Editorial: The Moment Is Too Serious for Partisan Ploys


Armenian-Turkish relations have reached a crucial stage where extreme caution, diplomatic prowess, foresight and prudence are the most essential factors which may pull Armenia out of the quagmire in which it is immersed.

Armenia is a young state and needs all the necessary experiences and resources it can get from all parties concerned.

Diaspora politics and politicians have always operated in the vacuum; therefore they are ill equipped to deal with real-world politics. The best contribution that they can make to help the situation is to exercise caution and avoid unnecessary blunders.
Regional and world powers are arguably after their own selfish interests; therefore they cannot be rated as friends or foes. In fact,
they were the real motivators to bring Turkey and Armenia together and begin the process of negotiations. At the end of the day, the smartest dealer will come out as the winner.

Now let us analyze how sober our political savvy is and how prudent our actions are in this highly sensitive situation.

Armenia is facing an opponent — namely Turkey — which has almost a millennium of diplomatic experience, having run empires and having clashed with equally formidable empires. And today it is equipped with one of the most powerful armies in the NATO alliance, and is sitting on a most strategic asset in the region.

We have always underestimated Turkish leaders’ diplomatic prowess at our own peril. And yet, we still have the tendency to act recklessly before a very grave political situation. The political reality is not a stark black and white and to reduce it to simple formulates and event to cheap slogans may cost us dearly. Unfortunately, that is what we are witnessing at this time by the agitators who have been wreaking havoc by inciting some segments of the public to stage senseless acts.

Obviously, very few people have read the protocols signed by the foreign ministers of Armenia and Turkey on October 10, in Zurich,
Switzerland. Even fewer people have understood the political and historic implications behind the terms used in the texts. To interpret those texts tendentiously and to frame them as “selling Karabagh to the Azeris” or “giving in on the Genocide issue” or worse “disclaiming historic Armenian territories,” is a disservice to the public; and using those simplifications as a premise to promote partisan agendas is a crime of historic proportions.

Once again, the ARF (Dashnag) party is the vanguard of the present agitation, collaborating with its erstwhile enemies HHSH (Panarmenian National) party of Levon Ter-Petrosian, who are dispersed throughout the diaspora, after plundering Armenia.

The Dashnag party historically bears the most serious responsibility in many political disasters that befell Armenia and the Armenian people. The ARF leaders, perhaps, are wishing that their historic misdeeds are forgotten — or must be forgotten — so that they can plunge our people into new adventures.

But historic records stand to shame them into a more respectable and responsible behavior.

In 1908, following the Ittihadist revolution against the Ottoman Sultan, the Dashnag Party entered into partnership with the
arch-criminals, it renamed itself as Osmanli Dashnagtzoution, for a few parliamentary seats.

Our national hero, General Andranik, warned them against trusting the Turks, but he was not heeded. Thus, the Dashnags gave up their arms and demobilized the Armenian population at the threshold of an impending calamity — the Armenian Genocide.

On December 2, 1920, right after handing over Armenia’s rule to the Soviets, the Dashnag leaders signed illegally the Treaty of
Alexandropol, disowning the Treaty of Sevres, which promised Armenia 130,000 sq. kilometers of territory, and settled for 10,000 sq. kilometers, one third of the current territory of Armenia. And thus, Gen. Kazim Karabakir, a leader of defeated Turkey, claimed victory against Armenia.

In February of 1921, when the newly-established Communist government in Moscow was negotiating the current border with the Kemalist representatives, the Dashnags staged a coup (known as the February Adventurism) in Yerevan, and thus denied the participation of the Armenian delegation in the negotiations.

The Treaty of Moscow was eventually confirmed by the Treaty of Kars of 1921 and was imposed on Armenia. Therefore, the Dashnags are as much responsible for the current borders as any other party.

Today the party is engaged in new adventurism, certainly with the same results. No historic precedence can teach prudence to the Dashnag leadership.

On October 23, the ARF supreme body announced that it stands ready to replace the current government, just when delicate negotiations are in progress.

Former President Ter-Petrosian had banned the Dashnag party, had confiscated its assets and jailed its leadership facing grave charges. If banning a party cannot be justified in a democratic society, the crimes against the state and its elected officials could not be dismissed either.

When President Kocharian came to power, the Dashnag leaders were released from jails, without charges, and the party found a panacea in the Kocharian administration. Therefore, for 10 years, the party was a partner in the government coalition. It was one of the beneficiaries of the gravy train. The Dashnag party was handed over the three most corrupt ministries — that of education,
agriculture and social services.

Once they felt that the gravy train was about to wreck, the Dashnags quit the coalition and today they are demanding reforms, which they could have implemented, while they were in power. Their opposition to the protocols, their so-called patriotic fervor, the claims of monopoly on the Armenian Cause, are but self-serving and disingenuous covers for their cowardly policy. On October 23, ARF leader Armen Rustamyan gave a reading and interpretation of the party’s statement.

It’s been a long time that the Dashnag party has been demystified in Armenia and its true face revealed. People in Armenia are not naive and they have been asking pointed questions. While the ARF statement calls for justice in the social system, in organizing pensions and distributing the wealth equitably, the people in Armenia have been asking  — and the press is echoing. Why didn’t you reform the social services when you were in control of the ministry?

Why didn’t you end corruption in the education system, when one of your own ran the ministry of education?

With the same token, why did Armenia’s agriculture fail when you were managing the ministry?

Different parties and different groups have been pursuing hidden, selfish agendas in opposing the protocols. Very few are genuinely
concerned about the outcome. And there is cause for concern for those who can detect historic and political ramifications in the protocols. Armenia’s president toured the Diaspora to build consensus but he only faced insults by the Dashnag mob. Fortunately, more serious organizations, like the AGBU, the two Dioceses, the Armenian Assembly and the traditional ADL party came out with balanced statements.

The Dashnag leaders have also duped some Hunchak leaders to have a “summit meeting” of the three traditional parties in Yerevan. They have tagged to their coattail a former member of Ramgavar party who has been expelled from the ADL Toronto Chapter, which is under the jurisdiction of ADL District Committee of Eastern US and Canada. That person can only represent himself and not the ADL.

By courting those unsavory characters, the Dashnag leadership is deceiving itself that it has all the traditional parties under its
sway. Another purpose is to encourage a split within the ADL, which has historically stood steadfast against ARF adventurism.

After all the historic blunders, the ARF leadership’s opposition is only a self-serving charade, intending to stage a Kocharian comeback that may offer them a ride again on the gravy train.

This historic occasion is too serious to play partisan politics with Armenia’s destiny.