Territorial claims important element in Genocide reparation campaign – Armenian pundit

11:13 • 23.11.16



The pan-Armenian campaign for the recognition of Genocide and reparation of losses must involve territorial claims as a necessary element, says Ara Papyan, an Armenian historian and diplomat who heads the Yerevan-based Modus Vivendi center.


Speaking to Tert.am, the expert called for a more in-depth and comprehensive analysis of the term to consider all aspects and logic behind reparation. “On the individual level, the families which suffered losses must get reparations ... The same goes for churches and other institutions … Armenia, as a state, suffered a loss. It has lost minimum 130,000 square meters of its de jure territory. Hence, it is absolutely logical for us to raise the issue,” he said.


“It is self-deception to think that a state which sustained such a blow can keep on surviving without healing the wounds,” Mr Papyan added.  


“It wasn’t really possible until 1991 given that Armenia wasn’t independent then (whereas that’s a task for an independent statehood). After 1991, our state came face to face with more serious problems it had to deal with, and also unfortunately, pursued a different political stance. To date, the re-establishment of Armenia’s territorial integrity or the protection of the rights of the Armenian citizens whose ancestors were subjected to genocide is not a priority for our republic.”


Papyan also referred to the failed Turkey-Armenia reconciliation process, noting that despite the repeated calls for an unconditional opening of the closed border, Turkey insisted on its preconditions, derailing the process.


But he agreed that the Genocide issue is not among Turkey’s foreign policy priorities today. “It is a priority for us; as for the international community, they may treat it as a priority in case we pursue [our demand] and turn out hard-working enough. The international community wouldn’t accept the Genocide issue; it wouldn’t ever discuss it. Now, however, the Genocide is an undisputable fact for scientific and public circles. So the important thing for us is to understand that genocide constitutes a crime, and that being the case, it cannot be limited to only recognition. A crime must be punished, and the one who survived that cirme must get reparations,” he added.

 

Papyan further cited economic development as direct outcome of the return of lands. “We have clearly seen this state’s depopulation over the years of independence. That’s due to not only poor management but weak small economic background.”

Papyan said he thinks that Armenia is only now making its first academic steps towards initiating the reparation process. “No serious studies are available at the moment; only steps. We need to have collections of documents, views and discussions, and shape public opinion,” he added.

Hripsime Hovhannisyan





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