Newsweek: The Horrors of the Other War in Europe Keep Growing | Opinion

Sept 29 2022

Anush Apetyan was a mother of three children. On Sept. 13, 2022, she was sent to the borders of Vayots Dzor province, Armenia, to defend her homeland following Azerbaijan's attack against the sovereign and democratic nation.

The Azerbaijanis attacked deep inside Armenian territory with artillery and drones, its ground forces advancing into the town of Jermuk. Civilian homes were damaged and destroyed, and border posts were overrun, including the post where Apetyan was stationed.

In the aftermath, an Azerbaijani soldier published horrific visuals of the destruction on Telegram. He's seen walking on a mountain of corpses of Armenian soldiers, kicking the heads of the dead and laughing. He directs his camera toward the naked corpse of a woman whose body has been mutilated. A severed finger is stuck in her mouth; a stone is stuck in one eye socket instead of an eyeball. He points the camera at her exposed pubic area.

The tortured body in the video is believed to be Apetyan, but it is so mangled it is possible the image shows a fellow female combatant who also died the same week.

Any Armenian who saw these images immediately got flashbacks to the bloody 44-day war Azerbaijan launched against the Armenian-inhabited region of Nagorno-Karabakh region. Amnesty International and other human rights organizations reported on the Azerbaijani war crimes, which included soldiers posting videos of themselves beheading old Armenian men

For those wondering how they missed this story, some context is needed to explain why it did not make headlines. Azerbaijan is rich in oil and gas. Any money that the ruling Aliyev family does not pocket goes into the military or is used to bribe European politicians. Equipped with the most modern weapon systems from Turkey—along with Turkish support—and Israel, no Azerbaijani advance could be stopped by Armenia alone.

Armenia is facing this conflict alone. The nation is being punished for its 2018 Velvet Revolution, which aimed to break the country free from its corrupt oligarchs and ruling elite. Armenia stretched out its hand to the West, alienating its old partner Russia, and like Ukraine, now finds itself suffering the consequences—but with far less media attention.

As recently as March, the European Parliament warned in a resolution that there was a systematic, country-wide policy of hostility toward the Armenians in Azerbaijan that was clearly promoted by the state. The efforts include historical revisionism, glorification of violence, dehumanisation of and hatred towards Armenians. None of this stopped the president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, from travelling to the Azerbaijani capital Baku in July in search of gas suppliers. There she declared the ruling dictator to be a "trustworthy partner." The EU seems to have traded a Russian dictator for one in Baku in its attempts to address the gas gap.

Meanwhile, many of Europe's leading nations, including our own country, Germany, have failed to take a stance on the latest attacks. Germany's Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock claims her foreign policy has clear objectives that revolve around values and in the Bundestag she calls for a "clear stance" on the Russian attack on Ukraine. But she cannot find a single word to describe the latest attacks by Azerbaijan against Armenia.

The silence from many Western nations is deafening for the Armenians and emboldens Azerbaijan's President Ilham Aliyev and his cronies. Even after the United States called out Azerbaijan's aggressive attacks, most of Europe remained silent.

Armenians are now on high alert because, despite a ceasefire, Aliyev has repeatedly made it clear that he does not accept either Armenia's borders or its statehood. As early as 2015 he wrote on Twitter: "Armenia is not even a colony, it is not even worthy of being a servant."

Anush Apetyan will not be able to help repel the next attack. However, the political leadership of the European Union and Germany can prevent other women and men from sharing her terrible fate. The EU leadership must decide whether the values they proclaim only matter when they coincide with geopolitical interests—or whether human rights and human dignity should be the basis of their actions.

Martin Sonneborn is a member of the European Parliament for Die PARTEI and a member of the parliamentary delegation for relations with the South Caucasus, Dustin Hoffmann is legal expert and heads his EU parliamentary office.

The views expressed in this article are the writers' own.

CORRECTION: The province where Anush Apetyan was killed is Vayots Dzor. 

Crowd should not have seen Ireland’s VAR incident, Uefa confirm

Sept 30 2022
Big-screen replays of potential checks are banned to avoid pressure on refs. 

Replays of the handball incident which led to Ireland scraping past Armenia on Tuesday should not have been shown on the stadium screen, Uefa have confirmed.

Footage of Video Assisted Referees (VAR) decisions is outlawed inside venues by the European governing body, an attempt to avoid the referee feeling pressurised by the home crowd.

Instead, the 41,000 fans inside Lansdowne Road got to witness the reruns of Dara O’Shea’s shot striking the arm of Artak Dashyan simultaneously to referee Rade Obrenović watching through his sideline monitor.

Loud cheers erupted around the stands when the Slovenian official got his first sight of the replay and he didn’t take long to award the penalty, coolly converted by Robbie Brady to rescue a 3-2 victory.

“VAR incidents shall not be shown on screens,” Uefa said in a brief statement.

