Aghjayan: Whose Side Are YOU On?

Enough time has transpired since the announcement of protocols for establishing diplomatic relations between Turkey and Armenia to tabulate the supporters and opponents.

Of course, the U.S. State Department is thrilled with the current developments and fully supports the protocols.

Proxies for the government of Turkey in the United States are also supportive of the protocols. That includes the likes of Congressman Robert Wexler and the Turkish Coalition of America (TCA). You remember these folks, don’t you? The TCA is leading the charge in U.S. courtrooms challenging all efforts at Armenian Genocide recognition and Wexler is the co-chair of the Congressional Caucus on U.S.-Turkish relations.

Surely, support from such a distinguished group must indicate the protocols are good for Armenia.

The Armenian Democratic Liberal (ADL) party seems a bit schizophrenic on the matter. The eastern United States branch supports the protocols, yet every other branch opposes the protocols. The central committee in Armenia stated that the Armenian people are entering “a serious and dangerous period” and that it has “intense” reservations over the protocols.

Some opponents to the protocols exist in Turkey as well, but which clauses in the protocol do they take exception to? Interestingly, none! The sole criticism emanating from Turkey is that the resolution to the conflict in Artsakh needs to be a prerequisite for opening the border between Turkey and Armenia. Immediately, the leadership in Turkey indicated that is the case. Whether explicitly in the protocols or not, Turkey has guaranteed that the border will not be open until Azerbaijan has been appeased.

Those lining up against the protocols from the Armenian side have much more substantive criticisms. The historical commission, affirming of borders, and absence of the right to self-determination are just the tip of the iceberg. Unfortunately, the response from the Armenian leadership has been severely lacking.

The supposed imminent signing of the protocols for establishing diplomatic relations between Turkey and Armenia raises the question as to legitimacy of those signing. The backlash in both Armenia and the diaspora and the resulting public relations junket by President Sarkisian confirm the minimal and fragile support the protocols and president enjoy. It is time to end this farce and there is no better time than while the president is here in the United States.

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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 frequent contributor to the Armenian Weekly and Houshamadyan.org, and the creator and curator westernarmenia.weebly.com, a website dedicated to the preservation of Armenian culture in Western Armenia.
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