On being an Armenian-American in the Spring: Performing Identity through Genocide Recognition

April 7, 2010 at 12:53 am (Armenian-ness, diaspora, genocide, Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

I started to question the relationship between my identity as an Armenian-American and the campaign for genocide recognition last spring.  At the time, I was working with the Armenian Student Association at the University of Chicago on an event to commemorate the genocide.  I was asking myself and my fellow students: how do we, how can we commemorate the genocide?

Armenian genocide remembrance day is on April 24th, but the day is loaded with so much more than just memory.  This spring, as April 24th rounds the bend, I can outline pattern of emotion and action:

– Pre-April 24th speculation of what might happen commences after the holidays in diasporan presses, Armenian political and cultural circuits, and, in part by osmosis, the American media machine.

– There are campaign promises to the Armenian-American community be upheld or broken.  There are petitions, letters to the editor, diligent follow ups, and a huge public relations push by both the Armenian and Turkish lobbies.

– Suspense builds.  Will the committee/house/senate acknowledge the genocide?  Will my senator/president stand up for the truth?

– There is the volatile situation of the year, be it the war in Iraq, the “road map” between Armenia and Turkey, or, as is the case this year, the war in Iraq and now the delicate protocol approval process.  There is always something to be lost for American-Turkish diplomatic relations if the US recognizes the genocide – an ambassador, at the very least.

– What begins as a media simmer turns into a full boil as the big dogs make their statements by April: Christopher Hitchens, Robert Fisk, John Evans, Orhan Pamuk – non-Armenians brought into the studio or quoted in articles to balance arguments from the deep state Turkish side of the story.  That the Armenian ‘side’ is always countered with the official Turkish line adds insult to injury.

– April is the one month of the year when Armenians and their interests can be assured press coverage.  As a result, it is also the time of year when Armenians are most often referred to as a monolithic entity.  Whether we are referred to as Armenians or as ‘the’ diaspora, we are primarily portrayed in the collective, with identical interests.  Because April 24th is also the main push for genocide recognition, that collective identity, broadcasted annually, is pro-genocide recognition.

– By April 23rd, the Armenian community in America awaits the decision of its government in a dither built up from years of frustration paired with intense media coverage and, of course, the pain of commemorating another anniversary of the event that created their existence in dispersion.

– The president’s annual commemoration address creates a media event all on its own: how he phrases it is always a subject of speculation, anticipation, and, usually, disappointment.

– Ultimately, whatever is uttered on the 24th by the president or our community leaders is never sufficient to commemorate the deaths of our ancestors and, yet, year after year we go through this hellish roller coaster of pain, denial, and mourning.

Whether or not one is actively involved in the campaign for genocide recognition – by virtue of being Armenian in the United States one is subsumed into the ephemeral monolithic Armenian identity that hits the streets every April.  A combination of guaranteed, pre-April 24th media coverage and the intense efforts of diasporan political and cultural organizations creates the outline of an Armenian identity that is pro-genocide recognition.  This outline is fleshed-out by Armenian-Americans whose Armenian-ness is just one of multiple identities they wear at any one time.  The pattern of emotion and action I describe above allows ethnic, but not necessarily active, Armenians to perform their Armenian-ness through pre-organized and publicized channels.  Turkey’s utter denial of the genocide and opportunities for the United States to recognize it prompt diasporan passion and action.  Writing to one’s senator, signing a petition, or nodding one’s head at the television or church event as someone stands up for genocide recognition become moments of performance.   Through performance, one enters something bigger, if only for a moment, a month, or a season.  Threatened by assimilation, diasporans turn to performance to receive the warm embrace of an identity that is strong, vibrant, and needs them.

I point this out not to condemn the organizers or the performers, but to suggest the role that such a performance plays into homogenizing Armenian-diasporan identity in America.  By filling in this shell of Armenian-American identity, one forgoes the more challenging task of uncovering one’s personal relationship with one’s cultural heritage.  It is much easier to perform an Armenian identity in the ways expected on pre-designated dates than to explore the nature of being Armenian in the United States on, say, a Thursday in August.

The challenge with respect to April 24th is to commemorate without the hate – that is – to commemorate the event that shredded the social fabric of our ancestors’ communities without  focusing on modern Turkey’s denial or Barack Obama’s word choice.  The genocide scattered Armenians throughout the world where they established roots and raised the bulk of today’s diaspora in dispersion.  Now mature, the diaspora owes it to our ancestors to fight for justice, but not at the expense of nurturing our own, personal identies as Armenians.

