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Armenian-Turkish protocols contain unmentioned implications

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  • Armenian-Turkish protocols contain unmentioned implications, Armenia
    Nov 27 2010

    Armenian-Turkish protocols contain unmentioned implications

    November 27, 2010 | 01:34

    By Heghine Manukyan

    On the occasion of Turkish Premier Recep Erdogan's visit to Lebanon,
    as well as in connection with the Armenian-Turkish protocols, the Agency interviewed Mr. Sebouh Kalpakian, a Lebanese MP and
    Vice-Chairman of the Central Office, Social Democrat Hunchakian Party

    Question: Mr. Kalpakian, as a member of the Armenian community in
    Lebanon, what is you opinion of the Turkish Premier's visit to

    Answer: The Turkish Premier's visit has two sides. If his visit is
    viewed in the context of Lebanon, it can be called rather successful.
    During his visit, Erdogan was making most balanced statements, without
    missing chances to note Turkey should extend a helping hand to Lebanon
    in resolving the country's problems. He participated in the opening
    ceremonies of a school and a hospital constructed on the Turkish
    Government's funds. A number of agreements were signed.

    Besides, the Lebanese Armenians had rather hard days - both as
    Lebanese citizens and as ethnic Armenians. Not everyone was could
    favorably accept our position. The situation is most difficult in
    Lebanon, the country is going through crucial times, and the Armenian
    community's ambitions (actions of protest) were misunderstood by many.
    We were told the following: `Decide on whether you are Armenians or
    Lebanese.' However, some forces supported us. An unprecedented think
    happened: the three leading parties we printed and put up posters in
    the streets, demanding a fair settlement of the Hay Dat (Armenian
    Cause) issue. However, the night before the Turkish Premier's visit,
    Lebanese law-enforcers took the posters off. Earlier, every April 24
    we put up similar posters, but this time, due to the Government's
    interference, they have for the first time been taken off. In any
    case, our common aim is to remind Lebanon, as well as the entire world
    that by paying a visit the Turkish premier cannot make Lebanese,
    including Armenians, forget their problems. We must remain committed
    to Hay Dat ideals.

    You know that Turkey is now maintaining close ties with Syria, Iran
    and Lebanon. The three states have always respected the Armenian
    people, without missing a chance to commend it. During the Turkish
    Premier's visit I called on the three states to make use their ties
    and persuade the Turkish Government to apologize to the Armenian
    people - for the wall to be destroyed, and for us to close this
    chapter in our history and open a new one.

    If the leaders of the states can step in, in Armenians' favor, may
    they do so, and we will be grateful.

    Question: Turkey, in the person of its leaders, has lately made
    statements in favor of Armenia and Armenians. On November 26, in
    Switzerland, Turkish President Abdullah Gul stated Turkey was
    determined to put the Armenian-Turkish protocols into practice and,
    for the process to succeed, expects the Armenian President to remain
    committed to his style as a leader and statesman. What conclusion can
    be drawn from Turkey's behavior?

    Answer: Life has shown the Armenian-Turkish process has remained on
    paper, and the Armenian-Turkish protocols will not get an all-Armenian
    `yes vote.' Without national unity, the State cannot act by itself.
    The same can be said about Turkey. The situation was tense there after
    the Armenian-Turkish protocols were signed. Turkey decided to launch a
    new policy of settling conflicts with its neighbors. With this end in
    view, it has been able to resolve its problems with Syria and open a
    new chapter in its relations with Iran and Lebanon. Turkey is
    obviously seeking peaceful relations with Armenia, at least for Europe
    to see it in a certain light, but there is an obstacle.

    Question: What is the obstacle? Especially in the context of the
    protocols that guarantee the relations?

    Answer: I would like to ask the same question. Why was the
    ratification process frozen? Who is hindering it? What happened? What
    were the reasons why the process was not developed? The Armenian
    President is supposed to answer the questions. We have the answers: at
    first they claimed the Nagorno-Karabakh problem was an obstacle to
    ratification. I think that turkey planned to get concessions on
    Nagorno-Karabakh by means of the protocols and thus calm down
    Azerbaijan. Now it is time for the Armenian president to shed light on
    the obscure aspects of the Armenian-Turkish process and explain the
    reasons why thing went wrong.

    What has changed? Why is Turkey calling on the Armenian authorities to
    act? We doubt that they are demanding concessions on Nagorno-Karabakh
    from Armenia. Armenia is in a difficult situation, as it is up to
    Nagorno-Karabakh to decide. Under the circumstances, Armenian and
    Nagorno-Karabakh authorities may have disagreements as well. Even if
    the protocols are put into practice after the Nagorno-Karabakh
    conflict has been settled, we will not accept it because of some
    points, particularly the one of a group of historians. The Armenian
    authorities are thus ignoring the efforts the Diaspora has been making
    for 98 years. They are seeking a compromise with Turkey over our
    heads. This is an insult for the Armenian Diaspora, particularly for
    traditional parties.

    Question: Before signing the Armenian-Turkish protocols, the Armenian
    President made a pan-Armenian tour to convince the Armenians the
    protocols did not contain any anti-Armenian wordings. Do you think it
    is worth making another tour and explaining to the Armenians in all
    the parts of the world the reasons why Armenia suspended the
    ratification process? May be you, the Diaspora, will make such a

    Answer: When we feel the work at the protocols has resumed, you can be
    sure Lebanon will be the first to respond. The Armenia President has
    made a tour of the Diaspora, probed into the sentiments of the
    Armenian communities and made sure of the disapproval of the
    protocols. He explained to us that the approval of the protocols must
    be gradual, but life has shown the opposite. Surely, the protocols
    contain implications, which are not mentioned by anyone. This is the
    reason why the ratification was suspended.

    From: A. Papazian