Mensoian: Maybe Artsakh’s Time Has Come

Seldom does the Sarkisian Administration do anything that elicits a favorable comment. However, the apparent shift in President Sarkisian’s approach to reclaiming our historic Western Armenia lands was a distinct surprise, and long overdue. Evidently the prosecutor general of Armenia, Aghvan Hovsepyan, was chosen as the point man to stress the need to place Armenia’s demand for these lands on a firm legal basis. This obvious need has always existed, but that it is now publicly supported by Yerevan changes the dynamics. The significance of this policy change can be seen in the immediate response by Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu warning Yerevan that it “…is out of the question to [even] think about…” reclaiming land from Turkey.

Christmas tree on Renaissance Square in Stepanakert (Photo by Arevik Danielian, The Armenian Weekly)
Christmas tree on Renaissance Square in Stepanakert (Photo by Arevik Danielian, The Armenian Weekly)

This seemingly seismic change by Yerevan suggests that it may be time to rethink the situation in Artsakh. In the nearly 20 years since the ceasefire in 1994, Artsakh has made progress in repairing the infrastructure laid waste by the Azeri military. In addition, a government based on democratic principles has been formed, together with the foundation for an economic system that could rapidly expand given sufficient inputs. However laudable this progress has been, we cannot allow Artsakh to experience this same slow rate of infrastructural and economic development for the next 20 years. There is a vital need to accelerate its development. This may well be the time to craft a more aggressive policy that will meet this objective.

An important component of any policy would be to increase the population and to facilitate a planned settlement pattern that would meet Artsakh’s strategic needs. The situation in Syria has generated a small in-migration of Armenians responsible for the creation of several new settlements in the Kashatagh region of Artsakh. However, these recent settlers have not appreciably changed the fact that during the two decades since 1994, the population has been virtually stagnant with respect to numbers and its distribution. Both economic development and spatial integration (the need to effectively tie the various regions of Artsakh together) are directly dependent on maintaining a sustainable annual increase in population and creating a settlement pattern that meets the country’s economic and military objectives.

Immediately some will say that Armenia does not have the will or the influence to openly support such an aggressive policy with respect to Artsakh. Well, for an official of the present administration to speak of placing our demand to reclaim land from Turkey on a firm legal basis seems to be a far more aggressive stance for Yerevan to take than what is being suggested for Artsakh. That being so, this may well be the opportune time for Artsakh to benefit from a comprehensive policy that will accelerate the development of its socioeconomic infrastructure and its economy, and encourage in-migration and the strategic placement of new settlements. The continued concentration of people in the capital district (Stepanakert and Shushi) will prove to be an economic and military liability. This concentration of people and economic activity increases the vulnerability of Artsakh to attack. It also unfairly skews the allocation of resources to the core area at the expense of rural development. If the next 20 years experience the same slow, but commendable, rate of development that we have witnessed during the first 20 years, it is likely that Artsakh will see a net loss of population. That is a politically dangerous situation to contemplate.

Artsakh is ours. We have a responsibility to ensure that Artsakh remains ours. This requires the adoption of a development program that reflects this reality. Azerbaijan and Turkey will surely object and use every means at their disposal to condemn any initiative that increases Artsakh viability. We cannot allow our efforts to be circumscribed by either Baku’s or Ankara’s specious claims or threats of military action. Neither should the expected diplomatic pressure from countries more intent on their geostrategic interests than on justice for Armenia and Artsakh keep us from our task.

The first step is to place the right of the Karabagh Armenians to declare their independence on a firm legal foundation. This is an objective I have consistently advocated. It is up to the relevant experts, which would be convened by Stepanakert and supported by the ARF, and other political parties (this is a task that Yerevan should assume) to determine whether the declaration by the Karabagh Armenians was governed by the former Soviet constitution; the principle of self-determination; or the principle of remedial secession. Once the legal basis is determined, the present principles governing the negotiations become obsolete. It should be noted that these principles, however nuanced they may have been over time, have never addressed the possibility of de jure independence for Artsakh.

We should not lose sight of the fact that Armenia and Karabagh have some leverage based on their geostrategic location that more than overcomes its small combined area. Should Artsakh’s independence fail in any respect (meaning, the area under the present jurisdiction of Stepanakert is not granted sovereignty), we would see a profound effect on every country bordering the South Caucasus as well as those beyond, such as the United States and Western Europe.

