The California Courier Online, September 16, 2021

1-         Pashinyan Should not Follow Sargsyan’s
            Mistaken Policy on Relations with Turkey
            By Harut Sassounian
            Publisher, The California Courier
2-         Book Review: ‘Araksi and the German Consul’
3 -        Governor Newsom Appoints Judge Sosi Chitakian Vogt
4-         George Boujikian appointed Industry Minister of Lebanon
5-         Armenia Continues Fight Against COVID-19


1-         Pashinyan Should not Follow Sargsyan’s
            Mistaken Policy on Relations with Turkey
            By Harut Sassounian
            Publisher, The California Courier

Here we go again. Back in 2009, Pres. Serzh Sargsyan engaged in a
misguided effort to sign an agreement with Turkey ostensibly to open
the mutual border. Even though Armenians around the world strongly
objected to the scheme, Pres. Sargsyan kept insisting that he was
right and everyone else was wrong.

Sargsyan could not see that Turkey had no intention to open the
border. Ankara used the border issue as a ploy to obtain maximum
concessions from Armenia, such as giving up on the international
recognition of the Armenian Genocide, accepting the territorial
integrity of Turkey, which meant that Armenians were to abandon their
demands for Western Armenia, and returning Artsakh to Azerbaijan.
These were the Turkish preconditions. Furthermore, even if Armenia
accepted these inadmissible conditions, Turkey would escalate its
demands, adding new ones.

Pres. Sargsyan did not understand that if Turkey really wanted to open
the border, it could have done so without signing any protocols and
without making any demands from Armenia. After all, Turkey was the one
that unilaterally closed the border, not Armenia, so it could have
reopened the border anytime it wanted. When Pres. Sargsyan toured
several Diaspora communities in 2009, supposedly to find out their
views on the border issue, he faced massive protests and
confrontations in Lebanon, France, the United States and Russia.

Finally, Azerbaijan succeeded in killing the Armenia-Turkey Protocols
by pressuring Turkey not to ratify them, in order to exert maximum
pressure on Armenia to return Artsakh. Ironically, Azerbaijan was the
one that ended up safeguarding Armenia’s interests, not Pres.

Now, in 2021, we see the repetition of the 2009 scenario, except this
time, the situation is much worse, since Armenia is led by a defeated
leader who has no choice but to accept Turkey/Azerbaijan’s escalating
demands for concessions. All those who believe that Armenia and Turkey
cannot remain eternal enemies and see nothing wrong with talking with
“our opponents,” are forgetting one key point: Who is doing the
negotiating? On the one side, we have a shrewd politician — Pres.
Erdogan of Turkey, and on the other side, we have the inexperienced
and defeated leader of Armenia! This is like asking the sheep to
negotiate with the wolf. The outcome is obvious.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan recently said that “Turkey is
willing to work for the normalization of relations with Armenia
pending the neighboring country’s abandonment of single-sided
accusations and embrace of a realistic outlook.” Amazingly, Prime
Minister Nikol Pashinyan considered Erdogan’s statement a “positive
signal” and promised to respond in kind! Turkey’s 2009 preconditions
are still on the table, except that Azerbaijan recovered most of
Artsakh by force. However, Turkey continues to demand that Armenia
give up the pursuit of the international recognition of the Armenian
Genocide and accept the territorial integrity of Turkey. Since last
year’s war, Azerbaijan and Turkey have added a new condition: Armenia
should sign “a peace treaty” with Azerbaijan, which would mean
accepting the territorial integrity of the latter, thus permanently
giving up Artsakh. Furthermore, even if Pashinyan were to accept such
inadmissible demands, Turkey and Azerbaijan would certainly impose new
more troubling conditions. This is a red line that no Armenian leader
has the right to cross! How can one negotiate with a country that
almost destroyed the Armenian race in 1915, and killed thousands of
young Armenian soldiers as recently as last year?

Having mostly fulfilled the first Turkish precondition — the return
of Artsakh — Azerbaijan now wants to complete the job by occupying
the rest, this time not by war, but by forcing Armenia to give it up
voluntarily, by signing a deceptive “peace treaty.” Azerbaijan is
continuing to twist the knife in Armenia’s bleeding heart by
encroaching on the country’s border and illegally holding and
torturing Armenian POWs, even after Pashinyan needlessly turned over
to Azerbaijan maps of 200,000 land mines in the Azeri-occupied
territories. The Nov. 9, 2020 agreement had no such requirement.
However, it did include a demand to return the Armenian POWs.
Pashinyan should insist that nothing will be negotiated until the POWs
are released and the Azeri troops withdraw from inside Armenia’s
border. Under these circumstances, Armenia must counter Turkey’s
preconditions with its own preconditions.

