TORONTO—More than 400 members of the Toronto Armenian community gathered at the Armenian Community Centre on Friday, September 4 to learn more about the recently negotiated protocols for the normalization of relations between the Republics of Turkey and Armenia and to protect the rights of the Armenian people. The public gathering was jointly organized by the Armenian Revolutionary Federation “Soghomon Tehlirian” chapter, the Social Democrat Hunchak Party Canadian Regional Executive and the Armenian Democratic Liberal Party (Ramgavar) Canadian Regional Executive.
The gathering featured a video presentation of ARF Bureau member Hagop Der Khatchadourian, who provided background on the protocols, expected future developments and the risks involved in the ratification of the protocols. Following the video presentation, the evening’s Master of Ceremonies Hagop Tchakmakian introduced Levon Hasserjian, who spoke about the threats posed by the protocols to the international recognition of the Armenian Genocide, the rights of future generations of Armenians and the continued existence of the Nagarno-Karabakh Republic and it’s people’s right of self determination.
Following Hasserjian’s presentation, the floor was opened to questions. The questions and comments were generally reflective of the genuine worry of Toronto Armenians about the policies of the current Armenian administration in pursuing relations with the Republic of Turkey and the price that the Armenian people would pay for these decisions.
In order to ensure that the concerns of Toronto Armenians were presented to the Armenian authorities, it was decided that a formal protest declaration should be prepared by the attendees of the gathering and formally presented to the government of Armenia. After much discussion, the attendees agreed on the following declaration:
“Provisions in the Protocols indicate preconditions set forth by Turkey and conflict with the interests of Armenia and Armenians on the whole. The project obviously tends to prevent the restoration of historical rights and rupture Armenians. Ratification of the Protocols by the countries’ parliaments will be a deterrent for Armenians to claim their ancestral land as well as recognition of the Armenian Genocide (at that all achievements on the international level will be jeopardized). In addition, the possibilities of Armenia to negotiate on Karabakh peace process will be limited.
This project arising out of its authors’ interests is full of dangerous consequences for the centuries-long struggle of Armenians for independence. We, participants of the meeting call Armenian Authorities, National Assembly and Armenian nation to reject the project will all preconditions and pursue the policy of preconditions’ exclusion in normalization of bilateral relations.”
The attendees also promised to keep abreast of further developments regarding the protocols and to stand firm against any attempts by the government of Armenia to imperil the future of the Armenian people.