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Charlie Rose Drama Alert

December 10, 2009 at 10:36 pm (Armenian-Turkish relations, media) (, , , , , , , , , , )

Barely had my disappointment faded after the Armenia-lite Erdoğan talk when Charlie Rose stirred up some dark, rich diplomatic drama on December 8th – from an armchair, no less. 

Charlie Rose

The spicy soujuk of the interview is this bit:

CHARLIE ROSE:  …There is now an agreement between Turkey and Armenia.     What is necessary in order to — what more evidence does history need with respect to the genocide? 

RECEP TAYYIP ERDOGAN:  Let me first of all say that you say of
genocide, speak of genocide.  I would be sorry to hear you say that.  I can
say very clearly that we do not accept genocide.  This is completely a lie. 

I invite people to prove it.  I wrote a letter in 2005, and I said
that this is not up to politicians.  It is up to historians to look into
this.  We have opened our archives.  We have all the documents there.  And
in our archives more than one million documents were already looked at. 
Today it’s even more than that.  And we have opened the archives of the
military.

And I asked the Armenian side to open their archives and let third
countries have documents.  We made a call for that too so that people could
look into all of these documents and we could all decide and see what’s
going on.

But it’s — this is not about lobbying and going to politicians and
asking them to take certain decisions.  This is not really the way to go. 
Something like this is really not possible, and there is no truth to it. 

CHARLIE ROSE:  Did President Obama bring it up with you?  Has he
discussed it with you? 

RECEP TAYYIP ERDOGAN:  I have spoken with him, yes.  Of course, this
most recent normalization process between Turkey and Armenia was important. 
This was the context in which we discussed these issues.

And let me say to the normalization process.  It was Turkey that
initiated the normalization process.  It was Turkey that took upon itself
the risk. 

We believe in ourselves.  What we would like to see is for this
normalization process to go forward.  And in that it’s important that we go
into that and the Karavak (sic) issue between Azerbaijan and Armenia be resolved. 
There is an occupation.  We have to solve that problem.

There are three countries involved — United States, the Russian
Federation, and France.  The Minsk (ph) group, why hasn’t it solved the
problem in the last 20 years?  The problem has to be solved.

And once that problem is solved then that region will be a region of
peace.  Why?  Because once the problem between Azerbaijan and Armenia is
solved, that hatred is going to dissipate.  There is the decision of the
United Nations Security Council which will be implemented.  And the
problems between Turkey and Armenia will definitely be resolved.  I believe
in it. 

But at the moment, you have the U.S. Congress here, and the U.S.
Congress doesn’t have direct relations with our region.  We are there in
that region.  We have direct relations.  We have direct issues.  And it’s
the Turkish parliament who has to make a decision on this agreement between
Turkey and Armenia.  They have to approve it. 

And of course, the Turkish parliament too is very sensitive about this
issue.  And if the positive developments that we would like to see do not
come about, then I do not believe that our parliament will have a positive
result as a result of its deliberations.  We will have a secret ballot, but
I don’t believe that without any other positive developments there will be
a positive outcome.  (Entire transcript here.)

BAM – Turkey inserts NK as an official precondition – in English – on prime time TV.  I didn’t know that Sargsyan watched Charlie, but he surely caught wind of Erdoğan’s flaunting their agreement, and issued the following statement on Thursday, December 10th:

Serzh Sargsyan

I am stating again that the Republic of Armenia is prepared to properly honor its international commitments.  Namely, to ratify the Turkish-Armenian protocols.  But you will recall that I have also stated before that if Turkey drags out the ratification of the protocols, then Armenia will immediately make use of possibilities stemming from international law

And so I am declaring now that I have instructed relevant state bodies to prepare amendments to those of our laws that pertain to the signing, ratification and abrogation of international agreements.

Turkey’s objective is to link Turkish-Armenian relations with the Nagorno-Karabakh problem.  I must once again repeat that those attempts are a priori doomed to failure.

Obviously, the deadline for ratifying these protocols is approaching.  While there is some leeway (the protocols need to be ratified in a “timely manner”) the window of opportunity to normalize that has eluded Turkey and Armenia for nearly twenty years may slowly be closing.

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Erdoğan in the Chocolate City

December 10, 2009 at 1:00 am (Turkish Diplomacy, Washington DC) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

On December 8th, the SETA Foundation hosted a talk by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington DC.  Held in the hotel’s grand, yet garish, ballroom – the event was open to the public and provided simultaneous translation in both English and Turkish through wireless equipment.  (neat!)  About two hundred people attended, including myself.

