Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian has responded to an October 13 open letter from the President of the International Association of Genocide Scholars, William Schabas. In the letter, addressed to both Sarkisian and Turkish President Abdullah Gul, Schabas, said: “Acknowledgement of the Armenian Genocide must be the starting point of any ‘impartial historical commission,’ not one of its possible conclusions.”
Below is Sarkisian’s response to the Schabas letter, which can be read here.
Prof. William Schabas, Ph.D
President, International Association of Genocide Scholars
Nov. 13, 2009
Dear Mr. Schabas,
I am grateful for your letter and the concerns raised in it.
We, in Armenia, are well aware of the unbiased scientific research conducted for many years by your Association on the crime of genocide, including the Genocide of Armenians, and we attach great importance to it. Your contribution to the cause of the international recognition of this crime and keeping the international community informed regarding the issue is invaluable.
Today, Armenia has chosen the path of establishing normal relations with Turkey without any preconditions. Nevertheless, any relation with neighboring Turkey does not question the fact of the Armenian Genocide and deprivation of Homeland. The Genocide of Armenians committed by Ottoman Turkey in 1915 is an acknowledged fact and must be recognized and condemned by progressive people.
As for the matter of the establishment of the inter-governmental sub-commission aimed to discuss the historical dimension, envisaged by the Protocols signed by Armenia and Turkey, I should assure you that it is not a commission of historians. The purpose of that commission is to give an opportunity to Armenian and Turkish peoples to find common grounds for mutual trust and dialogue. I fully agree with your approach that the contribution to the elimination of the consequences of the Genocide should be the goal of the sub-commission’s work, and the fact of the Genocide itself can in no way become a subject of discussion within the agenda of the commission.
With this exact perception, we signed the Protocols with the Turkish side, and this was what I stated in my address to the nation prior to the signing.
Once again, I thank you and the International Association of Genocide Scholars for conducting principled, unbiased and objective activity, and would like to assure you that the Republic of Armenia, alongside you and other organizations conducting scientific research, will be in the vanguard of those pursuing the cause of the struggle against the crime of genocide. We believe this is the moral duty of every nation that survived genocide.