Sarkisian ‘Absolutely’ Wants Obama to Recognize Armenian Genocide

Guarantees Ratification of Protocols in Parliament if Turkey Does So First

YEREVAN (A.W.)—In an interview with the Al Jazeera New Network conducted on Feb. 12, Armenian President Serge Sarkisian said he “absolutely” wants President Barack Obama to recognize the Armenian Genocide.

Answering a question about Obama’s campaign pledge to recognize the Armenian Genocide, Sarkisian said Obama had followed up on his pledge but “not to the extent he had promised before he became the president. But he stated unequivocally that he hasn’t changed his mind.” Responding to a question follow-up question on whether Sarkisian wants Obama to use the word “genocide” in reference to 1915, Sarkisian said, “Absolutely.”

Speaking about the protocols, Sarkisian said it is the Turkish side that is stalling the process, noting that “as the leader of the political force which currently holds parliamentary majority, I rule out any possibility of the Armenian Parliament not ratifying the protocols if they are ratified by the Turks without preconditions.”

During the interview, Sarkisian reiterated that Russia and Armenia are “strategic partners” and that the Armenian American community serves as a bridge for good relations with the U.S.

Below is the full text of the interview.


Mr. President, the Turkish side claims that the Armenian side protracts the process. What are the next steps after the protocols have been ratified by the parliaments of both countries? What kind of, so to speak, “happy ending” would you like to see for this process?

At the moment, the protocols are at the Presidential Office, and as soon as I am back to Yerevan, I will submit them to the National Assembly to start the process of ratification. We are surprised, as actually everybody else is, that the Turks think or claim that we are dragging our feet on the process of ratification. On the contrary, it is quite obvious that the Turkish side is protracting the process.

The Turkish side is protracting the process?

Yes, undoubtedly, because we have stated many times—and the last time it was yesterday—when I said that as the leader of the political force which currently holds parliamentary majority, I rule out any possibility of the Armenian Parliament not ratifying the protocols if they are ratified by the Turks without preconditions.

Mr. President, what is next? After the protocols have been ratified by the Armenian and Turkish sides, what is the next step to bring the entire process to its conclusion and normalize relations between the two countries?

After the ratification of the protocols and their entry into force, the border must be opened. After that an intergovernmental commission will be established along with its sub-commissions, and we will start the dialogue. Thus, by ratifying the protocols we are not concluding the process but rather we are launching a process.

Actually, for you the ratification or opening of the border are important for the purposes of trade as well as for obtaining an outlet to the outer world. Do you think that the border opening is important for other countries too, for instance for Russia or the United States?

I believe, yes. That’s the reason why the U.S., Russia, and the European Union support this process. It is not only about opening the border, it is about establishing relations.

Are you going to deepen your relations with the United States and Russia, since you are between these two “worlds”?

Yes, we have very good relations with the Russian Federation. We are strategic partners. We both are present in many structures, and our relations continue to deepen. We also have good relations with the United States. The U.S. is home to many Armenians who serve as a natural bridge in our relations with America. The best situation for us is when the U.S. and Russia maintain good relations.

As you rightly mentioned, many Armenians live in the U.S. as well as all over the world. Many Armenians have left Armenia, and today they are supporting their families from abroad. Do you think of bringing them back to Armenia, somehow?

Certainly, and not only those Armenians who are supporting their families and the Armenian economy, who left Armenia after independence, but also those Armenians who were spread all over the world in the wake of the Armenian Genocide. Armenians help and assist us from every corner of the world. In our estimate, today there are over 10 million Armenians in the world, and only 3 million are residing in the Republic of Armenia. We would be happy if the other 7 million come back to Armenia. We, of course, understand that it is hardly to happen. However, we want every Armenian born in Armenia to come back.

What would you say of a president of the United States who says, “America deserves a leader who speaks truthfully about the Armenian Genocide and responds forcefully to all genocides. I intend to be that president”? Barack Obama said that. Is he responding? Is he the kind of president that will?

Yes, he did respond. Of course not to the extent he had promised before he became the president. But he stated unequivocally that he hasn’t changed his mind.

Does it mean, you continue to anticipate his assistance?

Well, if you mean that to articulate the word “genocide” or to speak about genocide is assistance, then it can be put that way, yes. I believe that it means to accept the truth, to speak the truth.

Do you want him to say that word?



  1. I have never heard an official of Armenia say that he thinks the US should recognize the Armenian genocide.    This appears to be a first.   Wow, what courage, what outspokeness, what erudition, huh?

    Let’s see, once every 20 years the president of Armenia has something to say about Armenian genocide resolutions.    I look forward to the next such statement.  That would be sometime around the year 2030.

    Forget about the US – when was the last time Armenia itself bothered to recognize the Genocide?  What books has Serge read about the Genocide?  Anyone know?  Does he know the history?  Prove it.