An oversight has been blamed for the situation arising whereby the match broadcaster provided the feed to the staff controlling the screen content.

It is understood the match delegate, Artur Gaidels from Latvia, has included the error in his overall report submitted to Uefa and it remains to be seen if there will be repercussions. Uefa have yet to comment on potential sanctions.

Regardless of whether concealing the replay from fans would have made a difference to influencing the referee, Armenia will be further incensed by this news.

They were adamant the officials erred in awarding the corner that led to the block and subsequently had two players sent-off as their comeback from two goals down fell asunder.

The defeat also cost Joaquín Caparrós his job, with the Armenian federation confirming on Thursday that they wouldn’t be renewing the Spaniard’s contract for the Euro 2024 qualifiers.

The journeyman was livid at the nature of their defeat in Dublin, compounding a previous injustice suffered during a Euro 2012 qualifier at the same venue.

On that occasion, goalkeeper Roman Berezovsky was sent off for handball outside the box when it was obvious the ball struck his chest.

“I don’t know why things like this always happen against Ireland,” sighed Caparrós in his post-match musings.

“As a man responsible for Armenian history, I know what happened before. Roman Berezovsky is now our goalkeeping coach.

“When it happens twice, you have to think about it.” Caparrós will also have his win over Ireland in June to cherish as his two-and-a-half year reign concludes.

Under his stewardship, the team from the Caucuses racked up a nine-game unbeaten streak, the longest in their history, as they secured promotion to Ireland’s League B section.

Losing his talisman and captain, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, to retirement last March was a major blow and they had the worst defensive record of any of the 16 teams in League B despite pushing Stephen Kenny’s Ireland in both meetings.

“The management of the Football Federation of Armenia, the staff that worked with Joaquín Caparrós once again express their deep gratitude to the Spanish specialist for his work and wish him new success in his future career,” the Armenian Football Federation said about the decision not to renew his contract.

Memory of Saint Hieromartyr Gregory the Illuminator of Greater Armenia

Sept 30 2022

Hieromartyr Gregory was the son of a relative of the king of Armenia and lived in the time of the pagan emperor Diocletian. He was catechized in the Christian faith and then embraced it by receiving the Holy Baptism in Caesarea, Cappadocia. After being ordained a Presbyter, he went to Armenia to spread the Holy Gospel.

In Armenia, his relative tried to persuade him to make sacrifices to idols and return to his native religion. Gregory’s negative attitude angered the pagan ruler, who insulted him and led him to torture. Despite the hardships he suffered, he remained steadfast in the faith in the Savior Christ and the Orthodox faith.

After many miraculous events, the pagan ruler repented of his previous life and asked for God’s grace. After being catechized, he was baptized in the name of The Holy Triune God.

The entry of the Armenian ruler into the Church led many of his compatriots to the path of true faith. The fervent faith of the clergy, the steadfastness of words and deeds as much as possible in their lives and the courageous Christian confession contribute on the one hand to the spread and consolidation of the holy Gospel in the world and on the other to the real social prosperity of God’s people.

Source: Church of Cyprus

Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict: what does it mean for us?

Sept 30 2022
  • What is this conflict about?
  • What would a war there mean for us?
  • What role does Russia play in this?
  • How can you prevent it?

For decades are Azerbaijan and Armenia enemies. Again and again there were conflicts, sometimes even fights. Now the situation seems to be escalating again, a war cannot be ruled out. But what is this enmity about? How did it come about and what role does Russia play in it?

Of the conflictbetween Armenia and Azerbaijan rotates in the main thing around the area Nagorno-Karabakh. It is an ethno-territorial conflict origins go back to the 18th century. During the collapse of the Soviet Union, it escalated into a war that cost tens of thousands of lives and led to mass flight and displacement. In May 1994 a Armistice Agreement closed, but to date there has been no peace agreement.

In 1991, the Nagorno-Karabakh region, which is predominantly populated by Armenians, unilaterally declared independence from Azerbaijan. This was never recognized internationally, but is militarily secured by Armenia, including through the occupation of seven other Azerbaijani provinces, which is considered illegal under international law. In September 2020 a military offensive ordered by Baku to recapture these provinces. In November of the same year, through the mediation of the Russian Federation Armistice Agreement be closed, borders were redefined and thus new facts were created in the South Caucasus. But there were repeated fights, and the region is a long way from lasting peace.

In September of this year, there were serious injuries again incidents. According to Armenian data, Azerbaijani troops would have Armenia attacked. Azerbaijan replied that they had in Armenian attempts at sabotage reacted because Armenia had tried to mine paths used by the Azerbaijani soldiers. A renewed ceasefire was agreed on September 15, but the Armenian ambassador to Germany, Viktor Yengibaryan, warned of a renewed escalation. It is also worth noting that these incidents are not in Nagorno-Karabakh occurred, but on the territory of Armenia in the cities of Goris, Sotk and Jermuk.

