SASSOUNIAN: BOOK ON PROTOCOLS WARNS ARABS NOT TO TRUST TURKISH FRIENDSHIP
Sep 12, 2011
I was privileged to attend a special program in Beirut last Friday,
sponsored by the Armenian National Committee (ANC) of Lebanon and
dedicated to the publication of my new book in Arabic, Armenia-Turkey
Protocols: Truth or Deception? The book is the compilation of 43
columns I had written in the California Courier in the last three
years on the controversial protocols.
After introductory remarks by George Sabounjian of the local ANC,
Dr. Nora Arissian of Damascus, Syria, the translator of the book,
asserted that the columns had exposed the Turkish government’s fake
intent. She reminded the audience that the author had accurately
predicted at the outset of the negotiations that Turkey would not keep
its promise to ratify the protocols and lift the blockade of Armenia.
Arissian was followed by veteran Lebanese Minister Michel Edde, who
had written a lengthy and insightful introduction to the book. Edde
held five ministerial posts during his long and distinguished career
in various Lebanese cabinets. In his remarks, he commended the author
for his analytical columns, praised the Armenian community of Lebanon
for its active role in the country’s progress, and condemned Turkey
for its denial of the Armenian Genocide. At the end of his remarks,
Edde surprised the audience by announcing a generous and unexpected
personal contribution of $25,000 to the ANC of Lebanon.
The evening’s program was conducted in Arabic, given the fact that
there were Arab guests in the audience and the book was intended
for Arab leaders and masses. I was gratified to be able to deliver
a portion of my remarks in Arabic. Surprisingly, I still remembered
the Arabic I had learned over 40 years ago as a student at the local
Sophia Hagopian High School.
I reminded the attendees that the Turkish government’s true intent
was to exploit the protocols and pressure Armenia into giving up its
pursuit of the international recognition of the Armenian Genocide, and
create a smokescreen of peaceful negotiations so that other countries,
particularly the United States, would be warned not to undermine the
make-believe reconciliation and budding relationship by recognizing
In addition, Turkey wanted Armenia to return Nagorno Karabagh (Artsakh)
to Azerbaijan’s control and give up its demands for Western Armenia
(which is currently under Turkish occupation), and tried to undermine
overall Armenian unity by pitting the diaspora against the homeland.
Doggedly pursuing its intent to extract additional concessions from
Armenia, the Turkish government kept refusing to ratify the protocols
it had signed two years ago. Failing to accomplish its self-serving
objectives, the Turkish Parliament recently took the final step to kill
the protocols by removing them from its agenda, citing a technicality.
This failed experiment of the Armenia-Turkey protocols clearly proves
that Turkey is more interested in playing diplomatic games and creating
false impressions than pursuing peaceful co-existence.
Turkish commitments cannot be taken seriously and Turkey’s leaders’
signatures on international agreements are not worth the paper they
are written on.
In my remarks, I pointed out that Turkish leaders have been presenting
themselves as defenders of the Palestinian cause, and supporters of
all Arabs and Muslims, while continuing to be Israel’s strategic
partner, and covertly sharing with it some of the most sensitive
military secrets of Arab countries.
In my opinion, Palestinians and Arabs in general do not need the fake
friendship of Turkey’s neo-Ottoman leaders. The Arab masses must demand
that their own indigenous leaders, not self-serving foreign rulers,
defend their national interests.
We just saw how Turkey sided with the despotic regimes in Egypt
and Libya until the very last moment, when the dictators of these
countries were about to be toppled. This is not genuine friendship.
This is crass opportunism.
Since Arabs and Armenians have both experienced horrendous suffering
and atrocities under the Ottoman yoke, they cannot be easily fooled
by dishonest Turkish gestures of rapprochement. The survivors of the
Armenian Genocide were the grateful beneficiaries of Arab hospitality
throughout the Middle East. Without such humanitarian intervention,
many more Armenians would have perished.
I ended my remarks by expressing my gratitude to Minister Edde for
writing an inspiring introduction to my book, and to Arissian, who
spent countless hours painstakingly translating it (as well as my
previous book on the Armenian Genocide) from English to Arabic. I
also thanked the ANC of Lebanon for hosting the evening’s program at
the Pyunic Hall of Aztag newspaper, and the Hamazkayin Publishing
House for publishing the book. I expressed my special gratitude to
benefactor Gabriel Chemberjian and his Pyunic Foundation for sponsoring
the book’s translation and publication. At the end of the program,
signed copies of the book were distributed to the guests.
From: A. Papazian