    By the way, has anyone seen or heard from the Armenian ambassador to the US?  Does anyone even know his or her name?  No fair to look it up.   What does he or she do with his time?  Was he or she on the Armenian Heritage Boat Cruise this year?   If so, how does he or she look in a tan? I am sure the ambassador is hard-working. I just don’t know at what.

    A final question: I know that at one time Russia recognized the Armenian genocide – that was in 1995
    (  Has Russia had anything to say since then, or has it been too busy conducting business with the Turks?   Whayt I mean is this:  the US has officially recognized the Armenian genocide several times (1951, 1975, 1981, and 1984).    If the US must re-affirm its recognition, can someone please tell why Russia doesn’t?  Would it offend the Turks too much?

  2. As an American Armenian, I welcome the positive, inclusive, and decisively clear positions the President articulated at this interview with Aljazeera.

  3. Honesty in Presidency

    Bush Family soon leaving the White House

    Disregarding utterly our defined genocide!
    I hope I will be alive to hear; may see to sign

    Which Honest President will grant our lost reigns?

    The poetry says truth honestly pearly
    While politics plays, polish grimy games, sleazily.
    Poets know others by clear heart in brains till spike

    Been born of gifted human, honored by inner sparks.

    Every creature at the end will donnish
    The poems will stay speaking unleash.
    Every honest will read, howl, yell, greet—
    Accepting the past by endless weeping breathes!

    April 24, 2008

    From Poetry Collections: A Poetic Soul Shined of Genocides

  4. Say what you will about president Sargsyan, official Yerevan has played its political role brilliantly – thus far. As a result of how Yerevan handled the protocols, Armenia today is in a win-win situation despite any outcome the political process may have. And despite Turkish fears and apprehensions about engaging Armenia on an equal footing, the ball is currently in Ankara’s court and Ankara will be forced to play ball. Mr. Sargsyan has again proven that the Republican Party of Armenia has more political savvy and diplomatic sophistication than all our traditional diasporan parties combined. Our hopelessly ignorant/naive people (especially here in the diaspora) are only now perhaps beginning to wake up from their genocide obsessed fantasies…

  5. So what? What is the real value of Serj wanting Obama to recognize the Genocide? Does it mean Obama was waiting all this time for Serj to urge him to do that? He could care less. Sorry for reiterating this obvious fact, but Obama will serve his country’s national interests. If they require that the ‘G’ word is used in his Annual Appeal to the Armenian People this year, he’ll use it. If they require passage of a Genocide resolution in the Congress, it’ll be passed. But if recognition goes against the U.S. national interests, no Serj or anyone else can push him towards making that step. I think by means of such interviews and speeches (like the recent one in Chatham House, London) Serj and few other protocol-supporters aim at mollifying the Diaspora and the anti-protocol majority inside his country. Serj knows that in politics words are cheap, what matters is his government’s signature on the defeatist protocols and the fact that he’s submitted them to the parliament.
    To Dave: In order to understand what Armenian ambassador in the US does, we need to know how the current Armenian government system works. People who know the ambassador indicate that, being a provincial who came from a remote village to the capital in order to establish himself as a personality and acquire a personal significance, he has a deep inferiority complex and suffers from agoraphobia (fear of open space). In addition, this is a type of a person who fears vehemently any uncontrolled word or a miscalculated step that could irritate his superiors, because deep in his small psyche he envisions himself as a future president of Armenia as a compensation for his miserable, plebeian essence. What can we expect from such an ambassador? Besides, in countries like Armenia (and, I believe, beyond), ambassadors play only nominal role. Many of them are brown-nosers, subservient to their masters in Yerevan or beyond.

  6. I know those involved in the Hay Dat don’t want to hear this for obvious reasons; but individuals who have even a slight understanding of real world politics realize that none of our “grassroots” activists, PR campaigns and lobbying organizations in Washington matter much in the world of realpolitik. All the effort we place in Washington regarding our Hay Dat is  efforts wasted. The cold hard fact of the matter is – the US will recognize the “Armenian Genocide” when it suits its geopolitical/economic interests. For about a hundred years now American presidents have worked for special interests (the nation’s elite) that have essentially put them into power. I would hate to think that our community representatives as well as our lobbying organizations actually believe that the political establishment in America is run by elected officials…
    American democracy is essentially a two ring circus (Republican and Democrat) run by a ringmaster (the financial/political elite). When our naive people wake up and realize this fact everything will suddenly make sense…

  7. How come Arm. Weekly keeps removing my posts here, while Robert, a staunch anti-Armenian and anti Tashnag has his posts printed? Strange, is there a conspiracy going on again here?
    Anyways, here is the latest trick perpetrated from Turkey:
    To hasten their integration into the European Union, Turkey’s intelligence agencies fabricated this “coup d’etate”  spectacle. This is all “phony.”  The arrest of 50 plus generals is a ruse to make Turkey’s acceptance into the European Union faster and easier.  It is like telling Europe that if they are not accepted, the generals will take over our country.

    So, once again, Turkey comes out way ahead of all, including the Western countries, the USA and Armenia.

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