April 23, 2009
ACNIS Director Richard Giragosian Comments on the RECENT TRILATERAL ARMENIAN-TURKISH-SWISS JOINT STATEMENT
Yerevan—Armenian Center for National and International Studies (ACNIS) Director Richard Giragosian issued a statement today commenting on the recent joint declaration issued on 22 April by the Ministries of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Armenia, the Republic of Turkey and the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs.
Only two days before the April 24th anniversary of the Armenian genocide, a trilateral statement was issued by the Armenian, Turkish and Swiss governments declaring that “Turkey and Armenia, together with Switzerland as mediator, have been working intensively with a view to normalizing their bilateral relations and developing them in a spirit of good-neighborliness, and mutual respect, and thus to promoting peace, security and stability in the whole region.”
The statement went on to note that “the two parties have achieved tangible progress and mutual understanding in this process and they have agreed on a comprehensive framework for the normalization of their bilateral relations in a mutually satisfactory manner. In this context, a road-map has been identified.”
Concluding by stating that “this agreed basis provides a positive prospect for the on-going process,” the joint statement represents one of the most serious strategic blunders by the Armenian government to date. Although this brief 95-word statement may accurately reflect an opportunity for a genuinely historic breakthrough in relations between Armenia and Turkey, the message of its text and the timing of its release raise important concerns.
Most clearly, by issuing such a joint statement just prior to the annual commemoration of the Armenian genocide, the Republic of Armenia has only bolstered, and seemingly endorsed, Turkish attempts to pressure US President Barack Obama from fulfilling his campaign promises to recognize the Armenian genocide in his traditional April 24th statement.
Moreover, by agreeing to not only issue a joint statement that clearly conforms to Turkish attempts to distort and deny the historical veracity of the Armenian genocide, but to also release such a statement just two days prior to the traditional April 24th anniversary, the Armenian government has demonstrated an appalling degree of short-sightedness and irresponsibility. Such a strategic error raises further questions over the sophistication, sincerity and seriousness of Armenian leadership, particularly at such a vulnerable point in Armenian history when the security and status of Nagorno-Karabagh remain unresolved and the future course of democratic and economic reform in Armenia remains in doubt.
Within a broader context, this strategic error by the Armenian authorities is considerably more than simply a deficiency in foreign policy, but suggests a truly tragic, and possibly irrevocable step, whereby the Armenian government has not only sacrificed the integrity of the state, but has abdicated its responsibility to both the passing generation of genocide survivors and the present generation of their ancestors. Such a disdainful disregard for the historical legacy of the Armenian genocide has been an all too common characteristic of the Republic of Turkey, but for the Republic of Armenia, such irresponsible collaboration deserves only intense condemnation. It is truly a tragic start to the annual commemoration of the Armenian genocide.
The Armenian Center for National and International Studies (ACNIS) is a leading independent strategic research center located in Yerevan, Armenia. As an independent, objective institution committed to conducting professional policy research and analysis, ACNIS strives to raise the level of public debate and seeks to broaden public engagement in the public policy process, as well as fostering greater and more inclusive public knowledge. Founded in 1994, ACNIS is the institutional initiative of Raffi K. Hovannisian, Armenia’s first Minister of Foreign Affairs. Over the past fifteen years, ACNIS has acquired a prominent reputation as a primary source of professional independent research and analysis covering a wide range of national and international policy issues.
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