved territorial, border, and historical concerns, but no one sits round the negotiating table and signs protocols. Russia and Japan are still in the state of war, no peace treaty has been signed and the issue of “Northern Territories” still hanging as damoclean sword. Can we affirm that no diplomatic relations exist between them, no open borders established, no trade and economic activity going on? It was idiotic of Serge to succumb to preconditions that are totally unwarranted in international practice. There was no need, except for Turkey’s domestic consumption, perhaps, to fixate them on the paper. It could have been well negotiated in a simple, verbal quid pro quo manner: no genocide recognition, no border issue, just establishment of relations and opening of the border. If Turkey’s support for Azerbaijan was a factor, it could have been explained to Baku, also verbally.