By Kevork Marashlian
The announcement by the Armenian and Turkish foreign ministries of protocols as guidelines for establishing diplomatic relations and for developing relations in multiple spheres between both countries has elicited a knee-jerk response of a doom-and-gloom scenario by many arm-chair political pundits in the Armenian Diaspora and mainly in the US, even before political circles in Armenia have declared their positions for or against this new development. Numerous others are jumping on the bandwagon in a rush of bashing the government of Armenia.
A case in point is George Aghjayan’s response in the Armenian Weekly to the ADL Eastern US and Canada District’s statement on the protocols. The ARF leader from the Worcester area considers the announcement of the protocols “a disaster of Armenia’s foreign policy” and misinterprets the ADL statement when he says, “the ADL seems satisfied that simply announcing diplomatic relations …suffices ‘for a political victory for Armenia.’” Whereas the ADL statement clearly indicates that if Turkey does not back down again (as it did following the April 22 announcement of the road map for opening of the borders), eventually, the process may result in a political victory of Armenia’s initiative of the football diplomacy.
The first word of the protocol is, “Desiring to establish good neighborly relations …”. So it is an agreement to agree on a long list of propositions, not a done-deal, and there is no indication that all items have to be agreed upon as a condition for establishing normal relations.
Armenia is under tremendous pressure by the West, mainly by the US, but so also is Turkey, to establish normal relations. Isn’t Azerbaijan also pressured not to rock the boat? And if this is all a set up of a game of agreements and broken agreements, then why should Armenia be denied to play by the same rules of the game? We should have a minimum of trust and confidence in Armenia’s leadership and not jump the gun accusing them of selling out our homeland, our rights and our future. Everyone certainly has the right to express opinions, concerns and criticisms, but crossing the line into judging, accusing and slandering is unacceptable.