Armenians were overwhelmingly opposed to Zurich protocols, say Diaspora public figures  

14:26 • 03.03.18



The ill-fated Armenia-Turkey protocols were a nationwide concern, which Armenia's top leadership realized only now to declare the entire process null and void, says Murad Papazyan, the president of the Coordination Council of Armenian Organizations of France.  


The process, initiated in 2009, met a strong reaction by the Diaspora organizations, especially the traditional political parties (Armenian Revolutionary Federation-Dashnaksutyun, Social-Democrat Hunchakian Party and the Armenian Democratic Liberal Party), which organized a joint rally in Los Angeles, to protest the documents.  They were particularly angered by the fact that the Armenian authorities had made such a decision without consultations with the Diaspora.


President Serzh Sargsyan later initiated trips to Paris, New York, Los Angeles, Beirut and Rostov-on-Don to meet with the local Armenians and hear their opinions and concerns about a possible reconciliation with Turkey.

 

In comments to Tert.am, Papazyan noted that the ARF-D conducted a protest also in Yerevan and later left the coalition government, disagreeing to the authorities' position. He noted that the party itself insisted on annulling the protocols after it again signed a coalition deal with the ruling Republican Party of Armenia.


 “We voiced [our position] as a coalition ally to give everybody a clear understanding that Turkey was not ready for any gesture dealing with the Armenian Cause. On the contrary, they are continuing their policy of denial. Also, Turkey and Azerbaijan are solidifying their unity, using the Artsakh [Nagorno-Karabakh] front,” he said, positively evaluating President Serzh Sargsyan’s decision.

 

“It’s a sign of generosity to admit one’s own error after committing it or one's failure to properly evaluate the situation,” he added.    

 

Papazyan also stressed the importance of a nationwide consent. “The overwhelming majority of the Armenians were opposed to those protocols. which ran counter to the Armenian Cause and [the interests of] Artsakh. Those were soft data which revealed the existing divide between Armenia and the Armenian people, and the diaspora in 2008 and 2009, ” he said, calling for strong efforts towards a national unity.

 

Addressing the president’s remark, hinting the possibility of future reconciliation efforts, Papazyan said they are not against a new dialogue based on a revised document proposing revised approaches. “We are not against a dialogue. And we are not against discussing the conditions, under which Turkey would be ready to maintain positive relations with Armenia. But those conditions must be by all means discussed. Also, we should not ignore the problems underlying our hostility with that country. It is important to give Turkey a clear sign that they cannot possibly develop relations with Armenia, putting aside the Genocide recognition issue. The problems between the two countries must not be simply ignored after being put on the [negotiating] table - given especially that they are so serious and of a historical significance,” Papazyan added.


But he admitted that Turkey had no moral right to close the border with Armenia.


“Turkey and Azerbaijan practically keep [their interstate] borders [with Armenia] close. This is practically blockade which should push Armenia to offensive policies to achieve Turkey’s condemnation by the UN. We do not even need to sign agreements and protocols. Turkey did not have any right to close any border,” he added.


Armenia played checkers, while Turkey played chess, according to Aram Hamparian, Executive Director of the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA).


“Yerevan pursued these reckless pro-Turkey accords over the common sense objections of the ANCA and nearly every civil society voice across the Armenian homeland and diaspora,” he said, commenting on President Sargsyan's decision.


“We issued countless warnings, held endless meetings and even organized protests, setting forth clear evidence and compelling arguments against this one-sided deal. Turns out, we were right on every count,”  Hamparian noted.

Hripsime Hovhannisyan





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