Russia made a significant contribution in 2020 to the fact that a truce was agreed. In the current case, too, Russia mediated again. Besides, Russia is the protective power Armenia’s while Turkey’s one ally Azerbaijan is. This is explosive insofar as Turkey is a member of NATO. Armenia is dependent on Russia economically, in terms of energy policy and security policy. It is weakened and distracted by the war that Russia is waging against Ukraine. That could Azerbaijan to test the extent to which Russia is still willing and able to assist Armenia. Armenia already has the OKVS, the Collective Security Treaty Organization, which is dominated by Russia Help asked. In the OKVS there is a clause stating that the organization will help when a member’s sovereignty is attacked by a non-member country, such as Azerbaijan. However, it is problematic border violations to be occupied, since the border is not marked.

For the EU, and thus also for Germany, the outbreak of open war could have significant consequences. The authoritarian rule of Azerbaijan under head of state Ilham Aliyev can operate from a comfortable position. At the beginning of August, during a visit to Baku, the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, reached an agreement with Aliyev that provided for the EU to gas from Azerbaijan receives to the delivery losses, which arose from the war between Russia and Ukraine. That also brings back problems with itself, because the gas makes Azerbaijan an attractive partner for the EU. However, this agreement would also strengthen the dictatorship in Azerbaijan, which is contrary to value politics runs within the EU. Due to the current sanctions against Russia, which were imposed as a result of the country’s war of aggression against Ukraine, Azerbaijan can more than deliver to the EU double, which means a massive inflow of foreign exchange. Instead of the current 8.1 billion cubic meters, this would be around 20 billion cubic meters per year.

An open war in the region would ultimately result in Azerbaijan no longer deliverable could be and gas will become even more expensive. Whether and to what extent Russia is involved is a question that cannot be answered. Another danger would be a possible interruption of the gas pipeline in the South Caucasus if it were damaged or destroyed by acts of war. But there is also a danger from the political side that gas deliveries from Azerbaijan could be stopped. In the event of an open conflict, the US could sanctions impose, which would then also affect gas deliveries to the EU. As a NATO partner, the EU might be forced to support these sanctions. That would be it supply contract lapsed, no more gas would flow into the EU.

Besides the war in Ukraine, the trouble spots in the Balkans and in the China Sea, as well as in Korea, the conflict in the South Caucasus is another threat whose effects on us can hardly be estimated. First and foremost, the inflow of gas, which is urgently needed and whose price is exploding, would be at risk. In the region, Russia and Turkey are also facing each other as respective allies of the countries. The Foreign Office has reacted and already has one Partial trip warning for Armenia and Azerbaijan enacted

CoE: Launch of HELP roll-outs on Key Principles on Bioethics

Council of Europe
Sept 30 2022

On 30 September HELP specialised course roll-out on Key Principles on Bioethics was launched for three more groups of legal and healthcare professionals of Armenia, including the representatives from the Ministry of Health, National Institute of Health as well as medical doctors and other healthcare professionals, lawyers, and advocates.

The HELP specialised course on Key Principles on Bioethics aims at addressing the ethical issues of consent to medical intervention, the right to know one’s health data, matters related to medically assisted procreation, recourse to organ or tissue donation and transplantation, etc. All of them in certain aspects may fall into the scope of application of human rights law.

The main purpose of the course is to assist both legal and medical professionals to understand the key human rights principles in the biomedical field.

The training session was opened by Laurence Lwoff, the Head of the Human Rights and Biomedicine Division of the Council of Europe and Anna Sahakyan, the Project Officer of Council of Europe’s Department of Human Rights Education for Legal Professionals (HELP) Armenia and EAP.

Following the general presentation of the Oviedo Convention and its Additional Protocols and the work of the Council of Europe in the field of healthcare and biomedicine, the participants were introduced to the HELP programme and HELP in Armenia, as well as HELP online training platform.

Substantial presentations on international and national standards in the fields of ‘‘Transplantation of Organs and Tissues’’ and ‘‘Ethical rules for healthcare professionals’’ were made by Samvel Grigoryan, national consultant of the CoE Project on ‘’Protection of Human Rights in Biomedicine’’ and Izabel Abgaryan, the Advisor of the Rector of the Yerevan State Medical University and national consultant of the CoE Project on ‘’Protection of Human Rights in Biomedicine’’.

The HELP roll-outs will be tutored by three Armenian HELP certified tutors: Karine Abrahamyan, Laura Gasparyan and Yevgenia Muradyan. Successful participants of these training sessions will receive certificates after completion of the Course.

The HELP roll-outs were organised under the framework of the Council of Europe’s Project on ‘‘Protection of Human Rights in Biomedicine’’ in Armenia.

Armenia, Azerbaijan FMs To Hold Talks On Sunday: Yerevan

Sept 30 2022

ADDS Pashinyan, details

Armenia said Friday it would hold talks on a peace treaty with Azerbaijan in Geneva on Sunday, after recent deadly border clashes jeopardised the arch-foes' nascent normalisation process.