Erdoğan was introduced by former Nebraska senator Chuck Hagel (R), who referred to Kurdistan during an anecdote about traveling in eastern Anatolia with Joe Biden.  I thought I heard a mild snicker ripple through the crowd when Hagel dropped the K-bomb, but maybe I am just overly sensitive to Turkey’s problematic relationship with their “mountain Turks.”

Recep Tayyip Erdoğan

Chuck Hagel

Erdoğan was a good speaker: frank and not afraid to give some meat along with the requisite political niceties.  He addressed many of Turkey’s current foreign policy issues, touching upon domestic issues (the economy, human rights, Kurds) only very lightly.    His remarks came off as slightly defensive; whether he was covering Turkey’s prolonged EU ascension process, his country’s relationship with Iran, or the Israel-Palestine conflict -Erdoğan was explaining, justifying, and/or defending his stance.  The PM mentioned something in defense of this defensiveness – to paraphrase his remarks very loosely: ‘Turkey has been a state in limbo for the past 50 years and it is still lingering in this limbo.  Turkey is improving, but Turkey is also patient.’

Treaty of Sèvres (click for larger image) Credit: Wikipedia.org

This is what I know as the “sèvres syndrome,” a term used to describe Turkey’s contemporary foreign policy paranoia because of the way the Ottoman Empire was butchered-up at the end of World War 2.  The “sèvres” of sèvres syndrome refers to the Treaty of Sèvres, which was one of many peace treaties drawn up during WW2 to give Ottoman land to the allies of the Triple Entente.  While never enacted, the treaty shows how much Ottoman land was up for grabs.  The resulting paranoia is evident in Turkey’s domestic and foreign policies today.

So when Erdoğan mentioned Turkey’s prolonged state of “limbo” – I thought of the “sèvres syndrome” and how Turkey is still fighting off the Ottoman Empire’s reputation as the “sick man of Europe.”   Erdoğan states that this limbo is fifty years-old, which covers the post-Ataturk & co. era of democracy building.  I think it is safe to say that this limbo dates back to the beginning of the Turkish Republic.  The Ottoman Empire is a tough specter to shake.

Erdoğan’s frankness did not carry over into his discussion of Armenian-Turkish rapprochement.  Firstly, this topic was not addressed during the talk proper – only during the short question and answer section that followed his presentation.  Secondly, he did not reveal any of his signature flair in response to the question, which was “How do you see the Armenian-Turkish protocol process proceeding?”  The PM has not shied away from critiquing the protocols.  In fact, despite being a member of the party that worked on the protocols with Armenia, Erdoğan was the first to start chipping away at them after they were signed.  Following the signing, Erdoğan voiced some common pre-conditions that have prevented normalization to date, namely, Nagorno-Karabagh.  Since the deadline for ratification is approaching, I thought the PM would have a forceful response to that question, but it was lack-luster.  He simple gave an overview of the ratification process (first signing, then commission, then parliament…) and said that progress between Armenia and Azerbaijan over NK would help.  The response short, civil, and totally predictable.

To date, I’ve attended talks by two high-ranking Turkish officials.  The other was Ali Babacan, who spoke at the University of Chicago in the fall of 2007.  If the two had a diplomat-off, Erdoğan would win – hands down.  His blend of staight-talk and suave disengagement from certain contentious issues explains why he is PM and why I wasn’t invited to the reception.

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Confronting Memory through Art in Turkey

November 2, 2009 at 7:22 pm (Armenian-Turkish rapprochement, Armenian-Turkish relations) (, , , , , , , , , , , )

This fall, an Istanbul art exhibit at the BM SUMA Art Center is breaking the silence over a collective Turkish memory that some would like to forget and others find impossible to ignore.  The “Dirty Story” exhibit confronts the memory of Turkey’s 1980 military coup through art in hopes of coming to a modern understanding of the deaths, detentions, human rights abuses, and pain caused by that era of Turkey’s not-so-distant past.  The exhibit also challenges political and artistic censorship in Turkey, with photos of muzzled artists alongside a photographed tombstone, engraved with a gun.

Tarih-i Kadim (The Old History) artist unknown

Whenever grotesque and inhuman events tear the social fabric of a society, it takes strength and courage to initiate healing.  Leave it to Turkish artists to tackle this challenge.

In recent weeks and months, much of the global Armenian diaspora have mobilized in opposition to the Armenian-Turkish protocols.  At the core of their opposition is pain that results from Turkey’s ongoing denial of the Armenian genocide.  The protocols do not address this wound – they arguably make it worse by having both countries agree to a historic commission.

What is not being addressed within the diaspora, Armenia, or Turkey is the difference between rapprochement and reconciliation.  The diaspora’s response to the protocols demonstrates the difference between the two and the need for rapprochement not to preclude or prevent reconciliation.  In fact, the protocols have the potential to pave the way for more efforts, more courage, and more drive for understanding and peace between these groups.

The “Dirty Story” exhibit offers a model for initiating reconciliation that could be applied to the memory of the Armenian genocide.  Besides obliterating  Armenian society in eastern Anatolia, the genocide destroyed the social fabric of late Ottoman and early Turkish societies.  The ramifications of genocide denial reverberate in Turkey to the present day.  The timing is perfect for an artistic collaboration to explore this trauma and shock all sides into an atmosphere where reconciliation is possible.

[Thanks to Rob at Art Threat for bringing this exhibit to my attention.]

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Signed – next up: Ratification

October 11, 2009 at 10:51 pm (Armenian-Turkish relations) (, , , , , , , , )

Edouard Nalbandian and Ahmet Davutoglu, signing  Credit: AFP

Eduard Nalbandian and Ahmet Davutoglu sign the protocols. Credit: Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs

On Saturday October 10th, Armenian and Turkey took step two towards normalizing relations between their two countries. Reports of last-minute, pre-signing glitches and post-signing extra conditions are adding some drama to Armenian, Turkish, international, and regional media coverage of the highly anticipated and, to many, highly dreaded moment.

Eduard Nalbandian and Ahemt Davutoglu after signing the protocols   credit: Asbarez

Eduard Nalbandian and Ahemt Davutoglu after signing the protocols. Credit: Fotoloor/Asbarez

In short, although the protocols have been signed by both countries, both governments must now ratify the documents, which would open up diplomacy and the Armenian-Turkish border within two months. Turkish PM Erdogan is already standing up with a precondition: Armenia must pull out of its occupied NK territories. Meanwhile, members of the Armenian diaspora are continuing with their protests and demonstrations against the protocols, because the documents includes an agreement on a “dialogue on the historical dimension with the aim to restore mutual confidence.”

Perhaps my favorite coverage of the new precondition was anticipated by ArmComedy with the headline “Turkey’s New Precondition: Sargsyan must attend Gul’s Birthday Party.

To ratification and beyond, I will be watching the diplomacy unfold.

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All-Armenia Tour ’09!!!

October 6, 2009 at 12:14 am (Armenian-Turkish relations, Diaspora-homeland relations, media, nationalism) (, , , , , , , , , )

I like the idea of an pan-Armenia tour. I would like to do one someday – hit up Manchester, Buenos Aires, Cairo…

Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan is wrapping up his week-long all-Armenia tour in Rostov-on-Don/Rostov-na-Donu after stops in Paris, New York, Los Angeles, and Beirut. His purpose: to rep the protocols to the protocol-bashers, namely, diasporans around the world.

You might have heard about his reception. In Paris, protesters scuffled with the police. In NYC, young activists fought to have their voices heard. In Los Angeles, thousands picketed Sargsyan, shouting votch! (no!) outside of the Beverly Hills Hotel.

dont betray UHaul parked across from the Armenian consulate in Los Angeles.  Credit: StopTheProtocols.com

"don't betray" UHaul parked across from the Armenian consulate in Los Angeles. Credit: StopTheProtocols.com

The protests were not limited to Sargsyan’s tour, either – protests have sprung up in Montreal, Toronto, and Argentina. Glendale and Los Angeles – if we can separate the two – have been particularly active both before and after Sargsyan’s visit.

Like good activists, diasporan organizers have done an excellent job gathering protesters and publicizing their events. Conflicts between picketers and riot police – caught on camera and video – nicely convey the passion these diasporans feel about the protocols. To the media, it sure looks like the diaspora is unified in their opposition Indeed – as discussed previously – the diasporan political parties are mostly united – and more groups join in every day – the Zoryan Institute, AGBU, various schools and churches. The combination of self-promotion paired with the sudden burst of diasporan activism ensures that the protests will make the news.

This worries me. While I do no oppose the protocols, I do not fully support them either. You are not going to find me on a street corner with a witty poster because I am not a blind nationalist – of the Republic or of the nation. I see benefits and dangers in the protocols, but I am willing to let them play out. They will not fix everything – and they will not ruin everything. However, I am not inspired by Armenian youths in California forming a human chain to prevent Sargsyan from visiting their local genocide memorial. In fact, I see some really detrimental behavior shaping up in the form of these protests:

1. Like with section 907 of the Freedom of Support Act – the diaspora is once again actively interfering with Armenia’s foreign policy. The opposition claims that Armenia is not on equal negotiating grounds with Turkey – but have they considered their role in tipping the power scales against Armenia?

2. Diasporan media outlets are owned by diasporan political parties and those parties are part of the anti-protocol coalition. They promote and report on the opposition – and that becomes the de facto truth. Like I said, I am not out there repping my ambivalence towards the protocols – and that wouldn’t be nearly as sexy as straight-up opposition anyways. When there is only one voice speaking for the diaspora – that will become the only voice.

NYC protest  Credit: Asbarez

NYC protest Credit: Asbarez

3. Diasporan youth are being indoctrinated into an Armenian identity that is primarily based on the Armenian cause. This is not new. However, the urgency of the situation is new. Youths tend to take these revolutionary things pretty seriously, and hatred will form. Hatred without proper means of reconciliation gets desperate, and that leads to extremism.

My inner pessimist is already anticipating the day when the protocols will fail and a roar of victory will rise up from the diaspora: “we did it! now we can get back to advocating for Turkey’s admission of the genocide.” I love the activism, I love the passion – I just think it is misguided. If the diaspora’s goal is to achieve recognition for the genocide from Turkey (I will leave NK out of this for now) the diaspora needs to start becoming the change they want to see. It isn’t going to happen by force, guilt, or political pressure – it will happen through knowledge and understanding.

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Stop the Peace, I mean, Protocols

September 21, 2009 at 3:22 pm (Armenian-Turkish relations, Diaspora-homeland relations) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Diasporan dissent is hitting the streets with a new campaign called Stop the Protocols.  This coalition of Armenian youth groups and diasporan organizations opposes protocols between the Armenian and Turkish governments that would establish diplomatic relations between the countries and open their shared border.  According to the Stop the Protocols website:

These protocols, if accepted by Armenia, will result in the surrendering of the Armenian Cause*, the end for Karabakh’s independence, and the nullification of the Armenian people’s legal rights to historic Armenia.

[*The Armenian Cause, once broadly understood as all efforts towards maintaining Armenian-ness in dispersion (language, food, music, religion) is now commonly used to describe the campaign for genocide recognition and all related activities.]

Rally poster, Photo in poster credit: armenianamerica.wordpress.com

These protocols, understandably, trigger many of the passions and fears of the diaspora.  However, what is surprising to me is how unified the diaspora is when it comes to condemning the protocols.    All three political parties active in the diaspora (and yes, the Armenian diaspora has had full fledged political parties for 90+ years) are supporting a “Stop The Protocols” rally in California on September 27th.  That’s the Dashnaks, Hnchaks, and Ramgavars.  Maybe I shouldn’t be so surprised by this.  These three groups have unified in the past for genocide recognition campaigns.  Furthermore, the likelihood that the protocols will translate into action is high, so opposition to them might seem like these parties’ last hope to represent their diasporan constituents before the protocols push them and their goals into oblivion.  The Stop the Protocols coalition also includes the ARF Shant Student Association, Unified Young Armenians, Armenian Youth Federation, Woodbury University Armenian Students Association, and the UCLA Armenian Students Association.

While I understand their drive, I disagree with their position.  The diaspora is comfortable speaking on behalf of the Armenian nation; however, the diaspora has the economic and social stability to be idealistic.  The diaspora and its political parties can afford (financially and ideologically) to be stridently nationalistic, seek reparations, demand autonomy for NK, and make genocide recognition the focus of their political activism.  It is really easy to be an armchair nationalist, write some checks, and rant about Obama dodging the g-word.  It is much harder to make a living in the Ararat valley and worry about your son’s mandatory military service and whether or not he will be sent to NK.    Of course the Armenians of Armenia are concerned about NK, genocide recognition, and mets hayk – but they are also the ones who have the deal with the day-to-day reality of two closed borders, a smoldering war, and missed opportunities for trade, tourism, and pipelines.  So when diasporan groups speak on behalf of the Armenian nation, it comes across as selfish and self-indulgent.

I also disagree with the doomsday effect the Stop the Protocols campaign is forecasting if the protocols are signed.  The end of the Armenian cause is impossible.  I think this fear is based on Turkey’s ongoing genocide denial and the potential for the genocide to be used as a bartering chip in negotiations, from the state-to-state rapprochement between Armenia and Turkey to regional relationships – like Turkey’s accession to the EU.   While I agree that it might be harder to get Turkey to recognize the genocide after Armenia and Turkey establish relations, truth be told, getting Turkey to recognize the genocide hasn’t been going so well for the past century.  Blaming the death of the Armenian cause on the protocols sounds defeatist to me.

credit: Tufenkian Foundation

credit: Tufenkian Foundation

Blaming the protocols for ending NK’s independence is also uncalled for.  First of all, NK’s independence is kind of weak – not even Armenia recognizes NK as an independent nation.  Furthermore, Turkey has long had a hand in the peace process and continues to have an interest – protocols or not.  After a 15-year ceasefire, it is time for the NK conflict to be resolved, and not everyone is going to be happy about it.  The diaspora is attached to the NK conflict because of how it resonates with 1915; however it is not true nor fair to equate Nagorno Karabakh to eastern Anatolia.

And finally – the Stop the Protocols campaign is also opposed to the protocols because they would nullify the “legal rights” of Armenians to historic Armenia.  When it comes to territory, the diaspora has always been on its own:  not a single Armenian president has ever made claims on Eastern Anatolia, including the current one.  However, several cases out of California have made inroads into reclaiming financial assets.  I think this is more realistic.

credit: stoptheprotocols.com

credit: stoptheprotocols.com

What the campaign boils down to is a conflict between the Republic of Armenia and its diaspora over who best represents the Armenian nation.  Traditional, nationalism is the domain of nation states; however, the Armenian diaspora has its own nationalism complete with political parties and political agendas.  More and more, the President of Armenia Serzh Sargsyan is excluding the diasporan perspective from Armenia’s national and foreign policies.  As the Stop the Protocols campaign demonstrates, the diaspora is ready and willing to strike back.

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NK violence

September 11, 2009 at 3:17 pm (Nagorno Karabakh) (, , , , , , , )

The BBC reported last night that as many as five Armenian soldiers may have been killed in a cease-fire breach on the Nagorno Karabakh-Azerbaijan border.  This 15-year-old cease-fire has been challenged before, and reports of skirmishes between soldiers posted on the border are not uncommon; however, there are a couple things that make this clash interesting:

1.  So far, it has only been reported by international and Azeri media.

2.  The NK Defence Ministry spokesman Senor Hasratian denies that the clash took place.

NK map  credit: armenian-history.com

NK map credit: armenian-history.com

My first thought was how odd it is for Azerbaijan is reporting on how they are breaching the cease-fire.  So they must have a reason for exposing it just like NK must have a reason for covering it up.

The protocols.  Yup – NK was kind of left off the table in the latest round of diplomacy building between Armenia and Turkey.  Perhaps skirmishes on the frontline are a way to re-insert this unresolved conflict issue into the negotiations – or dare I say – to complicate them.

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Protocols and the Peanut Gallery

September 2, 2009 at 3:54 pm (Armenian-Turkish relations) (, , , , , , , , )

Serzh Sargsyan and Abdullah Gül - credit: Asbarez.com

Serzh Sargsyan and Abdullah Gül - credit: Asbarez.com

It has been a few days since the news broke about Armenia and Turkey’s protocols and, as expected, everyone has something to say about it.

The Dashnaks: Don’t like it – they would prefer genocide recognition and guaranteed sovereignty of Armenian lands first (NK, but slight nod to the homeland in eastern Anatolia.)

ANCA: like the Dashnaks (because they are the US lobbying version of the Dashnak party) the ANCA is concerned about Armenia’s sovereignty and how the protocols might cast doubt on the Armenian genocide.  Also want Turkey and the US to recognize the genocide.

Armenian National Congress (HAK): AKA Levon Ter-Petrossian’s party AKA Sargsyan’s opposition commend the protocols, (which, after all, mirror Ter-Petrossian’s policy back when he was president but don’t like the historical commission part because it might cast doubt on the ‘reality of the Armenian genocide.’

So it looks like Armenia’s sovereignty is a primary concern. (Armenia’s sovereignty is made visual here.)  For some this sovereignty extends to NK and even eastern Anatolia.  For others, sovereignty is more about the ability to take a stand on the genocide and facilitate its recognition.  


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