ASHOT MELKONYAN: ARMENIA MUST TAKE PREVENTIVE MEASURES SO AS NOT TO BE BLAMED FOR "100-YEAR SLANDER"
ArmInfo's interview with Director of the History Institute of the
National Academy of Sciences of Armenia Ashot Melkonyan
by David Stepanyan
Monday, November 17, 21:39
Before the 100th year of the Armenian Genocide the question what the
divided Armenian nation has come to after 100 years of sufferings is
still open. Don't you think that the Armenians need a new multilevel
strategy so as to achieve historical justice?
After the Armenian Genocide our people regarded it as not only an
attempt to annihilate them but also a campaign to deprive them of
their homeland. The more time passed, the less painful the scars of the
survivors grew. But they have not forgotten the loss of their homeland
and have passed this memory to their descendants. As a result, we see
that their grand grandsons are still aware that they have lost their
homeland. Before 1965 we were moving in the right way as we regarded
the Armenian Genocide as the loss of homeland. But today, some 50
years later, we are beginning to realize that we have got into a trap
skillfully made by Turkey. In order to deviate the world's attention
from the gist of the problem, the Turks began denying the very fact
of the Armenian Genocide and, even more, claiming that Armenians
also killed them. As a result, the problem of the loss of homeland
has gone to the background and we are now struggling only for the
recognition of the fact of the Armenian Genocide.
What have we come to as a result of this policy?
By demanding international recognition of the Armenian Genocide, a
reality that was indisputable for 50 years after 1915, we have gone
back to the zero level. Each recognition by one or another foreign
parliament was followed by a false reaction of the Turkish authorities,
who pretended to be worried that the world might recognize the Armenian
Genocide. In fact, they did not care. The key goal of their denial
policy was to involve Armenia and Armenians worldwide into a senseless
debate. Few people are aware that none of the more than two dozens
of resolutions adopted on the Armenian Genocide so far - except for
those by the parliaments of Russia, Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh -
have a point saying that the genocide was committed in the homeland of
Armenians. What they all say is that it was committed in the Ottoman
Empire. The key task of Armenia before the 100th year of the Armenian
Genocide must be to achieve worthy compensation for this crime. We
must do this to prevent any attempts by Turkey to involve us in trials
Don't you think that the dual standards applied by great powers can
become a serious challenge to this process?
The use of dual standards by great powers is not nonsense. Nor it is a
secret any more. This very policy has given birth to a Muslim state in
the very heart of Europe in Serbian Kovoso just because local Albanians
once suffered from ethnic cleansing. So, the key purpose of Kosovo as
an independent state was to preserve Albanians as an ethnic-religious
group. And who says that the same is not true for Armenians? In 1920
in Paris, Sanremo and Sevres the world adopted decisions that formed
Armenia as a state where Armenians would be able to preserve their
ethnos. The British Prime Minister of that time David Lloyd George
even agreed to give Armenia Trabzon, a land that has never been part
of historical Armenia. The key goal of the decision to give Armenia a
territory of 160,000 sq km was to save Armenians as one of the oldest
civilizations in the world. Then the international law was interpreted
in our favor. Today the situation is different: the world is trying
to maintain the status quo formed after the World War II.
But wasn't Ukraine an attempt to break the world order formed after
the Yalta conference?
When it comes to the need to destroy Yugoslavia, Iraq, Syria or Libya,
some states neglect the current status quo. Ukraine was just the
last attempt to break the Yalta world order. The West has certainly
achieved its goals in that country. By giving Crimea to Russia, it has
turned the brotherly Russian and Ukrainian nations into enemies. So,
before appealing to international courts for compensation for
the Armenian Genocide, we need to check up the world community's
approaches and to try to make our approaches closer to theirs -
for the courts will certainly be pressured. One of such factors is
Turkey's NATO membership, especially in the face of growing threats
from the ISIL. If the courts show impartiality, they will be on our
side despite any dual standards or geopolitics.
What are the implications of the appointment of Etyen Mahcupyan as
senior advisor to the Turkish Prime Minister?
The key implication of this appointment is that Turkey's policy to
deny the Armenian Genocide is no longer successful. Today the global
awareness of the Armenian Genocide has reached a level that prevents
the Turks from just denying it. So, now they are looking for other
ways to do it. The first such trick was Erdogan's condolences to
the descendants of Armenian and Muslim victims, the second and the
most evident was the appointment of Mahcupyan as Davutoglu's senior
advisor. The very signing of the Turkish-Armenian normalization
protocols was also a trick used by them in Ankara just to show that
they are amicable towards Armenians and are even ready to open the
border they earlier closed. In other words, the Turks have stopped
denying the Armenian Genocide pointblank and are searching for ways to
distract the world community's attention from the gist of the problem.
All they are doing now is just imitation.
Do the last actions of the ISIL pose a real threat to Turkey's
With the United States' policies usually yielding their fruits decades
later, it is hard to say why the Americans first formed a group
for fighting Bashar al Assad and then, when that group fell apart,
started fighting its radical part. One thing is clear - the ISIL
has been formed in the West. One proof is Turkey's double game. On
the one hand, that country is trying to fit into the United States'
policy in the Middle East, on the other, it is trying to convince
the Islamic world that it is loyal to them. But the problem here that
by showing its loyalty to the US and NATO, Turkey is beginning to be
seen as enemy by the ISIL. The Turks are urging their allies in the
West to fight the Islamic fighters on land, but the Americans will
never do this as they still remember Vietnam and Korea.