Last month, at least 286 people were killed from both sides before a US-brokered truce ended the worst clashes since the Caucasus neighbours' 2020 war.

Baku and Yerevan fought two wars — in 2020 and in the 1990s — over the contested region of Nagorno-Karabakh, an Armenian-populated enclave of Azerbaijan.

Armenia's Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said on Friday that Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan and his Azerbaijani counterpart Jeyhun Bayramov "will meet on Sunday in Geneva to begin substantive talks regarding the text of the peace agreement."

"So far, there wasn't a single document on the negotiating table, which we could sign or reject," he said in televised remarks.

The two foreign ministers last met for talks mediated by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on September 20 in New York.

Armenia said three of its troops were killed in border clashes with Azerbaijan last week. Yerevan at the time accused Azerbaijan of provoking the attack and demanded the deployment of an international observer mission on the ground.

The six-week war in 2020 claimed the lives of more than 6,500 troops from both sides and ended with a Russian-brokered ceasefire.

Under the deal, Armenia ceded swathes of territory it had controlled for decades, and Moscow deployed about 2,000 Russian peacekeepers to oversee the fragile truce.

With Moscow increasingly isolated on the world stage following its February invasion of Ukraine, the United States and the European Union have taken a leading role in mediating the Armenia-Azerbaijan normalisation process.

During EU-led negotiations in Brussels in April and May, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and Pashinyan agreed to "advance discussions" on a future peace treaty.

They last met in Brussels on August 31, for talks mediated by European Council President Charles Michel.

The talks also focus on border delimitation and the reopening of transport links.

When the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, ethnic Armenian separatists in Nagorno-Karabakh broke away from Azerbaijan. The ensuing conflict claimed around 30,000 lives.


“There is no need to duplicate formats”: about Armenia-Azerbaijan negotiations

Sept 30 2022

  • JAMnews
  • Yerevan

Negotiation process between Armenia and Azerbaijan

Despite the ongoing tension after the hostilities of September 13-14, Armenian officials are not refusing negotiations with representatives of Azerbaijan. The next meeting of Foreign Ministers Ararat Mirzoyan and Jeyhun Bayramov is scheduled for October 2 in Geneva.

This information was confirmed by the press secretary of the Armenian Foreign Ministry Vahan Hunanyan: “Despite the provocations from Azerbaijan, Armenia will take part in the meeting. Thus, the statements of the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry that Armenia is trying to disrupt the negotiations are groundless. Armenia, as before, is constructive, aimed at achieving a lasting peace in the South Caucasus, and expects the same of Azerbaijan.”

Earlier, on September 27, a meeting was held in the United States between Secretary of the Security Council of Armenia Armen Grigoryan and Advisor to the President of Azerbaijan Hikmet Hajiyev.

Azerbaijanologist Tatevik Hayrapetyan considers this format of meetings unnecessary, since the platform for negotiations between the foreign ministers of the two countries has long been used.

Details of the Grigoryan-Hajiyev meeting, topics of the Armenian-Azerbaijani talks, and xpert opinion on the expediency of their formats.

  • “Our ally isn’t fulfilling its obligation to supply weapons” – Prime Minister of Armenia
  • “The least painful solution” or “the path of struggle”? Choice of former presidents of Armenia
  • “Azerbaijan intends to occupy other territories of Armenia” – Pashinyan from UN rostrum

Armen Grigoryan and Hikmet Hajiyev met at the White House on the initiative of US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan.

According to the Armenian Security Council, the parties recognized the importance of eliminating the consequences of hostilities, and discussed

  • the need for peace in the region,
  • the process of a long-term peaceful resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh problem.

Intense hostilities on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border began at midnight on September 13. On the evening of September 14, Armenia announced that, thanks to the intervention of international partners, an agreement had been reached on a ceasefire. The officially announced total number of dead and missing Armenian soldiers is 207 men. At least 20 soldiers were captured.

On the evening of September 28 the Armenian Defense Ministry reported that Azerbaijan had resumed hostilities, as a result of which three more soldiers were killed.

Jake Sullivan described the Grigoryan-Gadzhiev meeting as “direct and constructive.”

“We discussed the importance of preventing further violence and holding timely and focused negotiations. We have also outlined clear steps to achieve a stable and lasting peace,” he wrote on his Twitter page.

Hikmet Hajiyev also commented on the meeting on Twitter. The adviser to the President of Azerbaijan expressed gratitude to America for “discussing and promoting the agenda of lasting peace and stability in the region.”

The Secretary of the Security Council of Armenia and the Advisor to the President of Azerbaijan met three times in 2022. The talks were held in Brussels with the participation of EU Special Representative Toivo Klaar.

The Prime Minister of Armenia and the Secretary of the Security Council are visiting Washington and Paris. What is the agenda?

On September 28 Armen Grigoryan, who is in Washington, gave an interview to the Armenian service of the Voice of America. He called the meeting with Hajiyev productive.

According to Grigoryan, Armenia and Azerbaijan are discussing four interrelated issues: humanitarian problems, unblocking roads, delimitation and demarcation of the border, and the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

“We have tried to be clear about how we will move forward in these areas. The peace agreement between Armenia and Azerbaijan is connected with all this,” he said.

Grigoryan recalled that there are other formats for Armenian-Azerbaijani talks: with the participation of foreign ministers, vice-premiers, as well as heads of national security services. According to him, “the meetings of the leaders of the countries are due to the progress made in these formats.”

The Secretary of the Security Council of Armenia emphasized the positive effect of US involvement in regional processes.

As an example, he cited recent hostilities on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border. He said it was possible to stop the fighting thanks to the retaliatory actions of the Armenian army and American intervention.

The Office of the Human Rights Defender published an extraordinary report on the consequences of hostilities on the Armenian border. The report presents cases of torture of Armenian prisoners of war, abuse of the bodies of the dead, destruction of civilian infrastructure, and shelling of hospitals, schools and kindergartens.

Azerbaijanologist Tatevik Hayrapetyan says the Grigoryan-Hajiyev format raises questions:

“To be honest the format is incomprehensible to me, because if there is a platform for negotiations between foreign ministers, then why launch duplicate formats. What are these issues that cannot be discussed by the Ministers of Foreign Affairs, but are discussed by the Secretary of the Security Council and Advisor to the President of Azerbaijan?”

She considers direct communication between the heads of security services and defense ministers more understandable. Hayrapetyan believes that the problem is that Armen Grigoryan is not meeting with his Azerbaijani counterpart, but with Aliyev’s adviser.

The Azerbaijanologist considers this format not only problematic, but even dangerous, “just like Grigoryan’s statements”:

“It should not be forgotten that his response to Aliyev about the illegitimacy of Azerbaijan’s demand to use another route connecting Artsakh with Armenia instead of the Lachin corridor was used by Azerbaijan to unleash aggression in the Berdzor [Lachin] region on August 3. After that the route connecting Armenia with Nagorno-Karabakh was quickly changed. I’m not talking about that anymore. Before the attack on September 12, Grigoryan and Hajiyev met in Brussels in August.”

Tatevik Hayrapetyan also believes that the Brussels format of the Armenian-Azerbaijani talks has exhausted itself, and mediation should go to the United States and France:

“In the Brussels format there is not even a mention of Nagorno-Karabakh, there have never been any normal formulations arising from the interests of Armenia. This format has already proven its worthlessness. The mediation of the United States and France is more useful for us, including from the point of view of containing Azerbaijan.”

“Turkey is not particularly interested”: On possible Pashinyan-Erdogan negotiations

Sept 30 2022

  • Armine Martirosyan
  • Yerevan

Pashinyan-Erdogan talks expected

The September war on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border again raised the question in Armenian society whether the hopes and intentions of Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan of establishing peace in the region are not illusory. Experts say that “Azerbaijan’s aggression has further complicated the solution of any issues through negotiations.” Although even under these conditions, foreign mediators organize meetings and negotiations between the conflicting parties. The latter took place in the United States with the participation of the Secretary of the Security Council of Armenia and an adviser to the President of Azerbaijan.

Another important meeting in early October in Prague has been announced. On the sidelines of the summit of the European Political Community, the Armenian Prime Minister is expected to meet with the President of Turkey, Azerbaijan’s main ally. In Armenia, they say that Ilham Aliyev will also be invisibly involved in these negotiations, since the head of Turkey openly announced the synchronization of his steps with the President of Azerbaijan.

Armenian experts below consider all bilateral negotiations important, though they doubt their effectiveness, and predict a possible agenda of Pashinyan-Erdogan talks expected in the near future.

  • Geopolitical project: How Armenia lost the war and wound up between world powers
  • “Armenia offers Azerbaijan three roads through its territory” – details from an expert
  • Regional processes without taking into account Armenian interests? Opinion

“Pashinyan and Erdogan can meet in Prague on the sidelines of the European Political Community summit. Their meeting could have taken place in New York during the last session of the UN General Assembly, but did not take place due to their busy schedules.

There are so many topics for conversation that it is difficult to say what will be given priority. Nevertheless, I suppose that the main topic for discussion at the meeting will be Armenian-Turkish relations, taking into account the interests of Azerbaijan. Ankara considers them parallel processes and constantly links them, which is justified in the case of the allies.

Yerevan must go to this meeting, but with its own very specific agenda. This meeting can minimize the risks of a possible new war.

Armenia should strive to sign agreements with Turkey and Azerbaijan – with minimal risks for itself. It is obvious that we are the losing side and we need this more than anything. And institutional peace is possible only after the signing of agreements.”