As Armenia’s ally and supposed protector, Russia will have been shown to be a paper tiger. Its influence in the South Caucasus will have suffered irreparable harm. Its restive Islamic provinces on the north slope of the Caucasus might view this as an opportunity to renew or intensify their struggle for independence. The 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics beginning in February 2014 has already been targeted by the Chechen rebel leader Doku Umarov. Turkey, the principal beneficiary should Artsakh fail, would be free to expand its economic and political influence in the South Caucasus across the Caspian Sea to compete with Russia (and Iran) in Central Asia. Iran could face possible ethnic issues in its northwest region adjacent to Turkey and Azerbaijan and in the northeast along the border with Turkmenistan. Presently, however, the large Azeri minority in Iran has achieved an acceptable accommodation with Tehran. As Turkey’s principal competitor in the greater Middle Eastern region, any expansion of Ankara’s influence, whether in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, or the South Caucasus, would be a direct threat to Iran’s interests within the region. As for Armenia, its influence within the South Caucasus would be severely diminished permanently. The Armenians of Javakheti and the crypto-Armenians of Turkey could well end up as collateral casualties.

Finally, the last ripple from what would be the catastrophic loss of Artsakh would be the needless sacrifice of our 7,000 azatamartiks and the credibility of Hai Tahd. If Artsakh should fail, is it realistic to believe that Armenians will continue to embrace Hai Tahd as representing a set of achievable objectives?

We cannot allow the next 20 years to pass without a comprehensive policy to increase Artsakh’s population and accelerate the improvement of its social and economic infrastructure. Artsakh is not only the key to Hai Tahd, but the key to Armenia’s future. It is the future frontier that could attract our recent out-migrants to return home to a land of opportunity as well as appealing to those long in the diaspora who have a desire to return to their mayreni yergir.

How the Minsk Group or the Congressional Armenian Caucus would respond to such an aggressive policy to develop Artsakh is an issue that has to be anticipated and properly addressed. This is why a strong legal, moral, and historic case must be prepared to support Artsakh’s declaration of independence. As for Baku, it has very few viable options to exercise. It could finally come to terms with reality and accept Artsakh as its neighbor. Should that be more than Aliyev can accept, then his remaining option is to depend on the military he has so often threatened to use. Unfortunately, even Aliyev must realize that resorting to military action faces many unknowns, ranging from the loyalty and effectiveness of his ground troops in actual combat situations; the support of the civilian population for a renewal of hostilities; and the ability of his military to breech Artsakh’s defenses within the first 72 hours. This latter objective is almost a requirement, as there would be an immediate call from a host of concerned nations for a cease fire.

The Caucasus is an historic powder keg. A second conflict could be the fuse that ignites the entire region. Neither Russia, Iran, Turkey, the United States, or Western Europe or the various corporate interests want—or could—benefit from either an expanded or protracted conflict. The unintended consequences would be akin to an unfortunate opening of a Pandora’s box.

Any danger we may encounter from pursuing an aggressive development policy for Artsakh is significantly less than the danger we face by relying on others to protect our vital national interests.

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Michael Mensoian

Michael Mensoian, J.D./Ph.D, is professor emeritus in Middle East and political geography at the University of Massachusetts, Boston, and a retired major in the U.S. army. He writes regularly for the Armenian Weekly.

35 Comments

  1. Dear Mr. Mensoian, Of course I am in agreement with everything that you said and you surely did your homework very well. Very true what you said and I have known it all along that if Artsakh fails, alas not only the 7,000 men who befell will have been lost for nothing, but strategically today Artsakh is a vital requirement land for Armenia, as Syunik stands between the two brotherly lands and it is indeed a land that could be and would be filled with Diasporans such as the unfortunate case is in Syria or anywhere else in the world.

  2. This is a brilliant geostrategic analysis of potential change in the South Caucasus and the Greater Middle East Area with a good focus on Armenian/Artsakh interests. The missing piece of the jigsaw in all this, in my view, is Yerevan’s real and potential strength in acting as a sovereign subject of international law in order to defend Armenian interests. Have the negative developments of the past decade and more rendered Yerevan into a de facto vassal state? Or does the state and society still have the potential to develop into a truly democratic and powerful force to assert the true interests of the Armenian people at home and in international forums? (God bless Khrimian Hayrik!). To the extent that Yerevan will be able to curtail the rule of the oligarchs and strengthen the rule of law and democratic-national values, to that extent will we succeed in the areas outlined by Mensoian in the coming battles for development of Armenian interests and the establishment of a viable neighbourhood in the region. Armenia’s security and survival (of Armenian statehood and civilisation), no less, is at stake. Yerevan must wake up to the challenge and ‘sacrifice’ the interests of the oligarchs in the interests of Armenia’s survival and development. Otherwise we are almost back at 1915 once again!

