Aghjayan: More Diplomatic Naiveté

It has been suggested by some during the current crisis over the protocols for diplomatic relations between Turkey and Armenia that criticism should be tempered. The argument goes that a great deal of pressure is being exerted on Armenia to accept the protocols, thus what is most needed is unity in support of the Armenian government.

Truthfully, I fail to see the logic in that approach on many levels.

First, in any democracy, the role of government is to represent the will of the people. Thus, it is the obligation of the people to let their voice be heard. In addition, it is the role of government to engage its constituency in discussion, not to arrogantly dismiss all criticism. The breath and forcefulness of outrage over the protocols thus far should have initiated a dialogue. Instead, critics have been disparaged.

As the saying goes, the leaders of a government should not sleep in the donkey’s ear.

Second, and just as importantly, to agree unconditionally is a negotiation strategy doomed to failure. The protocols will not change if the entire Armenian nation displays complete support for what has been agreed to thus far. The parameters will adjust when it is realized that the Armenian government can not sell a false bill of goods to the Armenian people.

It is interesting to note in this regard that the existence of opposition to the protocols in Turkey is not viewed as a strategic advantage for Armenian diplomacy, at least not one that has been exposed thus far. Instead, it is being used by Turkey to further place conditions on the process. What does that tell you?

Turkey’s intractability on the acceptance of the Armenian Genocide and the independence of Artsakh are the clearest indication that they are unwilling to accept Armenia or Armenians on equal terms. In their view, Armenians are unworthy of consideration unless totally prostrate, and that is exactly the position the protocols place us in.

Lasting peace in the region cannot be built on such a foundation. The way forward is a relationship of equal partners between Turkey and Armenia, Turks and Armenians. Given the history between the peoples, it is the government of Turkey that must build the necessary trust by accepting the Armenian Genocide, atoning for that crime, and accepting the independence of Artsakh. These principles are non-negotiable.


George Aghjayan

George Aghjayan is the Director of the Armenian Historical Archives and the chair of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF) Central Committee of the Eastern United States. Aghjayan graduated with honors from Worcester Polytechnic Institute in 1988 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Actuarial Mathematics. He achieved Fellowship in the Society of Actuaries in 1996. After a career in both insurance and structured finance, Aghjayan retired in 2014 to concentrate on Armenian related research and projects. His primary area of focus is the demographics and geography of western Armenia as well as a keen interest in the hidden Armenians living there today. Other topics he has written and lectured on include Armenian genealogy and genocide denial. He is a board member of the National Association of Armenian Studies and Research (NAASR), a frequent contributor to the Armenian Weekly and, and the creator and curator, a website dedicated to the preservation of Armenian culture in Western Armenia.

1 Comment

  1. I totally agree with Mr Aghjayan.
    What I don’t understand is where is ANCA’s campaign to forcefully pressure the Armenian Government? Where is Armenia’s Foreign Ministry’s email address, which should be flooded by The Whole Diaspora Armenian emails, thereby literally shutting it down. Same should be done with The prime ministers and the President’s emails. I am surprised that this very effective method that was used for the Genocide recognition, is not being utilized. May be ANCA has an answer?

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