The Armenian National Committee of America-Western Region on Friday issued a statement, in which it voiced it strong objection to the current efforts to normalize relations between Yerevan and Ankara, citing the “ongoing threat that Turkey poses to the sovereignty of the Republic of Armenia and the fundamental rights of the Armenian people.” The ANCA-WR also called on the United States “to use its influence in this process to not only deter Turkey’s hegemonic ambitions but to prevent Turkey from using this process to escape accountability for its historic crimes against humanity and its ongoing aggression against the Armenian people today.”
Below is the complete text of the statement.
In the wake of current normalization efforts undertaken by the governments of Turkey and Armenia, the Armenian National Committee of America – Western Region (ANCA-WR) calls on the United States to use its influence to prevent Turkey from coercing Armenia into an inequitable and insincere rapprochement at the expense of justice for the Armenian Genocide and accountability for Turkey’s involvement in the perpetration of egregious human rights abuses during the invasion and occupation of Artsakh.
It is clear Ankara’s overtures towards rapprochement are duplicitous — specifically in light of its unrepentant denial of the Armenian genocide, the ongoing persecution and harassment of the Armenian people and those who dare take a stand against the unjust regime, and for its unrelenting support for Azerbaijan’s genocidal invasion of the Republic of Artsakh as well as the Syunik region of Armenia.
Despite Ankara’s insistence that normalization should proceed without preconditions, as evidenced through its ongoing hostility towards the Armenian people, the Government of Turkey has refused to discard long-standing preconditions that threaten the very existence of the Armenian nation: its demand for Armenia’s renunciation of support for the recognition of the Armenian Genocide, the surrender of Artsakh to Azerbaijan, the demarcation of the de facto Armenia-Turkey border and the ensuing dispossession of ancestral Armenian lands, and — following Azerbaijan’s invasion of Artsakh — the bifurcation of the Republic of Armenia through its demand for the establishment of the so-called ‘Zangezur corridor’.
Following this, the ANCA-WR is concerned by the Biden Administration’s uncritical support for normalization — which was welcomed by National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan after a meeting late last year with his Armenian counterpart, and recently with the Chief Advisor to the President of Turkey — and urges that the United States not force any process on Armenia that would undermine the rights of the Armenian people and the security of the Armenian nation.
As has been demonstrated through its rhetoric and actions, Ankara has not only refused to address the fundamental concerns of the Armenian people with regards to normalization of relations — it has sought to exacerbate those concerns by taking action contrary to the goals of normalization while the United States has remained silent and has refused to hold Turkey accountable.
As such, the ANCA-WR calls on the United States to actively counter efforts undertaken by the Turkish Government under the guise of normalization that are inconsistent with America’s stated policies, values and interests — specifically, its unequivocal recognition of the Armenian Genocide, its rejection of continued complicity in Turkey’s ongoing denial campaign, and its role as a regional honest-broker as co-chair of the OSCE’s Minsk Group.
This includes opposing efforts that would:
- Relegate the Armenian Genocide to a matter of historic debate — as was the case during the 2009 Turkey-Armenia Protocols backed by the United States — and forestall justice for its victims and survivors.
- Excuse Ankara’s denial of the Armenian Genocide, its propagation of rhetoric valorizing the perpetrators of the Armenian genocide, and its ongoing efforts to prosecute and harass those seeking justice for the victims and survivors of this crime against humanity.
- Precede investigations mandated by the U.S. National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) into the conduct of Turkey and Azerbaijan during the 2020 Artsakh war, particularly with regards to the violations of international law commissioned and endorsed by Ankara.
- Force further territorial concessions on Armenia as preconditions for normalization — namely, Turkey’s signaled interest in the establishment of the so-called ‘Zangezur Corridor’ in violation of the sovereignty of the Republic of Armenia.
- Undermine the long-term settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, specifically with regards to the fundamental right to self-determination for the Armenians of Artsakh in the face of Turkey’s and Azerbaijan’s ongoing aggression.
- Threaten the mandate of the OSCE Minsk Group — the body responsible for overseeing the resolution of the Artsakh conflict — particularly amidst the efforts by Turkey’s ally, Azerbaijan, to derail international mediation efforts, noting recent remarks by Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev declaring that the “[OSCE Minsk Group] should not deal with the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict because it is resolved.”
- Endanger Armenian and other Christian cultural heritage sites threatened by the Turkish government’s concerted campaign of cultural erasure and appropriation, exacerbated by the exclusion of Armenian and other indigenous communities from a U.S.-Turkey memorandum of understanding concerning cultural antiquities — which has been weaponized by Ankara to exert more control over indigenous cultural properties while continuing their destruction.
The Biden Administration has repeatedly expressed its commitment to human rights and democracy as a cornerstone of its foreign policy, yet its reckless support for this inequitable normalization process will invariably embolden an increasingly rogue Turkey — shameless in its disregard for regional peace, security, and human rights — at the expense of Armenia, one of the region’s few democracies.
Turkey’s overtures towards normalizing relations with Armenia are not rooted in a tempering of its adventurism or behavioral change. Rather, the facade of normalization is being deployed by Turkey to distract from its unaltered policy of aggression. As such, the United States — consistent with its purported commitment to human rights and democracy — must not embolden Turkey’s attempts to use normalization as a platform to take advantage of Armenia’s vulnerability and force further concessions.
It is incumbent on the United States to use its influence in this process to not only deter Turkey’s hegemonic ambitions but to prevent Turkey from using this process to escape accountability for its historic crimes against humanity and its ongoing aggression against the Armenian people today.
The ANCA-WR again reaffirms its strong objection to normalization while there is an ongoing threat that Turkey poses to the sovereignty of the Republic of Armenia and the fundamental rights of the Armenian people, and rejects any pressure to engage in normalization efforts that violate the interests of the Armenian nation on matters of the sovereignty of the Armenian Republic, the right to self-determination of the Republic of Artsakh, and justice for the victims and survivors of the Armenian genocide.
The ANCA-WR stands committed to opposing the complicity in and legitimization of Turkey’s destructive agenda as it did over a decade ago in response to the unacceptable terms of the 2009 Turkey-Armenia protocols.