I might as well, judging from the absence of comments left after I posed some vital questions to the readership of this blog in my previous post, address them in a subjective voice since, after all, this is a blog and not a newspaper.
Turkey should confess to committing genocide against the Armenian people by year’s end. It’s absurd to continue denying it, especially when major European and South American nation-states have already done so, thereby putting Turkey in an awkward, dare I say ridiculous position. Until Turkey admits to the terror and inflicted plague committed in its previous incarnation, I don’t see any point in having an opened Turkish-Armenian border. The economy in Armenia is shrinking because of various factors due to decreased exports as well as a decline in cash transfers into the country from Armenians living abroad. Thus there is a purchasing slowdown because of uncertainty and consumers are cutting corners in order to wisely prepare for the worst-case scenario, which is the situation arguably all around the globe. The economy is not worsening because of a closed border with Turkey.
Although hundreds of millions of dollars will be pumped into the country from Russian and European powers this year, there’s no telling where exactly that money will go, and how much will end up in the pockets of selfish, greedy government officials—let’s face it. Some of it will supposedly go to infrastructure and road projects. But judging by the way they pave roads here, never mind the assemblage of water networks, I don’t expect quality being put into the work, and I doubt anyone does. There doesn’t seem to be accountability for the way funds are spent in Armenia. But I digress.
It’s nice that the Turks are no longer stipulating that a solution to the Karabagh problem be on the table for diplomatic talks or even an opened border, since it’s none of their business anyway and never was to begin with. Turkey has enough problems to deal with in terms of divvying up land to various minorities that resided at one point or another in its eastern regions. Armenians obviously lay claim to many of those lands and they must be returned to Armenian governance. Exactly which ones can be debated between the Armenian and Turkish authorities—that’s ultimately their decision, whether Armenians in the diaspora understand this or not. And considering that there is basically only one active politician in Armenian politics from the diaspora and a former foreign minister at that, namely Raffi K. Hovannisian, the diasporan voice will not be represented in such talks, nor should it be since they aren’t publically speaking about land transfers at all. Naturally Armenia must have secure access to the Black Sea once and for all and that area of land leading to it must fall under the domain of the Armenian republic. Like I just pointed out, no Armenian organization political or otherwise is discussing what that will entail geographically speaking; however, there’s one think-tank in cyberspace trying to stir up thought called Regional Kinetics.
The Armenian authorities are being very hypocritical, even foolish, in making a deal to export electricity to Turkey so soon, long before any details about diplomatic ties are set in stone. By doing so Armenia is putting itself at risk of becoming overly dependent on the Turkish demand for survival. As I have mentioned, the Armenian marketplace is already flooded with Turkish goods purchased in one-sided trading. Making money off of Turkey by selling kilowatts should not come at the expense of having a continual closed border, no secure, dependable and direct access to the Black Sea, no recognition of horrors committed in the past, and no agreements to reinstate at least a sliver of the expansive Western Armenian territories as a gesture in good faith. Personally it means nothing that the Turkish president came to Armenia last year to watch a soccer game and say hi. Turkey has yet to prove that it can be trusted by the Armenian nation, regardless of how many times its politicians and scholars grin and shake hands. Read history to understand how the Armenians have been cheated and tormented by the Turks in the past. They need to fess up to their wrongdoings. Armenians are still being manipulated by the Turks, that’s obvious to me at least.
I just read an excellent article written by Hovannisian that was published on Hetq Online on March 24, in which he essentially challenges Turkey to face up to its past as well as its present. Here are some excerpts:
Turkey and Armenia: These sovereign neighbors have never, in all of history, entered into a bilateral agreement with each other. Whether diplomatic, economic, political, territorial, or security-specific, no facet of their relationship, or the actual absence thereof, is regulated by a contract freely and fairly entered into between the two republics. It’s about time. Hence, the process of official contacts and reciprocal visits that unraveled in the wake of a Turkey-Armenia soccer match in September 2008 should mind this gap and structure the discourse not to run away from the divides emanating from the past, but to bridge them through the immediate establishment of diplomatic relations without the positing or posturing of preconditions, the lifting of Turkey’s unlawful border blockade, and a comprehensive discussion and negotiated resolution of all outstanding matters based on an acceptance of history and the commitment to a future guaranteed against it recurrence. Nor should the fact of dialogue, as facially laudable as it is, be pitched in an insincere justification to deter third-party parliaments, and particularly the US Congress, from adopting decisions or resolutions that simply seek to reaffirm the historical record. Such comportment, far from the statesmanship many expect, would contradict the aim and spirit of any rapprochement.
The past as present: The current Armenian state covers a mere fraction of the vast expanse of the great historical plateau upon which the Armenians lived from the depths of BC until the surgical disgorgement of homeland and humanity that was 1915. Having managed for seventy years as the smallest of the republics of the USSR, Soviet Armenia was the sole remnant component of the patrimony in which the Armenians were permitted by the Soviet-Turkish accords of 1921– the Armenian equivalents of Molotov-Ribbentrop– to maintain a collective existence under the Kremlin’s jurisdiction. Even such obviously Armenian homesteads as Mountainous Karabagh and Nakhichevan were severed by Bolshevik-Kemalist complicity and placed, in exercise of Stalin’s divide-and-conquer facility, under the suzerainty of Soviet Azerbaijan. Accordingly, as improbable as it seems in view of its ethnic kinship with Azerbaijan, modern-day Turkey also carries the charge to discard outdated and pursue corrective policies in the Caucasus. This high duty applies not only to a qualitatively improved and cleansed rapport with the Republic of Armenia, but also in respect of new realities in the region.
I don’t believe that anyone could have made these points any clearer and as concise.