    • Bagratuni, Unfortunately for a while now the oligarchal regime in Yerevan has been sheer disaster for the majority of the people in Armenia. The government should wake up and make amends, otherwise just like you said, we will be back at 1915 once again. As it is, whereas the population in 1991 was 3 Million, today there hardly remains 1.5 Million within the country. The younger generation are migrating from Armenia to Russia for their livelihood. It’s a very sad situation, and it looks as though no one seems to care.

  3. I read this commentary with great interest, however if every Diaspora community adopts 4-5 villages in Artsakh and accelerates the building of much needed infrastructure while participating in the resettlement programs, the future of our nation will be much better served.

  4. Well, a couple of things … It is against Geneva Convention and UN rule to “populate” town from which their inhabitants have been expelled by force. Second, does anyone really believe that Karabak is an independent entity, rather than the product of a ploy for Armenian territorial claims against Azerbaijan masquerading under the umbrella of the “self-determination” right? Does anyone really believe that Karabak would not immediately unite with Armenia?

    Even if you are right that Karabak belonged to you 200 years ago … What would US say, if in the near future Hispanics are the majority in Texas, and they vote to re-join Mexico? And if the US said no, would it be ok for Texas Hispanics to expel the others and kill thousands of them, and capture seven adjacent states as buffer? Would it sound ok to hear these “freedom fighters” discuss re-populating the area?

    Can you please explain to me how this situation is different from Karabak? And note, for argument’s sake, I am granting that it USED TO BE Armenian 200 years ago.

    In any case, I do hope that Armenia does recognize Karabak as independent. That would completely get rid of the ruse of “negotiation” and force Aliyev’s hand to do something, and the Minsk Group would have no cover-story to stop Azerbaijan. In fact, the fact that Armenian leadership has not done so is not because your leadership can control its emotions (see the recent Turkey claims), but because your Russian masters stop you. For them, doing this would make their job harder to pretend that there is a genuine peace process, whereby they preserve the status quo.

    On a related note, the conflict of interest between a diaspora and the home country is such a fertile ground for PhD studies, especially in the case of Armenians. It is cool for you to sit here in the US and be maximalistically idealistic about Armenia’s policy vis-à-vis Turkey, Azerbaijan … you don’t live there. If there is a war, you are not there. Of course, you will write to your senators, send $25 to ANCA, etc, but still … it is not the houses you have built that will come under enemy fire. So you egg the homeland on (not that it needs the egging). And I bet most of AW readers have never set foot near Karabak or even Armenia. And most of the diasporan ancestors had never set foot in Caucasus either, being mostly from the Turkish Middle East. And yet, you talk about repopulating areas where Azeris have lived AT LEAST for hundreds of years. That is how fascism works, I guess. It is all fine, in general. But coming from a people that have themselves suffered forced evictions, “repopulation” of their own former lands … it is ironic/hypocritical, isn’t it?

    • First of all, Armenians are not in the habit of populating towns by expelling others. On the contrary, they are reinforcing their towns and villages and have every right to do so. Any population move should be blamed on the war imposed on the indigenous Armenians by war-mongering leaders of the artificial Azerbaijani state unwilling to give up their illegal hold on the occupied Armenian territories.

      The ancient Armenian province of Artsakh, aka Karabakh, was never part of the independent Azerbaijani state, which itself never existed in history and was artificially created in 1918 by the genocidal Ottomans for their miserably failed Pan-Turkic adventurism. In 1921, the majority indigenous Armenian-populated region of Artsakh was declared autonomous and was illegally placed under administrative occupation of Azerbaijani SSR within the boundaries of the Soviet Union by the totalitarian Soviet rulers as part of their divide-and-rule policy.

      The illegal Azerbaijani administrative hold on Artsakh, after 70 years of occupation, came to an end with the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. Artsakh as an autonomous region, no longer bound by a non-existent Soviet Union and its proxy puppet Azerbaijan SSR, had every right to choose its future status and proclaim its independence. Whether the Armenian majority population of Artsakh decides to unite with Armenia or not is secondary and every Armenian, no matter where he comes from, has the right to live anywhere on the Armenian territories he wishes.

      If it is against the so-called “Geneva Convention and UN rule” to populate territories from which their inhabitants have been expelled by force, then let’s start by depopulating the occupied Western Armenian territories from their manufactured Turkish, Kurdish, Circassian and other imported Turkic inhabitants, open the Armenia-Turkish borders and let the descendants of the 1,500,000 murdered Armenians return home, be compensated for their loss and reunite with their brethren in Armenia across the border illegally closed and held by the genocidal Turkish government.

      The recognition of Artsakh by Armenia as independent is 20 years overdue. I do hope Armenia officially recognizes Artsakh as independent because that will legally free Armenia to give Artsakh full military support. Furthermore, the unification of Artsakh with Armenia, will by default extend and bring full Russian military support to the region based on the military alliance treaty recently signed between Russia and Armenia. This trilateral military alliance will sober up hallucinating and racist liar oil sheikh Aliyev overnight to stop robbing his impoverished people by playing with their emotions and manipulating them with wasteful and useless military spending in order to preoccupy them with fantasies to enable him to hang on to power.

      Lastly, there is no conflict of interest between Armenia and the Armenian Diaspora. The Armenian Diaspora has and will continue to unconditionally stand by and support Armenia and to defend it against its enemies because the enemies of Armenia are by default the enemies of the Armenian Diaspora since they are the reason why the Armenian Diaspora exists. The influx of Diaspora Armenians from all over the world, the Middle East in particular, to come to the aid of their fellow Armenians to liberate Artsakh from the enemy speaks volumes about the unity of Armenians regardless of where they live.

    • You are the ones who are hypocritical.

      You Azeris deny and justify the genocide of 1.5 million Armenians in “eastern Turkey” yet you try to convince the world of a SO-CALLED “genocide” in “Khojaly” (you say 600 were killed yet in the videos you took there aren’t even a dozen). And what about SUMGAIT that preceded the so-called Khojaly? How dare you lie like this to the world?

      You think Armenians in Artsakh are going to live under the rule of Azeri Turks who say that we deserved to be massacred in Turkey!? You think they are just going to sit there and wait to be massacred again?

      Hypocrite!!

  5. The below statement sums up everything.. true statement.. hence why we should pursue more aggressive tact and have our government to use their brains for once.

    Any danger we may encounter from pursuing an aggressive development policy for Artsakh is significantly less than the danger we face by relying on others to protect our vital national interests.

  6. I would like to make some comments to the following part of the article, which sounds as a very naive understanding of the current realities surrounding Armenia and Karabakh: “We should not lose sight of the fact that Armenia and Karabagh have some leverage based on their geostrategic location that more than overcomes its small combined area. Should Artsakh’s independence fail in any respect (meaning, the area under the present jurisdiction of Stepanakert is not granted sovereignty), we would see a profound effect on every country bordering the South Caucasus as well as those beyond, such as the United States and Western Europe.” I want to underline that neither Armenia nor Karabakh do have any leverage to influence anyhow on the policy of any country. Armenia and Karabakh don’t have any power to do this. The existence of Armenia and Karabakh is the existence of two entities under a very strong and cruel control of Russia. If Russia goes into any cooperation with Turkey this fake independence of Armenia and Karabakh will disappear. Neither Armenia nor Karabakh do have their own strong industry allowing to fight successfully against the enemies like Israel does. We need real independence, like Israel has. Only in this case we can say that both entities have some leverages to dictate our will.
    Dr. Yuriy S. Safarov, Ph. D. born in Karabakh, living in New York

  7. Yuri
    When you compare Armenia with Israel, I assume you mean the internal working, the management of the country and the way the citizens and the government treat each other in the two states. Otherwise, Israel too would not be Israel without America. Armenia has to rely on a power for its survival in the region and in the present circumstances Russia is the least risky one, though not quite reliable. But, it is the management of the country that matters. As long as the rule of the oligarchs is not eliminated in Armenia and the rule of law established, our future survival will be at real risk, let alone talking about real independence.

