In a recent interview with Asbarez, Armenian Revolutionary Federation Bureau member Dr. Viken Hovsepian discussed the party’s position on the recent developmen’s in Armenian-Turkish relations and touched on aspects needed to make the normalization of relations equitable and fair, with all of Armenia’s national interests protected. Below is the English translation of the interview:
Asbarez: During the last several weeks, especially before and after the visit by Turkish President Abdullah Gul to Yerevan, there seems to be considerable movement in Turkish-Armenian relations. What are you thoughts on the matter?
Dr. Viken Hovsepian: Your observation on the level of movement is valid. The sides are trying vigorously to normalize relations, an endeavor which we welcomed a long time ago. Armenia can develop its best potential only when it has good neighborly relations with all its neighbor states. However, the concept of good neighborly relations is a lie if it is not based on mutual respect.
Asbarez: Can you elaborate?
V.H.: It is a lie and an extremely trivial rationalization to accept Turkey as a neighbor with good intentions, when the latter continues to disrespect the integrity of the Armenian people by incessantly denying the fact of the Armenian Genocide. Imagine, for example, Israel forging normal relations with a country that denied the Holocaust, much less when the denier is the country that perpetrated that act.
Asbarez: What are your thoughts on the proposed commission of Turkish and Armenian historians that is to discuss issues related to the Armenian Genocide?
V.H.: The idea of this commission–in varying forms–has been thrown around for years now as an effort to stall the international recognition of the Armenian Genocide and all the efforts that go toward attaining that. It [the commission] is a waste of time and it’s not necessary to fall into this trap. If such a commission will address the ramifications of the Genocide and attempt to find ways for reparations, then it is to be welcomed. However, if it is supposed to address the veracity–the fact–of the Genocide and make that the focal point, then it goes beyond being a farce and it becomes a severe blow to those who have already recognized the Genocide or worked toward that recognition.
Asbarez: What if the Armenian Government agrees to the formation of this commission?
V.H.: Such a move will lead to defiance by the Armenian people. We all want normal and friendly relations with our neighbors. But at what cost? If the cost is going to deal a moral and psychological blow to Armenia’s and their aspirations for justice, then such a move will be very callous and hasty. I hope that the representatives of Armenia will not steer themselves and the entire Armenian nation toward such dubious exploits. Or else, history will not be forgiving if the compromises made risk national morals and principles.
Asbarez: What has the ARF done or can do?
V.H.: We have continuously made our position very clear and succinct, thus no one can doubt our position. I also don’t feel the need for threats on future actions. The seriousness of the issue speaks for itself.