Pashinyan-Erdogan telephone conversation should not be overestimated or underestimated, experts believe, Instead, it should be regarded as a step forward in the Armenian-Turkish normalization process

“Of course, Armenia should have red lines. This is the territorial integrity of the country and its sovereignty. On all other issues we need to show great flexibility – in view of the fact that the army has been weakened, defense capability is low, and the diplomatic balance is not in our favor.

Armenia does not have an ally such as Turkey is for Azerbaijan. So, you need to choose the lesser of the evils.

“Turkey’s only real precondition for the normalization of Armenian-Turkish relations, both in the past before the war of 2020, and now, is the issue of Artsakh, the issue of the resolution of Armenian-Azerbaijani relations. Moreover, the formal side of this issue interests the Turks more than the content.

And any variant of resolving issues that suits Baku will also suit Ankara. This imperative comes from the Azerbaijani-Turkish allied relations.

There can be no other real preconditions.”

Pashinyan-Erdogan telephone conversation should not be overestimated or underestimated, experts believe, Instead, it should be regarded as a step forward in the Armenian-Turkish normalization process

“Except for Baku and Ankara, none of the players involved in the negotiations puts before Armenia the issue of providing an extraterritorial corridor through its territory. This demand is unrealizable unless Baku decides to solve it through war. It is impossible to achieve this in a negotiating format, since this would mean a violation of the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Armenia.

I believe the corridor connecting Azerbaijan with its exclave Nakhichevan will not be extraterritorial, but functional. That is, there will be no changes to the borders, but Azerbaijan will be provided with a road that will be controlled by the Russian FSB – as stated in the ninth paragraph of the November 2020 tripartite statement, which ceased hostilities in Karabakh.

Armenia will have control over the road, but very limited. I think Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan signed this. And it is unlikely that he will refuse it.

Azerbaijan is simply putting forward a maximalist agenda, but ultimately the issue will be resolved through a tripartite statement. In this case Armenia will not have territorial losses, but will lose in sovereignty.

And that’s the lesser of the evils. If a peace treaty is not signed, war could break out in Syunik [Armenia’s southern border with Azerbaijan]. Armenia does not have enough strength, defense capability to abandon this point of the tripartite statement.”

Pashinyan-Erdogan talks expected

Yerevanians discuss Armenian-Turkish negotiations and fears of the influx of Turkish goods forcing local producers out of the market

“The Pashinyan-Erdogan meeting is, of course, important from the point of view of the dialogue between the heads of the two countries, but it is not necessary to expect breakthroughs and pin great hopes on it, given Turkey’s tough position, which supports Azerbaijan’s demands of Armenia.

Turkey’s latest accusations against Armenia, which have nothing to do with reality, that it allegedly provoked Azerbaijani military operations on the border, is a confirmation of this. And this is not an isolated case, but a political approach. Therefore, Erdogan said on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly that all steps taken by Turkey in the region should be coordinated with Aliyev.”

“If the meeting does take place, Turkey will put the well-known “peace treaty” and the issue of a “corridor” through Armenia on the negotiating table. This means the unblocking of roads with the demand for a “corridor”, that is, the loss of Armenian sovereignty over this territory.

Yerevan officially opposes an extraterritorial corridor through its territory, although it is ready to provide a land road linking Azerbaijan with Nakhichevan.

Armenia also has red lines regarding the peace treaty. Azerbaijan presented five basic principles for the signing of a peace treaty. Armenia, in turn, put forward its six on providing mechanisms and guarantees for the security and rights of the Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh. And if the Turkish-Azerbaijani tandem continues to ignore the proposals of Armenia, naturally, the disagreement will deepen.

At the same time, since it is important for Turkey to satisfy Baku’s demands for the signing of a peace treaty with the recognition of NK as part of it, that is, closure of the Artsakh issue, and for the provision of a “corridor”, the effectiveness of all possible meetings is automatically called into question.

In connection with the latest military aggression of Azerbaijan on the Armenian border, uncertainty arose about the meeting of special representatives on the normalization of relations between Armenia and Turkey, which was announced for September.

In general, the topic of purely Armenian-Turkish bilateral relations is secondary; other issues are important for Turkey.”

The latest IRI survey in Armenia shows that the majority regard Azerbaijan and Turkey as the main threat to the country’s security

“Azerbaijan raises the bar of its demands every time, exerting forceful military pressure.

Today it is customary to say that the Armenian army has few resources and its defense capability is insufficient. But on September 13-14 we saw tough resistance to Azerbaijani aggression, we saw what serious losses it inflicted on the enemy. It should be clearly stated here that it was through the efforts of the Armenian army and under the pressure of American diplomacy on Baku that another Azerbaijani aggression was halted through Turkey.

But here, too, Turkey is trying to give its Western partners the impression that it is in favor of a dialogue with Armenia. A possible meeting in Prague, most likely, is planned precisely for this purpose. Turkey needs to be shown that it is constructive. But if this meeting were important for Turkey, Erdogan would make efforts to have it take place in New York, where both Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan were.