Then there are those who think that opening the Armenia-Turkey border
will promote trade and bring financial benefits to Armenia. Just to
the contrary, cheap Turkish products will flood the Armenian market,
bankrupting the local producers. Armenian manufacturers cannot compete
with Turkish producers who benefit from economies of scale, based on
an 85-million population market.

Let us not sell Armenia cheap by acting like Turkey will be doing us a
big favor by offering to open the border. In fact, Turkey stands to
gain much more than Armenia by opening the border. The Turkish city of
Kars, only 30 miles from Armenia, suffered a “massive blow” to its
economy after the border was closed, according to As a
result, the population of Kars province “shrunk from 662,000 in 1990
to 285,000 in 2020.”

It is ironic that Pashinyan, who came to power opposing all of his
predecessors’ actions, is blindly repeating the previous president’s
failed policy on relations with Turkey. He is even using Sargsyan’s
own words: “establish relations with Turkey without any
preconditions.” It seems that Armenia’s leaders not only do not learn
from past mistakes, but blindly repeat them. It would have been
somewhat understandable if Pashinyan, as the leader of a defeated
nation, confessed that he had no choice but to accept the
Azeri/Turkish imposed conditions. But, that’s not what he has said.
Pashinyan repeatedly has stated that these imposed conditions, such as
the planned route linking Nakhichevan to Eastern Azerbaijan and
opening the border with Turkey, are in Armenia’s best interests! Such
measures are completely against Armenia’s national interests. They are
in fact, the age-old dreams of Pan-Turkists, to connect Turkey through
Armenia to Turkic Republics in the Far East.

To make matters worse, in recent days, Pashinyan has welcomed Russian
Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s announcement that Armenia should make
an effort to open its border with Turkey. This is not surprising as
such actions are in Russia’s interest in order to further distance
Turkey from NATO and the West. It is regrettable that while Russia,
Turkey, and Azerbaijan are diligently pursuing policies that are in
their national interest, Armenia’s leader has no conception about his
country’s national interest.


2-         Book Review: ‘Araksi and the German Consul’

By Jorge Vartparonian

Many years ago my friend Carlos Saenz and I decided to write a
screenplay based on the life of Max Erwin von Scheubner Richter.

Vahakn Dadrian’s book about German officers who in one way or another
had participated in Turkey at the time of the Armenian genocide, and
had helped to inspire Hitler’s decisions during the Holocaust and the
Final Solution had really impressed me.

Scheubner was definitely an exceptional person and had shown unusual
humanitarian beliefs, reflected in the help he gave the deportation
columns of Armenians from Erzerum and the telegrams he sent his bosses
in Constantinople and Berlin.

The orders for the massacres of Armenians ensued from the triumvirate
leading Turkey at the time, especially Talaat Pasha but also Enver and

Their German allies reacted with complete indifference, especially so
in the case of Emperor Wilhelm the Second.

In those days the word genocide didn’t exist, but the Western allies
coined the phrase “crimes against humanity” and promised a just
retribution for these crimes after the war. Raphael Lemkin would then
invent the word genocide to describe what had happened to his Polish
Jewish family during world war 2, but confessed that he was first
interested by what had happened to the Armenians in world war one,
when reading about the trial of Soghomon Tehlirian in Berlin in the
early twenties.

The movie never saw the light of day, but Carlos decided to write a
novel loosely based on Scheubner Richter’s activities during and after
the war, until his untimely death at the side of his leader, Adolf
Hitler in November 1923.

One hundred years later, both Germany and the United States have
recognized the genocide and Turkey continues the great lie, covering
up as much as they can the murders committed by their ancestors.

The mystery of how this erstwhile humanitarian could have become a
fanatic Nazi is something which is still unknown today, but its
binding material in this novel, and also involves two completely
fictional characters, Araksi and Diran, who epitomize a young
attractive Armenian girl who becomes a sex slave and an Armenian
freedom fighter, both caught in the maelstrom of the Armenian

Carlos read an infinity of books about our Holocaust, described with
this very word by Winston Churchill in his post WW1 writings, and
learnt about the trials and tribulations of our folk from many
sources. He also read about the political struggles in post WW1
Germany and the surge of Nazism pitted against Bolshevism which
attempted to take over the whole of Europe. There were Soviet mini
states in Berlin, Bavaria and Hungary from 1918 until 1920, headed by
Rosa Luxemburg, Karl Liebknecht in Berlin and Bels Kun in Hungary.
Many Bolsheviks were Jewish, just as Hitler Was trying out his
inflammatory anti-Semitic oratory, to try and achieve power. After the
failure of his Munich putsch in November 1923, Hitler tried to perfect
his ideas by writing Mein Kampf.

