By David Boyajian

USA Armenian Life Magazine
Friday, May 1, 2009

Just days before April 24, the annual commemoration of the Armenian
genocide, Armenia and Turkey agreed on a so-called "roadmap" that
from all indications is a betrayal of the Armenian people, both in
the homeland and around the world.

The roadmap - approved by Armenia's president - calls for the
establishment of diplomatic relations and the opening of the border
between the two countries, which Turkey closed 16 years ago.

But the roadmap reportedly goes much further. A joint Turkish-Armenian
historical commission would decide whether there really was, as Turkey
maintains, no Armenian genocide. And Armenia would formally accept
Turkey's continued occupation of Western Armenia.

The Burden of Illegitimacy An Armenian president that has not, however,
been fairly and democratically elected lacks the requisite legitimacy
to negotiate roadmaps, treaties, or anything else with Turkey. Such
a leader is often compelled to do what certain major Western and
regional countries ask of him lest they continue to point to his
illegitimacy and abuse of his citizens' civil rights.

Those countries can also threaten to stop providing Armenia economic
support, much of which people close to the Armenian administration
have siphoned off and become dependent upon.

Neither can an i llegitimate Armenian leader tell such countries that
the Armenian people will not permit him to make major concessions
to Turkey. After all, those countries know very well that a leader
whose authority is derived through the misuse of power, rather than
through the ballot box, can make concessions without the consent of
the Armenian people.

The Historical Commission Farce Armenia's president has given in -
though we don't know the precise details - to Turkey's demand for a
historical commission on 1915, as if even he questions the veracity
of the genocide. As a result, the world now erroneously believes that
the Armenian people are putting the genocide up for debate.

No serious person would ever have fallen for the idea of establishing
a joint historical commission -­ first proposed four years ago
by Turkey.

(See the author's "The Genocide Study Trap" on This
year, however, Armenia's president did.

Are he and his advisors unaware, for example, that the International
Association of Genocide Scholars ( sent a letter
to the Turkish prime minister explaining that "the scholarly and
intellectual record" and "hundreds of independent scholars" had long
ago proven the factuality of the genocide?

U-Turn on "No Preconditions" Armenia has long stated that it would
agree to a normalization of relations=2 0with Turkey only if there
were no "preconditions." Yet the president has now made a U-turn by
agreeing to Turkey's precondition of a historical commission.

The historical commission gave the new U.S. president yet another
excuse to not use the word "genocide" in his April 24 statement.

Even worse, Armenia's president recklessly undermined the decades
long, and largely successful, efforts of Armenian Americans and the
Diaspora for genocide acknowledgment.

It appears that the Armenian president may also agree to another
Turkish precondition: formal recognition of Turkey's borders, thereby
possibly throwing away Armenian legal and historical rights and the
chances of, for example, regaining much needed direct access to the
Black Sea in the future.

One wonders whether Armenia will also be selling off Artsakh (Karabagh)
at bargain basement prices.

The Armenian president has also allowed the American president,
his Secretary of State, and the international media to depict a mere
border opening as "reconciliation," as if somehow Turkey and Armenia
had been "reconciled" before Turkey closed the border in 1993, and as
if reopening the border would return the countries to that wonderful
state of "reconciliation." The Armenian government has done nothing
to correct this absurd misperception.

Taking Responsibility

Armenian political parties that have long20had the Diaspora's support
must also take responsibility for the Armenian president's errors.

The parties were warned many years ago that Armenia, buffeted by
powerful outside forces, was headed down the road of losing its legal
and historical rights. They were also repeatedly warned, even before
Armenian independence, that allowing the Armenian national cause to
be erroneously perceived as simply a matter of achieving genocide
acknowledgment, rather than as also gaining reparations and territory,
was inviting disaster. Now we see that disaster coming true via the

The discord that the president has sown, and the injustices that the
roadmap would perpetuate, must not be allowed to continue.

A strong and united response by the people of Armenia and the Diaspora
is needed now to steer Armenia and its president away from the final
destination of the roadmap: capitulation and yet another Armenian


The author is an Armenian American freelance writer. Several of his
articles are archived at

From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress