By Kevork Marashlian
The ARF Eastern Region Central Committee of USA, following orders from their headquarters in Armenia, issued a statement on September 13 denouncing the protocols announced on August 31 by the foreign ministers of Armenia and Turkey for the normalization of diplomatic relations between Turkey and Armenia.
The statement notes that while the Central Committee agrees that Armenia and Turkey “must take steps to normalize relations,” any protocols between the two neighboring countries must be free of preconditions that are dangerous to Armenia’s national interests.
The Armenian government and President Serge Sargisian have always announced that Armenia’s relations with Turkey must be free of any preconditions. After signing the Protocols, the president and the Foreign Minister of Armenia reiterated that the protocols do not include any preconditions.
At the same time, the ARF statement urges its members to be present and protest against the Armenian Government during a rally if front of the Republic of Armenia’s Permanent Mission to the United Nations, in New York.
You read it right, in front of the Armenian Mission, and not Turkish Mission or the United Nations headquarters itself.
The protest is organized by the Armenian Youth Federation (AYF) on direct orders from the Central Committee.
In addition, the statements mentions that the Central Committee will lead a national delegation to meet in Washington, DC with Armenian Ambassador to the United States Tatoul Markarian to present and discuss the ARF position on the protocols.
This last gesture is the right thing to do. Every body and every organization is untitled to its opinion. The difference between people and organizations is the way of expressing their opinions.
If you live outside the Republic of Armenia, and you are an Armenian, you do not protest and rally against your government and the people of your motherland in this way, in order to give the mistaken idea that the Republic of Armenia and its leaders are traitors. You do it by protesting to the ambassador personally, in this case, United Nations Ambassador Garen Nazarian. Mr. Nazarian, who was installed recently, was not even informed officially by the ARF about its plans.
Meanwhile, a delegation of ADL District Committee met with Ambassador Nazarian on September 9 at his office in New York, and discussed the organization’s concerns with him.
For many years, the ARF was one of the coalition partners of the Armenian government in Yerevan. Since last April, they have decided rightfully to come out and work as opposition party.
As an opposition party, the ARF is well within its rights to protest against the government of Armenia in Armenia.
But, have you ever seen Republicans organize protests against President Obama and the White House in Paris or London?
This is the first time Armenians are protesting Armenians. I hope it will be the last.
(Kevork Marashlian is the executive secretary of ADL district Committee of Eastern US and Canada.)