As Community Unites, Armenian Assembly Steps Away

As political parties and community organizations have come together to express a loud and collective disapproval of the dangerous protocols on Turkey-Armenia relations, one faction in the community—the Armenian Assembly of America—has opted for a route of dissention and has chosen to herald the protocols’ benefits as a cure all for Armenia’s ills and step forward for US interests in that area.

“I am not willing to call it quits at the outset,” said Peter Kezirian a spokesperson for the Armenian Assembly of America in an appearance on a live television panel last Sunday discussing the Armenia-Turkey relations protocols.

Mr. Kezirian was using that argument to fortify his—and his organization’s—belief that the protocols are meant to begin a long-awaited and much-needed process of normalizing relations between Turkey and Armenia and admonished all those opposing the protocols as doing the work of the enemy by, at the end of the day, pointing out the inherent flaws—dangers—of the documents.

On Sept. 2, the Assembly issued an announcement on the protocols saying “This announcement is consistent with the U.S. position that normalization of relations between Armenia and Turkey proceed without preconditions. Armenian authorities have also made it clear that no preconditions means just that—no linkage to progress on the Nagorno Karabakh peace talks and no conditions on affirmation of the Armenian Genocide, or debating whether a genocide occurred through a commission-style process.”

In expressing its wholehearted support for the protocols, the Assembly referred—and more importantly deferred—to the US State Department position on the matter, clearly signaling that the course the US administration has charted out for Armenia is the desired outcome for the Assembly.

Mr. Kezirian was quite adamant to reiterate these claims and inferred that only the Armenian government can determine what its “national interests” are, apparently, if, and only if, they are consistent with the US position.

By now we have all become accustomed to the Armenian Assembly’s posturing on issues of Armenian national interest. The vernacular used in their communications—both written and verbal—seems to be emanating from the State Department.

Memorable past instances of this have included:

Spearheading of the Turkish-Armenian Reconciliation Commission—TARC;

After brazenly claiming responsibility for the passage of Section 907, the provision in the Freedom Support Act that prohibited US aid to Azerbaijan until that country lifted its blockade of Armenia, the Assembly worked hard in supporting a waiver by the State Department;

Support for the nomination of Richard Hoagland as US ambassador to Armenia, because the US needed an ambassador there.

While we might have become accustomed to other instances of parroting the State Department line, the blind acceptance of the protocols as a set of documents that will guide Turkey and Armenia into a détente is as unacceptable as the protocols themselves.

Mr. Kezirian was eager to convince his television audience and fellow panelists that the protocols did not endanger the Karabakh peace process, despite Turkish foreign minister’s insistence that borders would not open without a resolution of the Karabakh conflict. As such, he also went on to justify that the mere fact that a protocol was being announced attested to the stipulation of principles of self-determination, which are conveniently omitted from the protocols. Instead, the provisions dictate that modern-day borders are to be recognized as valid under international law, a notion that is at odds with rights and title held by the Armenian Republic which have yet to be properly adjudicated. And if the  principle of territorial integrity is to guide future development of relations, shouldn’t those rights be based on legal title, a basic pre-requisite to legal right, and not in fact the notion of what makes right, which Turkey has so artfully exercised.

Mr. Kezirian’s insistence that the Armenian government was prudent in agreeing to the protocols, which he called a “negotiated document,” not only cements the Armenian authorities’ blatant disregard for the Diaspora and what it stands for in the context of “national interests,” but it also goes to the State Department’s objective of decades to marginalize the voices that run counter to US policy interests.

In both instances Mr. Kezirian and the Armenian Assembly have undermined their own stated mission of allegedly being the largest Armenian advocacy organization in the US. First: by blindly toting the Armenian government’s position, with impunity towards the legal rights of the Armenian nation they have all but ceded to Turkish interests and undermined the Diaspora—the very entity that has maintained and preserved Armenian national interests since the Genocide and beyond the 1991 independence. Second: by vocally reiterating and constantly deferring to US policy, they have failed to advocate for the true aspirations of the Armenian-American community, those that are based on the solid foundation of law and justice.

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  1. Christian G. said:

    You gotta love the Armenian Assembly of America (AAA). Its as though they can’t help themselves from kicking us when where down. Do they thrive on being out of touch through their defeatist mindset?
    Although this is no time for infighting, the AAA must be called out on this latest dissension. I think its fair to ask whether they had a role in crafting/influencing the development of these pathetic protocols???

    Mr. Aprahamian has identified an odd yet very telling pattern of defeatist actions by the AAA. While many other sensible Armenian organizations are busy rallying their grassroots against these so called protocols, I’m not surprised to hear that the AAA is again aligning themselves with the State Department’s anti-Armenian policies. Until the AAA puts Armenia’s national interests first, they will remain an irrelevant organization of second rate talking heads.

  2. Mihran keheyian said:

    AAA has always been a sub servant of the US state department for all these years.

    Its aim is to divide the Armenians thus doing a great service to the Turks and US,you don’t need to go too far in order to remember the treacherous idea TARC financed by the US sate department,it speaks volumes for what they really are.

    Armenians should ignore this foreign ridden org.