  8. Yuriy,

    Your Russian excuse is reminiscent of Germans who blamed the weather for defeats at Moscow and Stalingrad. Just as they refuse to credit the courage and skill of Soviet forces ( consisting in part of our grandfathers), you fail to credit the courage and skill of Armenians fighting for their language, homes and lives. Russians didn’t do the fighting, our brothers and sisters did. And when you and your mujahideen mercenaries climb up the hills, we’ll defeat (kill) you again.
    By the way, letting us all know of your Ph.D aspirations adds nothing to your tiresome argument. Do you call yourself Safarov in tribute to your proud murdering spiritual kin?

    • {“We need real independence, like Israel has.”}(yuriy safarov).
      {“And when you and your mujahideen mercenaries climb up the hills, we’ll defeat (kill) you again.”}(jda).
      .
      I am not sure who this guy Yuriy Safarov is: he uses the pronoun “we”, as in “we, Armenians”, but his post is really strange, as if written by an Azerbaijani. At first I thought he is Azerbaijani shill also, like JDA. Right now I am not sure what to make of it.
      .
      Maybe Mr. Yuriy Safarov, Ph.D. can clarify what he meant in his original post.
      And I would also appreciate knowing what his Ph.D. is in: his comparison of Israel and Armenia indicates some gaps in his geopolitical understanding of Israel, Diaspora Jews, Armenia, Diaspora Armenians, etc.

  9. Good analysis.

    Is it possible that one reason Yerevan does not recognize Artsakh officially is because of massive arms that poor into Artsakh and does not show up on paperwork?

    Artsakh s Armenian and we hold the land….doesn’t really matter what the world may say as to its sovereignty.

  10. Recently revealed US State Department cables have clearly stated that their view of what is wrong with Armenia’s economic viable growth IS THE CURRENT OLIGARCH BRIBERY TYPE SYSTEM ITSELF..

    Also i have always said that all diaspora Armenian youth be allowed to join the Armenian military. Its every ones duty and many would stay and hopefully positively influence the current thug politics that now only serves the few.

  11. This is a brilliant analysis for the subject. Thank you for writing this awesome article. I’ll be sure to pass it along.

  12. Sorry, but I have to say that this article is nothing more than complacency. And let,s call a spade spade. There is no any independent “Artsakh”. The idea begun with the ideas of “Miatsum” which not means independence. Karabagh, as Samachablo, Abkhazia and Transdnestria was a project of Kremlin to stay in former Soviet territories and protect Russian Federation. Do you really believe that if tomorrow Azerbaijan will agree to give Karabagh to Armenia, Russia allow you to do this. It is fact, that at present Armenia continues to exist only as external region of Russia. And if tomorrow Armenia stop to be of interest to Russia, it will collapse even without any outer influence. Unlike to other 3 PostSoviet conflict, in Upper Karabagh issue occupier is a country – Armenia. I mean, dont you realize that Armenia became not subject, but object of the conflict? And even in Armenia people know that your interests do not coincide with the interests of Russia in the long term. This country do not give any economical and, as it obvious, political dividends to its master. Therefore, instead of thinking of territorial claims against its neighbors and the independence of Karabakh, Armenia should think about how to keep it,s elusing sovereignty. Best regards!

    • Keep up the same old nonsense. that will get you turkish criminals real far. Remember your next aggression, Armenians will simply finish should have completed last time.

  13. The Azeris started a war over Karabagh that they lost, fair and square, right? Add to that the horrific ethnic cleansing process they pursued to rid Azerbaijan of 300,000+ Armenians and you can see very clearly why Karabagh needs to be re-united with Armenia immediately. It was originally part of Armenia, both ancient and modern, but Stalin gifted it to the Azeris, illegally, along with Nakhichevan. That time is gone and Armenia owns Karabagh once again, once and for all. Get used to it.

  14. There is too much self-congratulation among Armenians and a failure to realize Armenia’s vulnerabilities. Yuri Safarov has alerted us to over dependence on another power (Russia). Traditionally Armenians have been incapable of taking action on their own initiative, lacking faith in themselves, almost always depending on a foreign power – Russia, Great Britain, France, US, even Mustafa Kemal (in 1921 after the anticommunist uprising). Unless Armenia and the Armenian diaspora work to become more self sufficient the risks will remain

  15. How true!Josseph,I have been advocating that for ages…but there is no response.All seem to be absorbed in an otherwise insignificant *another safarov(.is he is he not an Azeri…
    WE simply do not care if we are unorganzied and fragmented….
    That’s what gives sxtamina to such safarovs///

