Wednesday, June 18, 2008
Armenia seeks genocide recognition to normalize relations with Turkey
Armenia’s Ambassador to the UK Vahe Gabrielyan addressed a letter to the editor of The Economist.
The letter says,
“The great bulk of specialists in the time and region who refuse to acknowledge the Armenian genocide, the peak of which was in 1915, are in fact a handful of people of which almost all names he has enumerated. Among those who call the things by their names are the respected International Association of Genocide Scholars (1997 and 2005), 126 scholars of Holocaust (2001), the Nobel Prize laureate Elie Wiesel and numerous others.
It is erroneous to believe that the Armenians in the diaspora- primarily a consequence of the genocide- are the only ones who pursue international recognition. The Republic of Armenia aims at its recognition, and in the first place by Turkey, not only because it is our moral responsibility, but also for the very sake of normalization of relations and reasons of security. Nevertheless, the Armenian Government does not demand that the recognition be a precondition for opening the border and establishing bilateral ties.
It is true that a considerable number of Armenians have left the country, partially because of the ground communications blockade imposed by Turkey. However, “precipitous decline in population” does not reflect the precise picture: there are now more Armenians coming into the country than leaving it. And the GDP growth has been steadily two-digit over the recent 6 years, without any oil or gas.
It is also true that Armenian businessmen would benefit from open borders and cooperation, as would their Turkish counterparts benefit. However, it would be hard for them to do that at the expense of history: almost every family in Armenia has some kin who were killed in or banished from Western Armenia. Therefore, we believe the border should be opened and trade should start while problems can be settled in a following intergovernmental and public discourse.
As your readers will certainly know well, today in most places debating the 1915 Genocide the question is no more whether it happened – there is ample evidence – it is rather how much the recognition affects their relations with Turkey, a convenient ally of the West in various anti- or pro- campaigns in time and space.”