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28 April 2008 - ERAREN
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="justify">The Armenians, who declared 24 April the official day for commemoration of the “genocide victims,” and hold annual ceremonies on this day all around world, have also held various demonstrations and meetings this year.

l exhibitions, film festivals and protests were held by Armenians in the USA, France, Germany, Holland, England, Russia, Bulgaria, Poland, Georgia, the Greek Administration of Southern Cyprus, Greece, Lebanon and many other countries. As in previous years, the demonstrations in Armenia took place in front of the Genocide Monument built in 1965. During the commemoration ceremony – in which thousands of people participated – for the 93rd anniversary of the alleged Armenian genocide, a fanaticism that will damage the relations between the two states was observed. As thousands of people stepped on the Turkish flag and burned Turkish and Azeri flags, sentiments of revenge and hatred were revealed.

While the 24 April demonstrations continued, new statements were made by Armenian politicians throughout the week. The new Armenian Minister of Foreign Affairs Eduard Nalbandyan said, “We are ready to start negotiations without any preconditions to normalize the relations.” Foreign Affairs Minister Ali Babacan replied by saying that Turkey remains open to the possibilities of inter-governmental dialogue to normalize relations.

Armenia, which is the key player in terms of Southern Caucasus instability, was excluded from regional projects and became isolated due largely to the policies of the Kocharyan period. It was expected that new President Serzh Sargsyan and the Armenian Government would not continue to make the same foreign policy mistakes of previous years. However, Sargsyan’s speech during the April 24 ceremonies, in which he stressed the need for Armenia to double its efforts for international recognition and promulgation of the 1915 events within the international community, indicates that there will not be any changes made to Armenia’s policy. The course that Serzh Sargsyan, who worked as defense minister and prime minister during the presidency of Kocharyan, would pursue in his new post had been a source of wonder. As his latest speech reveals, there will not be any changes to Armenia’s policies towards Turkey.

Because Armenia made the recognition of the genocide allegations the primary goal of its foreign policy, the issue has become a political one. It has not been possible to conduct scientific research on the 1915 events from a historical perspective due to the obsessive and uncompromising attitude of the Armenian politicians and Diaspora members; in fact Turkey’s proposal to establish a joint commission, which would allow historians from both countries to analyze the 1915 events and shed some light on the subject through archival research, went unanswered.

It has only been a short time since the President and new government started their terms in an Armenia dealing with economic problems, political upheavals and issues of democracy and human rights. As Armenian statesmen have pointed out, both before and after the elections the most important issue is the welfare of Armenia. Armenia’s isolation can only come to an end if it can solve the problems with its neighbours. Armenian statesmen should discontinue their policy of using the 1915 genocide allegations as political tools in relations with Turkey, and appreciate the fact that history, including the events of 1915, should be analyzed in a scientific context.

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ERAREN - Institute for Armenian Research

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