In Order To Keep His Hold On Power, Serge Sargsyan Has Sold The Geno


2009-05-01 18:10:00

ArmInfo. The unprecedented shifts in the Armenian-Turkish relations
that we see today deserve a special assessment since they concern one
of the most vital issues of the development of the Armenian statehood,
the first president of Armenia, the leader of the Armenian National
Congress Levon Ter- Petrossyan said during an opposition rally today.

The press service of the Armenian National Congress quotes
Ter-Petrosyan as saying: "I should stress immediately that with the
exception of one of its member- organizations, the Armenian National
Congress is in favor of a speedy normalization of the Armenian-Turkish
relations, and is ready to support all the positive steps of the
Armenian authorities with regard to this issue. We only object to the
creation of a special commission of Armenian and Turkish historians
to study the Genocide, which we think can only mean denial of the
Armenian Genocide.

Now let us see how the aforementioned shifts are manifested. It is
clear that as a result of the contacts between Armenian and Turkish
diplomats a working document has been created, which contains the
following items:

– The establishment of diplomatic relations between Armenia and Turkey;

– Mutual recognition of borders;

– Opening of the Armenian-Turkish border;

– Creation of a commission consisting of Armenian and Turkish

Subsequently this document was branded a "roadmap," and some of its
details were made public. Whatever its name, it seems that we are
dealing with a serious intention to normalize the relations between
the two states, especially when we take into account the impression
that Turkey seems to have relinquished its unconstructive policy of
making the resolution of the Karabakh conflict a precondition for the
ormalization of Armenian-Turkish relations. But there are two issues
that are casting a dark shadow over that impression. The idea of a
commission of Armenian and Turkish historians was obviously going to
create certain difficulties for the Armenian side, so in the end it has
succeeded in renaming the commission as intergovernmental. But that is
only a way of pulling a veil over the issue and using a euphemism that
intends to placate the Armenian people, because the intergovernmental
commission is also going to have a unit of historians, which leaves the
essence of the problem unchanged. The Turkish side also cannot ignore
the pressure from the Azerbaijani public and its own opposition, and
therefore it is going to have to return to its prior position. In
other words, despite the optimistic predictions, the relations
between Armenia and Turkey are not going to get normalized and the
Armenian-Turkish border is not going to be opened as long as tangible
progress has been made in the efforts to resolve the Karabakh conflict.

We have to wonder then what the purpose of all this noise was.

Unfortunately, the answer to that question is going to have a bitter
taste for the Armenian people. The whole problem is that aside from
the general disposition to normalize the relations, Turkey had another
minimal and specific aim, which was to prevent the recognition of the
Armenian Genocide by the US President Barak Obama and the American
Congress at any cost. Turkey has reached its goal, Armenia has been
left empty-handed, and the Diaspora has been disillusioned. The
first half of the football diplomacy has ended with a score of 1:0
in Turkey’s favor.

Turkish leaders presented Barak Obama with the aforementioned document
worked out by Armenian and Turkish diplomats, and as could be expected,
easily convinced him that serious process has been launched to
normalize the Armenian- Turkish relations. With praiseworthy candor
Obama declared that he has not changed his view on the Armenian
Genocide, but as is fitting to a statesman, explained that he is not
going to impede that process, implying that the recognition of the
Armenian Genocide is being pulled out of the US agenda for now.

Is it appropriate to accuse Turkey and the US in hypocrisy? Not at all.

Turkey achieved its main goal at this stage, displaying enviable
diplomatic dexterity. And the president of the USA acted as any
responsible leader would have acted in the circumstances. If there
is any need to look for targets for our accusations, the Armenian
authorities of the last 11 years represented by Robert Kocharian,
Vardan Oskanyan, Serge Sargsyan, and Edward Nalbandian should be
those targets, since they are the ones who have desecrated the sacred
memory of the Genocide turning it into an object of political auction
and bargaining.

And they did that not in the name of some lofty national goal or
in order to strengthen our state, but exclusively for the pitiful
purpose of gaining Diaspora’s favor and earning certain dividends in
our internal politics.

In this regard it is quite interesting to trace the evolution of
their utterly bankrupt and harmful policy:

– The first thing the Kocharian administration did was to declare
as treasonous the previous administration’s policy of establishing
normal relations with Turkey without any preconditions.

– The international recognition of the Genocide was declared as the
cornerstone of Armenia’s foreign policy, which was also boastfully
submitted to Turkey as a rational basis for normalizing the relations.

– When after resisting for a long time they realized that the road
they chose led to a deadlock, they returned to the same policy of
establishing normal relations with Turkey without preconditions,
which they had declared treasonous, inadvertently exposing Armenia’s
weakness and giving Turkey an opportunity to harden its position.

– Both as a result of this objective reason, and in order to solve
the problem of his legitimacy, Serge Sargsyan went to an even more
dangerous extreme of agreeing to an almost forgotten proposal made by
Recep Erdogan years ago about establishing a commission of Armenian
and Turkish historians to study the Genocide.

It is this string of political wanderings, myopic steps, and
irresponsible actions that produced the results of Obama’s visit to
Turkey. Of course, one cannot insist that had it not been for the
aforementioned process launched to normalize the Armenian-Turkish
relations, Obama already as president of the USA would have uttered the
word "genocide" in his 24 April address, or that the American Congress
would have passed a resolution recognizing the Genocide. Situations
like this have existed in the past, but things never got to that
point. But the situation is substantially different this time, because
unlike in the past, this time the formal excuse is Serge Sargsyan’s
ill-fated initiative to have a rapprochement with Turkey at any cost,
including the cost of renunciation of the Genocide. Thus without a
shred of exaggeration we have to conclude: In order to keep his hold
on power, Serge Sargsyan has literally sold the Genocide. Without
a doubt his next step is going to be to sell Karabakh, after which
naturally he will be the first Armenian to be awarded the Nobel Prize.

I am being kind. I am sure Sargsyan’s behavior is going to attract
much more ruthless assessments from the radical circles in Armenia,
and especially in the Diaspora. Justice demands, however, that we
apportion at least part of the blame to the chiefs of the Diaspora, who
not only never warned the Armenian authorities about the dangers and
harmfulness of putting the issue of the international recognition of
Genocide on the state’s official agenda, but encouraged the latter’s
efforts and praised their "heroics" in the end getting what they
got. The enormous effort and financial resources invested by the
Diaspora for the cause of the recognition of the Armenian Genocide
thus were wasted in one day. It is difficult to imagine how the
situation can be remedied and the loss recovered.

Even with all this, even with the sad result with which the current
process of normalizing the Armenian-Turkish relations has ended, it
is not at all devoid of positive elements. Turkey’s natural interest
in the normalization of the Armenian- Turkish relations on the one
hand, and the linking of that normalization to expected shifts in the
Armenian-Azerbaijani relations, on the other, creates a certain impetus
for pushing the process settling the Karabakh conflict forward. The
fact that the circumstances have forced President Obama to assume moral
responsibility is also a positive development, which obligates the
country he governs to get more actively and impartially involved both
in the process of normalizing the Armenian-Turkish relations and in
the process of finding a resolution to the Karabakh conflict. Barak
Obama is an idealist in the best sense of the word. It is well
known that although the world is usually governed by pragmatic and
cynical people, civilization moves forward thanks to the occasionally
appearing idealists. And by idealist I do not mean ideologues, but
rather the rare statesmen, who have firm principles of morality,
honor, and justice."

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