  3. Gayane said:

    WELL SAID Christian…

    I am ashamed to know that we still have an organization made up of ARmenians who go against what truly goes on.. by aligning themselves to the State Department’s anti-Armenian policies which has been going on for years and years…

    I am truly ashamed of these Armenians…


  4. Tsoghig said:

    I wholeheartedly agree with Serouj and Christian. It’s hard for me to really understand why the AAA continously sells out the very cause they claim to fight and they even take credit for the ANCA victories!! Do they get grants from the State Department? Has Matt Bryza promised the next AAA intern a job as his office assistant? I wonder if there is any other ethnic organization that has stabbed it’s claimed constituency in the back as much as the AAA has.

  5. John K. said:

    I think AAA should change their name to TAA (Turkish Assembly of America) because they don’t represent the Armenian Community’s interests in the U.S. Throughout history they have supported Turkish position and not the Armenian position. This Organization is run by bunch of fat businessmen who care only making money and sacrifice Armenian national interests for it. They should be ashamed of themselves. AMOT TSEZI TAVAJANNER.

  6. David Boyajian said:

    Hey look, if you were a top member of the AAA, and you had invested money in hotels in Armenia, and those hotels would do a booming business with Turkish visitors (business people, criminals, prostitiutes, creeps, military personnel, genocide deniers, and so forth) if the border opened, wouldn’t you be in favor of the Prostitutes – er, I mean Protocols?
    So you must understand these things from the Assembly’s point of view. Money comes first. And second. That’s the only way to make Armenian STRONG – by seling it to the highest bidder.

  7. Vache said:

    We often times speak of unity in our communities and the need for Armenian to struggle together, but it is high time we expose those people that DO NOT hold our nation’s best interests in mind. The AAA is such as group that has proven its actions time and time again.

    Just because an organization has the word Armenian in it does not mean they work for the betterment of our homeland. In fact their decisiveness has been used against us on many fronts. From TARC, to Hoagland, to House Resolutions and now in the Protocol debacle.

    I hope this article and the commentary make it to their esteemed board of directors.

  8. manooshag said:

    Hye, it appears the ‘elected’ leaders in the government of Armenian have not yet recognized all the rights and perogatives of the word ‘democracy’ … This means, above all else, the rights of the Armenian nation to know of actions taken by it ‘chosen’ leaders – especially as it affects them. It appears, these ‘elected’ leaders mentalities are still in the mode of the methods of the communist regimes. Then, communist leaders did whatever, whenever… as a Stalin did, on some convoluted idea of mixing minorities, and separated the ancient Christian Armenian Karabagh lands which were ‘given’ to the Turkic Azeris – who themselves had newly emerged as a ‘nation”.
    It appears this same Armenian leadership thinks only THEY know that which is best for their nation…

    Worse yet,agreements with a Turkey!! Again, Armenians shall believe the Turk?
    A nation, whose leaders are still in the Ottoman mentality.
    A nation who has taken Armenian lands as their own… not by winning a war – but by slaughtering, terrorizing, raping, kidnapping our Armenian grand parents, Armenian families, dispersing survivors to the world.
    Today, a Turkey that is known for its dishonesty /dealings with other nations.
    A Turkey which, to date, has NEVER signed agreements with which Turkey meant to abide, but rather, it is as though they’d never agreed to an agreement…
    A Turkey that had Hrant Dink killed.
    A Turkey today does not/will not/cannot admit to the Genocide of the Armenia nation.
    In their history, the Turkish hordes came to the civilized countries to conquer them. Chose to make the lands of the Armenians as their own – even took all Armenian cultures as if theri own. Desacrated our religous edifices…

    To deal with a Turkey’s leadership which uses deceit and dishonesty in its national policies…steals state secrets
    from its ‘best ally’?
    How could you hope to gain any honesty from such a leadership? Turks are adept at dispensing monies to gain their own ‘Turkey for Turks’ goals…
    Oh, my, our Armenian patriots of 1918-1920, who succeeded in winning Sardarabad – the origin of the Armenia of today… they must be in pain, even in their graves.

  9. Barkev Asadourian said:

    Well wrote Manooshag
    This is the fact,have them to well study the history.

  10. robert ajemian said:

    AAA= the illegal junta’s man in DC.
    These communist mafiosi in Yerevan have got to go.
    If I was there, I would be killed for saying that.
    AAA time to stop playing the harlot.

  11. Henry Dumanian said:

    Mr. Aprahamian should have been thinking about these noble ideals last year. For if I were to mix another political viewpoint into the ANCA vs. AAA conflict, it would portray his beloved organization as tragically mistaken and vastly out of step with another, arguably more important, community, would it not?

    Allow me, please:

    “Mr. Aprahamian’s insistence that the Armenian government was prudent in [suppressing last year’s protests], which he called a[n “attempted coup”], not only cements the Armenian authorities’ blatant disregard for [the will of the people] and what [they] stands for in the context of “national interests,” but it also goes to the State Department’s objective of decades to marginalize the voices that run counter to US policy interests [– mainly, the voices of the people of Armenia.].”

    No, Serouj?