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August 14, 2007

ACNIS Explores the Ramifications of United States Genocide Recognition on Foreign Policy

Yerevan—As part of its Diaspora outreach initiative, the Armenian Center for National and International Studies (ACNIS) today convened a discussion on the foreign policy surrounding Armenian-Turkish and US-Turkish relations. The meeting brought together officials of international relations, leading analysts, policy specialists, and diasporan university students interning among various governmental and non-governmental organizations within the Republic of Armenia as well as media representatives.

In his opening remarks Mr. Haig Kherlopian, ACNIS intern from the American University in Washington D.C., discussed the current status of House Resolution 106 which officially recognizes the Armenian Genocide of 1915. “The American Diaspora is raised with the mentality that passing legislation to recognize the Genocide is critical for the well-being of the collective Armenian identity. It is important to understand the U.S. government’s perspective,” he said.

Caucasus and Central Asia analyst Richard Giragosian shared his expertise on the specific consequences that may, in his professional opinion, befall the three states concerned if the U.S. government does indeed pass pending genocide legislation in the American House of Representatives.

The seminar focused mainly on those risks concerning military and economic relations, about which Giragosian, a former staff member of the Joint Economic Committee of the United States Congress, commented that Turkey is currently struggling to forge a new national identity and this struggle will determine whether Turkey will ultimately look to the East or to the West. According to Giragosian, it is in Armenia’s interest that Turkey joins the European Union because, “Turkey within the straight-jacket of the EU will result in a weakened Turkish military and bring European borders to Armenia.”

Ms. Talar Hovnanian, ACNIS intern from the University of California at San Diego, posed a question for discussion to the diasporan university students present reflecting on the ways in which Armenians abroad will be able to unify themselves without a cause such as the Armenian Genocide as motivation. “After the issue of genocide recognition is resolved, will it for example be possible for the Diaspora to unify around a critical but overlooked contemporary challenge such as diverted railroads or democratic development.” The participants concluded that it is the Diaspora’s responsibility to begin to view the Armenian situation from a more realistic, strategically sober point of view rather than the easily-given platform provided by the need for genocide recognition.

Founded in 1994 by Armenia’s first Minister of Foreign Affairs Raffi K. Hovannisian and supported by a global network of contributors, ACNIS serves as a link between innovative scholarship and the public policy challenges facing Armenia and the Armenian people in the post-Soviet world. It also aspires to be a catalyst for creative, strategic thinking and a wider understanding of the new global environment. In 2007, the Center focuses primarily on civic education, democratic development, conflict resolution, and applied research on critical domestic and foreign policy issues for the state and the nation.

For further information on the Center call (37410) 52-87-80 or 27-48-18; fax (37410) 52-48-46; email root@acnis.am or info@acnis.am ; or visit www.acnis.am.


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