  16. Landau
    Your views and judgment of the capabilities of Artsakh and Armenia and their relationship with Russia is so biased and ridiculous that they don’t warrant a response.
    Joseph
    “Armenians have been incapable of taking action on their own initiative, lacking faith in themselves …”? Are you drunk or joking? You seem to be quite anaware of the very recent history of Artsakh and how it freed itself from Axeri rule. Was it the Russians who were fighting to free Artsakh? True, they were supplying weapons, and not only to Armenians, but it was the Armenians of Artsakh, assisted by Armenia and Diaspora, who bore the brunt of a victorious battle.
    Secondly, no one denies the vulnerabilities of Armenia and Artshak. Exactly for those vulnerabilites Armenia has to rely on Russia, just as Israel has to rely on U.S. And there is nothing fatally wrong with that. The only difference is that because of the rule of law in Israel, the country attracts Jews from all over the world, whereas in Armenia, because of the rule of conscienceless oligarchs people leave their land. But even if Armenia became a real democracy, it would still have to have Russia on its side because of its strategic vulnerabilities, albeit with much less dependence.

  17. If there ever is a war between Turkey and armenia, it will be started by the diaspora armenians and fought by the armenians in armenia, when, in their warm bedrooms, the diaspora watch their armenians killed. I would very much like to see a war between Turkey and armenia for the problem to be solved once and for all…
    As we say in Turkish “You guys need some scratching for your itching!”

    • “the diaspora watch their armenians killed”

      Typical genocidal turkish threat

      “I would very much like to see a war between Turkey and armenia for the problem to be solved once and for all”

      Of course you would, we all know you want to finish what you started in 1894

  18. {“ I would very much like to see a war between Turkey and Armenia”} says Ahmet.
    .
    Neither Armenians in Armenia nor Armenians in Diaspora will start a war with turkey or turks, or anybody else. Unlike you and your likeminded warmongering nomads – the progeny of nomadic, savage, warmongering Asiatic invaders, who “very much like to see a war” – Armenians are not in the habit of starting wars.
    .
    The most recent war between Armenians and turkic invaders was started by AxeriTatarturks, as is the turkic tradition.
    It is true that several thousands Armenians were killed.
    But about 30,000-35,000 turkic invaders and their buddies were also KIA. The kill ratio was about 5-to-1, in Armenians’ favour.
    And a large number of the killed invaders were chalked up by Diaspora Armenians who had left their warm bedrooms and gone to Artsakh to kill turkic invaders.
    Sadly, far too many Armenians were killed: it is a shame. Our people are too valuable.
    But RoA and NKR are working on technologies and methods to improve the ratio: the goal is around 10-to-1, or better.
    .
    As to your dreams of finishing off Armenia: last time turkey had that dream, in 1993, they massed an invasion force at the border of RoA.
    Moscow faxed 1945 pictures of Hiroshima and Nagasaki to PM Ciller: shortly after that, the turks loaded up their trucks and went back to Ankara.
    That was in 1993, when Russian leadership was in turmoil with all sorts of Anti-Russian elements involved.
    Today, Russian patriots are firmly in charge.
    Russia is gradually reverting to its traditional role. (you know what that is, don’t you turk ?)
    I am sure the same Russia that crushed neocon agent Saakashvili’s Georgia for attempting to bring in NATO and is confronting turkey and NATO in distant Syria, is going to allow turks to set up shop in Armenia.
    .
    And in the near future, RoA will have a border with independent Kurdistan, not turkey.
    So if you are going to start something, Ahmet, do it soon. And bring all your friends: it doesn’t matter to a thermonuclear bomb whether it has to vaporize 10,000 invaders or 100,000: it gets paid the same.

  19. “Armenians have been incapable of taking action on their own initiative, lacking faith in themselves …”? Are you drunk or joking?
    “You seem to be quite anaware of the very recent history of Artsakh and how it freed itself from Axeri rule. Was it the Russians who were fighting to free Artsakh? True, they were supplying weapons, and not only to Armenians, but it was the Armenians of Artsakh, assisted by Armenia and Diaspora, who bore the brunt of a victorious battle.”
    Dear Arshag
    A recent Armenian TV program estimated that those who bore the brunt of the war were 20-30,000 dedicated people in Karabakh. The diaspora was not even mentioned. I don’t know how many went to fight from the diaspora but their numbers are probably no more than a few dozen. Of course diaspora political parties like to exaggerate in order to gain political capital. Victory was by no means certain and the Armenian side suffered huge losses. Complacency is extremely dangerous.
    In history, Armenians relied 100% on France and then lost Cilicia. After that Armenians relied 100% on the Wilson boundaries and became relaxed and complacent. When Mustafa Kemal’s army entered Armenian territory some Armenian generals were found to be asleep

