Yerevan awaiting Erdogan’s reply to invitation to attend 2015 Genocide commemorations

Yerevan awaiting Erdogan’s reply to invitation to attend 2015 Genocide commemorations –

Armenianow – Turkey is in dispute with itself: it should reconcile with its own past to be able to build its future. This was the main message of the article by Armenia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Edward Nalbandian published in the French newspaper Le Figaro late last week. 

On August 28, Nalbandian attended the inauguration of newly elected Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and handed him President Serzh Sargsyan’s invitation to visit the commemorative events which will take place on the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide in Yerevan on April 24, 2014. The “commemoration year” has already begun, and it promises to be a challenge for Turkey. 

Greece’s parliament is going to consider a bill criminalizing the denial of genocides, including the Genocide of Armenians. Member of the National Assembly of France Valerie Boyer has also prepared a new bill on Armenian Genocide criminalization, and it, according to experts, has a chance of being passed this year.

French President Francois Hollande has already announced that he will arrive in Yerevan on April 24. Pope Francis will also be with Armenia on this day. Other world leaders have not yet responded to Sargsyan’s invitation. Apparently, they are waiting for Erdogan’s reply, because if the Turkish president declines the invitation, it would mean that Turkey continues its policy of denial. And the visit to Yerevan by each of the world leaders will be evidence of an open confrontation with Turkey. 

“The president of Armenia has invited the Turkish president to visit Armenia on April 24, 2015, on the occasion of the commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide. We hope it will not be a missed opportunity and Turkey’s president will be in Yerevan on that day,” Nalbandian wrote in his article. He also reminded that by speaking about “common pain” and “just memory”, the new prime minister of Turkey Ahmet Davutoglu emphasizes that “the main goal of Erdogan’s statement is prevention of worldwide efforts of the Genocide recognition.” 

On April 23, Erdogan issued a first-of-its-kind message on the “Armenian Issue” with words of condolences addressed not to Armenians alone, but to all victims of the events during World War I.

The Armenian issue is part of the policy of Western countries to curb Turkey. Political analyst Igor Muradyan believes that the United States and European countries, along with Iran and a number of Arab countries, actively stop attempts of Turkey to expand to Central Asia, the Middle East and the Caucasus. And the Armenian issue is used as one of the main weapons 
in this police of containment. 

There is also another issue – the events in the Middle East could lead to the division of Iraq, Syria, and the creation of a Kurdish state. If events develop this way, one would be able to talk about the termination of the Treaty of Lausanne that determined the new borders across the region after the defeat of the Ottoman Empire in the First World War. It was because of the collapse of the Ottoman Empire that Armenian lands were divided between Turkey and Russia. 

The revocation of the Treaty of Lausanne may open up enormous chances for Armenia to restore historical justice. However, the assessment of Armenian diplomacy in this matter is not entirely positive – analysts believe that Armenian diplomats should more firmly defend the country’s interests. For example, some took note that Nalbandian’s article has no mention of compensation and claims of Armenians. Although in one of his recent interviews Nalbandian for the first time declared about the inevitability of reparations.

In Turkey they are trying by all means to resist these processes, but at the same time they understand the inevitability of recognition of the property rights of Armenians. It is hardly a coincidence that there are reports in the Turkish press that Erdogan is building a new presidential palace and intends to leave Cankaya Palace. For nearly 100 years Turkish presidents have used Chankaya Palace as their official residence. The building was originally the Kasabian Estate and belonged to an Armenian named Ohannes Kasabian, an escapee of the Armenian Genocide. 

In his article Nalbandian offers ratification of the 2009 Zurich protocols, normalization of Armenian-Turkish relations and opening of the borders as steps towards reconciliation. However, Turkey continues to push for a solution to the Karabakh conflict in favor of its regional cousin Azerbaijan as a precondition for normalization of relations with Armenia. While in Baku last week, Erdogan stated that the Turkish-Armenian relations would not be settled until the Karabakh conflict was resolved.

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