In the Landsberg prison, where he was often visited by Scheubner
Richter’s widow. Her husband had fallen during the putsch, and since
he was marching arm-locked with Hitler, dragged his Fuehrer down, thus
saving his life. Saenz also studied the events before the putsch and
described the participation of Max, Araksi and Diran in the occupation
of Riga by Latvian communists, the Kapp putsch in Berlin, Talaat
Pasha’s assassination in Berlin, and finally, an unexpected climax in

He is currently writing a sequel to Araksi and the German consul,
which begins after the arrival of the young couple in Buenos Aires,
seeking peace in a Brave New World, far from the strife and bloodshed
of the old one.

It is absolutely incredible that at this point in time Israel and the
United Kingdom haven’t yet recognized the Armenian genocide, despite
knowing very well what happened. Israel, because it wants to have
exclusivity. Because it won’t recognize that the blueprint for its
tragedy came from the previous Armenian one. The UK, because it’s just
not convenient for it at the present.

Well, a TV series on Scheubner Richter might just help to change their
minds. Those seeking further information on the subject should consult
Wolfgang Gust’s edition of “The Armenian Genocide, Evidence from the
German Foreign Office Archive 1915/16,” published by Berghahn Books,
London and Oxford.

“Araksi and the German Consul” is available from Amazon.


3-         Governor Newsom Appoints Judge Sosi Chitakian Vogt

SACRAMENTO – Governor Gavin Newsom announced his appointment of Sosi
Chitakian Vogt, 53, of Fresno, as a judge in the Madera County
Superior Court.

Vogt has served as a Court Commissioner at the Madera County Superior
Court since 2020. She was Appointed Counsel at Madera Alternate
Defense in 2019 and an Associate at Wapner Jones PC from 2016 to 2018.
Vogt was an Associate at Sawl Law Group from 2009 to 2015 and a
Contract Attorney at the Fresno County Public Defender’s Office from
2003 to 2009. She was Corporate Counsel and Corporate Secretary of the
American Division at Anderson Clayton Queensland Cotton from 2001 to
2003, a Deputy District Attorney at the Fresno County District
Attorney’s Office from 1998 to 2001 and an Associate at Richard A.
Ciummo and Associates from 1996 to 1998. Vogt earned a Juris Doctor
degree from the San Joaquin College of Law. Vogt is a Republican.


4-         George Boujikian appointed Industry Minister of Lebanon

(Public Radio of Armenia)—

Lebanese Armenian George Boujikian representing the Armenian
Revolutionary Federation has been appointed Lebanon’s Industry
Minister, The National reports.

Lebanon’s Prime Minister designate Najib Mikati formed a government of
24 ministers on Friday, exactly one year after his predecessor Hassan
Diab resigned in the wake of a deadly blast at Beirut port

The cabinet includes 12 Christians and 12 Muslims in line with
Lebanon’s sectarian politics.

The Prime Minister is always Sunni Muslim, the President Christian
Maronite, and the Parliament Speaker Shiite Muslim.

There is only one woman among the ministers.

Born in 1950, George Boujikian holds a bachelor’s degree in law and
political science from the Lebanese University, according to the NNA.

He worked as a journalist for MBC FM Radio in London and Lebanese
television channel LBC. He was awarded the title of Goodwill
Ambassador for the United Nations Environment Organisation.


5-         Armenia Continues Fight Against COVID-19

Armenia is continuing the fight against the third wave of COVID-19
cases, as the country continues promoting the vaccination phase.

The U.S. State Department on July 26 warned American citizens to
reconsider travel to Armenia due to the increase in cases of the

“The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a
Level 3 Travel Health Notice for Armenia due to COVID-19, indicating a
high level of COVID-19 in the country,” said the State Department.

The State Department also urged U.S. citizens not to travel to the
Nagorno-Karabakh region due to armed conflict.

“The U.S. government is unable to provide emergency services to U.S.
citizens in Nagorno-Karabakh as U.S. government employees are
restricted from traveling there,” the State Department added.

There were 11,832 active cases in Armenia as of September 8. Armenia
has recorded 251,323 coronavirus cases and 5,075 deaths; 234,416 have



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Emil Lazarian

“I should like to see any power of the world destroy this race, this small tribe of unimportant people, whose wars have all been fought and lost, whose structures have crumbled, literature is unread, music is unheard, and prayers are no more answered. Go ahead, destroy Armenia . See if you can do it. Send them into the desert without bread or water. Burn their homes and churches. Then see if they will not laugh, sing and pray again. For when two of them meet anywhere in the world, see if they will not create a New Armenia.” - WS