  20. Ahmet: “If there ever is a war between Turkey and armenia, it will be started by the diaspora armenians”
    Times are changing. I don’t believe there will be a war between Armenia and Turkey. And probably not between Armenia/Azerbaijan or Karabakh/Azerbaijan. All the countries in the region Turkey-Armenia-Karabakh-Azerbaijan-Georgia-Abkhazia-Russia-Iran see benefit in coming together. This is how it will be in the future. Most (95% or more ) Armenians and Turks want better relations!

    • I’m not sure about 95% (who ran the poll?) of the Armenians and Turks who want better relations at the times when Armenophobia in Turkey is so widespread and righteous indignation of Armenians so strong. “Better relations” do not presuppose rapprochement without an apology and reparations on the part of genocidal Turkish state. I don’t imagine how Armenians can build “better relations” with the Turks knowing that most of them remain unremourseful and denialist for their ugly crime.

  21. Ahmet
    You may one day get your chance, that is, if your country stays intact that long. But, even if it does stay so and does not disintegrate, no one can anticipate what the outcome would be. It may just as well turn out to be a lesson for you never to forget, just as it was for your bloody-nosed Axeri kins.

  22. In the meantime start thinking of some tangible solutions to the real problem of Armenian emigration. People are pouring out of the country in droves, thanks to the self-destructive policies of successive “governments” (a realistic descriptive for them would be “a bunch of criminals”). For as long as the crooks at the top are not done away with, there is no hope for Armenia. Don’t neglect to include the religious hierarchy among the undesirables also. Failing that, only a miracle can prevent Armenia from disappearing into the pages of history.

  23. Xunshap’ha
    Good observation. At this juncture the civil society movements, (spontaneous) actions by grass-roots, such as the one protesting the fare raises, should be encouraged and strengthened. Political parties and opposition forces too should come to their senses. They should stop persuing being self-centered and bickering endlessly among each other. Without a united front they cannot beat the well organised governing party of thugs. Otherwise, they too will ingloriously disappear in the history pages.

  24. Aarshag, To start with I am not a Turk. But if Turkey was that unstable, it would not have lasted this long…90 years to be exact. It is not prudent to sit in LA and daydream, when Armenia is being continuously haemorrhaged of its citizens so much so that UNDP reports state that due to this constant haemorrhaging Armenia would not be able to develop sustainably as a nation building but to depend on handouts from the diaspora for survival. Almost all of its infrastructure is now owned by the Russians. There is near riot on the streets of Yerevan when public transport goes up by 10 cents!. when Armenian women being victims of human trafficking and being sold in the streets of Istanbul and Dubai just to eke out a miserable living.

    I hope these things should puncture your vanity.

  25. Mir Ali bey,
    The fact that Turkey has lasted 90 years is no guarantee that it wil do so for another such period. Turkey is now engaged in dangerous regional games, which have rendered its policy of so-called ‘zero problems with nieghbours’ in ‘zero neighbours without problems’ and which may at the end threaten its territorial integrity. We do not deny that there are problems in the internal management in Armenia, but the peaceful protests against the fares increase, which you so brashly misrepresent as ‘riot’, is rather a sign of the alertness of our civil society, which by the way gained some success. Compare it with similar protests of Turkish citizens in the Gezi park and how it brutally was suppressed under arrogant Erdogan’s rule. Human trafficking is not unique to Armenia. You are talking as if there are no Turkish prostitutes in the world! Where there is poverty, women may as well offer their body for survival and for the economic problemms in Armenia, the blocakde by Turkey, an act of war, is just as well to blame. Besides, on poverty and human rights account Turkey’s record is much worse. Turkey has the greatest number of jailed journalist.
    That’s how Turkey has stayed “stable”.