And the statement about the “busy schedule” only says that Turkey is not particularly interested in this meeting. And if it takes place, Erdogan will once again present exclusively his position and make demands.”

La France en Cilicie et au Liban

Liban – 28 sep 2022

La realpolitik est très rentable à court terme. Cependant, pour le long terme, imaginons seulement aujourd’hui, si la Cilicie était toujours arménienne francophile, ce qu’elle aurait pu offrir comme possibilités au prestige de la culture française et donc de sa puissance politique et économique.

Le destin de la Cilicie était depuis toujours lié à celui du Liban. Déjà, dès l’époque séleucide, ils étaient réunis au sein d’une administration commune sous Antiochos X, entre 94 et 88 av. J.C. Au Moyen Âge, la Cilicie devenait un royaume arménien allié au Comté de Tripoli. En 1920, ce territoire montagneux situé au nord de l’île de Chypre, était, une fois de plus, joint au Liban sous un mandat français souhaité et obtenu par les Arméniens et les maronites qui se relevaient à peine du grand génocide perpétré à coups de massacres, de déportations et de famine.

L’abandon de la Cilicie

Les troupes françaises étaient intervenues en Cilicie dès novembre 1918, en coordination avec les contingents britanniques. Mais dès février 1920, les colonnes franco-arméniennes, qui subissaient de graves défaites, commençaient leur retrait de plusieurs villes, suivies de leurs populations chrétiennes. Pris de panique, les Arméniens entreprenaient des initiatives désespérées, proclamant le 5 août 1920, la République arménienne de Mésopotamie cilicienne, aussitôt réprimée par les autorités françaises.

Alors qu’à partir de Beyrouth, le général Gouraud préparait la reconquête d’Édesse, Paris signait le 20 octobre 1921 le traité d’Ankara. Elle y rétrocédait tous les territoires de Cilicie à la Turquie en échange du respect des populations chrétiennes, ainsi que la promesse d’hypothétiques avantages économiques. C’est le comble de la cruauté que de placer les survivants d’un génocide sous la protection de leurs bourreaux. Il en a résulté un exode général encouragé par l’Église arménienne elle-même qui ne se faisait pas la moindre illusion sur la suite des événements.

Le royaume de Cilicie et le comté de Tripoli en 1190. (Wikimedia)

L’abandon de Ninive et d’Alexandrette

La France a abandonné le peuple arménien de Cilicie pour se voir régler les dettes ottomanes par la jeune République turque, conformément au traité de Lausanne qui sera signé en 1923. Pour les Arméniens qui, comme les maronites, avaient attendu la protection française depuis des décennies et avaient combattu dans les légions loin de leurs foyers, ce fut la consternation. Toujours selon cette logique de raison d’État, à Ninive (Mossoul) en Haute-Mésopotamie, les assyro-chaldéens qui avaient combattu fidèlement auprès des Britanniques étaient à leur tour trahis par ces derniers, et abandonnés aux Arabes en 1933 pour subir les habituels massacres et exodes. En 1939, le Sandjak d’Alexandrette, avec la grande Antioche, était encore remis par la France à la Turquie. Tout ce qui avait miraculeusement survécu au génocide chrétien, succombait aux politiques franco-britanniques.

L’abandon des Dardanelles

Rien n’a pu échapper à cette débâcle générale qui précipitait la mort de l’Orient chrétien. Les régions grecques ont fini par être rattrapées par les mouvements d’exode. Début janvier 1922, les troupes françaises évacuaient les villes arméniennes d’Adana et de Tarse en Cilicie et, dès septembre, elles livraient les territoires grecs d’Asie mineure jusqu’à leurs positions dans les Dardanelles. Un million trois cent mille Grecs se trouvaient arrachés à leur terre ancestrale. Tous les chrétiens, syriaques-orthodoxes, grecs-orthodoxes, assyro-chaldéens, maronites d’Alexandrette et Arméniens devenaient les victimes directes de la politique nationale turque de nettoyage ethnique.

La défaite des Grecs sur le front occidental avait rendu précaires les positions françaises. Pour le président du Conseil, Aristide Briand, l’entente avec les Kémalistes permettrait en revanche à la France de se maintenir en Syrie et de protéger le Liban, tout en s’assurant les bonnes grâces du monde musulman.

L’opposition de l’administrateur français

Les indignations étaient exprimées jusqu’au sein-même de l’armée française, témoin des événements sur le terrain. L’auteur Vahé Tachjian relève notamment dans les archives du Haut-Commissariat de Beyrouth, la figure du colonel Brémond, administrateur en chef de la Cilice, pour qui les Arméniens constituaient le "point d’appui unique" de la France en Cilicie. Ce militaire éclairé œuvrait pour l’établissement d’une forme d’autonomie cilicienne, ce qui lui avait valu une opposition ferme de sa diplomatie séduite par les Kémalistes.