  26. you may or may not be a Turk, but your Anti-Armenian hatred oozes from every word of your post, alleged non-Turk Mir Ali.
    .
    {“.. There is near riot on the streets of Yerevan when public transport goes up by 10 cents!.”}.
    .
    What near riots ?
    Give me one link to anything close to a ‘riot’ in Yerevan associated with the fare increase.
    There were peaceful protests. Orderly civic action. Young people organized various clever ways to counter the rate increase: private cars would stop at bus-stops and pick up passengers for free.
    At the max, there were about 100 or so peaceful protesters outside city hall, which quickly dwindled into a dozen, then to about 3 or 4 young people with nothing better to do than sit in their expensive Toyota 4-Runner SUV outside city hall and make speeches.
    And your Anti-Armenian bias is so strong that you have lost the ability to comprehend elementary concepts like comparative prices, actual local cost-of-living, etc.
    The price of public transport did not go up by “10 cents!” (I like the exclamation mark), because residents of Yerevan do not get paid in US dollars and residents of Yerevan do not get the wages that are paid in US.
    You cannot just convert from dollars to local currency, and arrive at a fake cost increase: didn’t they teach you that in the Denialist school you attended, nomad ?
    The price went up 50% at once: that level of a jump for a widely used commodity will cause an economic shock in any society.
    If the gasoline price went up from $4@gallon to $6 in US, there would be riots in the streets for sure.
    Yerevan municipality realized their stupid mistake, and rescinded the increase. Democracy at work.
    .
    You know where there were riots, nomad ? In your rat infested Istanbul, where 5 people were killed (!) by your savage cops in riot gear; 3,000 arrested; 8,000 injured.
    Now, that is riot.
    .
    Prostitution
    .
    Sex trafficking source countries in Turkey: {Source countries for identified victims of trafficking in 2008 included Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Armenia, Moldova, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Georgia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, Romania, Kazakhstan, Belarus, Bulgaria, Indonesia, Greece.}.[Global Human Smuggling: Comparative Perspectives edited by David Kyle, Rey Koslowski]
    Do you see countries other than Armenia there, non-Turk Mir Ali ?
    Or your Denialist glasses filter out every other country but Armenia.
    .
    You’ll like this one non-Turk:
    [Azerbaijani Prostitutes Flock to Turkey]
    http://iwpr.net/report-news/azerbaijani-prostitutes-flock-turkey
    .
    Oh, about sexual mores in Turkey:
    Here are a couple of examples of what medieval mentality dominates there:
    .
    [One in every four marriages in Turkey involves child bride]
    http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/one-in-every-four-marriages-in-turkey-involves-child-bride-ngo.aspx?pageID=238&nID=46232&NewsCatID=339
    .
    [Child rape case ends with unwelcome closure and no further appeal]
    http://www.todayszaman.com/news-263869-child-rape-case-ends-with-unwelcome-closure-and-no-further-appeal.html
    {Turkey’s top prosecutor’s office has failed to appeal a high court decision that upheld a lower court ruling to reduce the jail sentence terms handed to 26 men who raped and sexually molested a 13-year-old over the course of seven months,…}{The local court had justified its decision based on the victim’s alleged “consent” during sexual intercourse,….}
    I guess you guys need more adult, consenting prostitutes, so that you guys don’t resort to raping 13-year-old children, who supposedly gave ‘consent’.
    And in case you think this is unusual: tens of thousands of Christian children, most of them Armenian, were abducted, raped, and forcibly converted by Turks during the AG.
    Typical savage nomadic behaviour.
    .
    One more for the road, non-Turk:
    [’10-year-old girls can marry,’ says Saudi grand mufti]
    http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/10-year-old-girls-can-marry-says-saudi-grand-mufti-.aspx?pageID=238&nID=19321&NewsCatID=393
    .
    About the ‘handouts’.
    .
    We Armenians rather live on alleged ‘handouts’, than steal wealth created by others, after having murdered the owners, like is the Turkish ancestral tradition.
    And the so-called ‘handouts’ by the Armenian Diaspora are investments in infrastructure in both RoA and NKR.
    Have you seen before and after pictures of Artsakh, non-Turk ? After your savage nomadic cousins completely destroyed it with indiscriminate GRAD bombardment, it has been completely rebuilt.
    In large measure with Armenian Diaspora investments.
    We take care of our own.
    .
    And what are about 5 million Turks doing in Christian Europe, nomad ?
    Are they living the high life there as lawyers, doctors, engineers, etc ? Suuure they are: most are scratching out a living in ethnic ghettos, doing menial work, cleaning toilets, or surviving on welfare handouts (!) provided by their generous Christian hosts.
    .
    Next time you Anti-Armenian Turks or non-Turks come here and throw mud at Armenians, get ready to receive a bucketful in return: we have more dirt on you nomads then you can ever dig up on us.

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