Mustafa Kemal passait progressivement dans l’imaginaire français de vulgaire rebelle à héros national incarnant le progrès. Le colonel Brémond a été rappelé à Beyrouth dès l’automne 1920, contraint d’abandonner la Cilicie arménienne à son terrible sort. La France, elle, se félicitait des promesses de changement et de laïcité représentées par la personnalité de Mustafa Kemal. En effet, en 1922, le sultanat était aboli, en 1923 la République était proclamée et en 1924, le califat était supprimé. La laïcité n’a jamais cessé d’être un appât luisant pour les Occidentaux. Cependant, pour beaucoup d’observateurs plus perspicaces, cette vague incompatible avec la mentalité locale, ne pouvait être que passagère et finirait par être rejetée comme la greffe d’un corps étranger en Turquie et dans le reste de l’Orient.

La légion arménienne durant la Première Guerre mondiale, à Chypre. (Source: Légion arménienne, in: The Armenian Weekly)

L’opposition de parlementaires français

Après le rappel du colonel Brémond et la reddition de plusieurs contingents français, c’est au Parlement que, le 29 décembre 1921, Ernest Flandin (député du Calvados) et Gustave de Lamarzelle (sénateur du Morbihan) se sont insurgés contre le traité d’Ankara (dit d’Angora). Cet accord représentait l’abandon pur et simple de la Petite Arménie (la Cilicie) aux Turcs. Flandin a rappelé le martyre des Arméniens durant la Grande Guerre, les sacrifices héroïques offerts par la légion arménienne sous la bannière de la France, et enfin les promesses de protection faites par Raymond Poincaré, le 16 février 1919.

L’histoire se répète

Dans ses acrobaties de realpolitik, il arrive à la France de perdre le discernement. Après la Cilicie, la voilà qui retrouve au Liban, encore, d’hypothétiques avantages promis cette fois-ci par la République islamique. La diplomatie française contemporaine jongle avec des interprétations sur la milice terroriste du Hezbollah qui anéantit le Liban, lui inventant tantôt une aile politique supposée fréquentable, tantôt une représentativité légitimée par un choix prétendu démocratique.

Les échecs de l’histoire se répètent. Cependant, de nos jours, les transferts de populations se font d’une manière plus subtile. Si en 1922, le Haut-Commissaire débloquait ouvertement la somme de 50 millions de francs pour la délocalisation des Arméniens, aujourd’hui le processus est soigneusement délégué à des entreprises privées. C’est ainsi, par exemple, qu’à Jounié durant l’été 2021, 700 infirmières et infirmiers ont été transférés du Liban accompagnés de toutes leurs familles. La jeunesse et les cerveaux s’en vont vers ces pays d’Occident qui leur offrent toutes sortes d’avantages afin de les attirer en profitant de l’effondrement d’un Liban sous occupation, accablé et subissant un processus intentionnel d’appauvrissement.

La realpolitik est en effet très rentable à court terme. Cependant, pour le long terme, imaginons seulement aujourd’hui, si la Cilicie était toujours arménienne francophile, ce qu’elle aurait pu offrir comme possibilités au prestige de la culture française et donc de sa puissance politique et économique. Imaginons aussi demain, lorsque la majorité des Libanais aura été transférée en France, Hollande, Danemark, Canada, Australie et ailleurs, ce que la France aura perdu comme assise politico-culturelle sur cette côte du Levant. Il ne fait aucun doute que l’abandon de ses alliés de cœur consiste, pour les grandes nations, en un suicide lent, mais désespérément inéluctable.

EBRD raises growth forecast for Armenia’s economy for 2022




YEREVAN, SEPTEMBER 28, ARMENPRESS. The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) has revised its growth forecast for the economy of Armenia. The Bank is now forecasting 8% economic growth for Armenia in 2022.

In its latest Regional Economic Prospects (REP), the EBRD said that the economies of Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia are enjoying some of their highest growth rates in years.

The EBRD said Armenia and Georgia are benefiting from an inflow of Russian businesses and information and communication technology (ICT) professionals, boosting the service sectors of these small economies.

However, the robust growth recorded for the region in 2022 will taper off in 2023, highlighting concerns about its medium-term sustainability. The report warns that current growth in the Caucasus is mainly driven by temporary factors that could easily be reversed.

“In Armenia, the solid recovery seen in 2021 carried strong growth momentum into 2022, with economic growth reaching 13.1 per cent in the period from January to July. As in Georgia, the arrival of many people and firms from Russia led to an increase of 113 per cent in foreign inflows and boosted demand for services.

This has helped Armenia to finance its widening trade deficit. Foreign reserves have also increased by 20 per cent and the exchange rate by 18 per cent. The report forecasts robust growth of 8 per cent in 2022, up from a previous estimate of 4.5 per cent. The slowdown is expected to be less gentle, with a drop to 4 per cent likely in 2023. However, the latest growth estimate for 2023 remains above the earlier projection of 2.5 per cent”, the Bank said.