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Armenian political parties and the Armenian Genocide

  Standpoint of Armenia

Armenian political parties and the Armenian Genocide

Lilit Gasparyan


Lilit Gasparyan

Journalist from Armenia

As much as the recognition of the Armenian Genocide is on agenda of Armenia, it is not on the agenda of Turkey. Turkey, which for decades has constantly pursued a denialist policy and continues to do so, spends enormous resources to avoid confronting at every opportunity. The issue of the Armenian Genocide often appears on the agenda of superpowers, but alas, that does not always pursue Armenian interests. Very often their primary purpose is to use the issue to pressure Turkey to achieve their desired goals.

In Armenia political parties are almost never in agreement over internal political affairs. Even within the opposition it is sometimes difficult to unite around any issue. It could be said, that the Armenian Genocide is one of those unique issues around which the political parties agree to a great extent, if not completely. Their opinions basically say that the recognition of the Armenian Genocide is not the end on the road to the resolution of the Armenian Cause. That should be followed by the claims, among which is the recognition of the rights of the successors of the victims of the genocide for the territories of their predecessors.  


Armenian National Congress
Opposition party - 7/131 deputies.

Arman Musinyan, spokesperson.

When we talk about the position of the political parties, we should understand that the approaches to the Armenian Genocide and the linked issue of Armenian-Turkish relations are to be discussed.  In general, there are two approaches: a) Armenia officially deals with this issue, or b) This issue is the agenda of the Armenian Diaspora, because to a large extent, the Diaspora is the consequence of the Armenian Genocide, with the community of survivors and their successors, who are putting forth a civic and national issue. And that is very different from a state-political issue.

In case of Armenia the question was this: what policy should be adopted regarding the Armenian genocide? We think, that the Genocide issue should not be put on the foreign policy agenda, meaning in relations between two states. First, because putting any issue on the agenda means making it subject to negotiations, to bargaining, to compromise, which in the case of the Armenian Genocide is unacceptable. It has taken place and that is the end of it. Second, putting it on the political agenda and making it an issue to me discussed during Armenian-Turkish relations, we narrow and even reduce the dimensions of the crime committed against the Armenians. Turkey is not responsible towards Armenia for having committed the Armenian Genocide; regarding that crime it is responsible towards the whole of humanity, because Genocide is a crime against humanity. The issue is the same also for the Holocaust, and for the Rwanda and other genocides. Thirdly, by putting the issue on the agenda, we give other countries the possibility to use our pan-national tragedy in sorting out their relations with Turkey, for their petty interests.

In this sense, it was a dramatic, tragic mistake to have put the Armenian Genocide issue on the political agenda in 1998. The unavoidable consequence of this was the surfacing of the Armenian-Turkish protocols in their present content, where, having agreed to the formation of a commission of Armenian and Turkish historians, the current regime in fact has put the veracity of the Armenian Genocide and our national conviction into question. Now, when an Armenian community asks its government to recognize the Armenian Genocide, it gets a response that Armenia and Turkey are ready to discuss the issue among them, so let us not impede that.

Armenian Revolutionary Federation - Dashnagtsutiun
Opposition party - 5/131 deputies.

Giro Manoyan, Director of the International Secretariat of the ARF.

The recognition of the Armenian Genocide is directly related to the Armenian territorial claims. Hence, the efforts for the international recognition of the Armenian Genocide should be continued with a respective vision. In the opinion of the ARF-Dashnaktsutyun, the centennial of the Genocide should be the start of a new phase towards reparations and attainment of the rights of Armenia and the Armenian people. Turkey and the whole world should understand that the recognition of the Armenian Genocide by Turkey cannot be the end of anything; that can only be the beginning of something, although in order to raise the reparations issue it is not important for Turkey to have recognized the Armenian Genocide.

Five years ago, the ARF-Dashnaktsutyun commissioned a group of experts to prepare a multidisciplinary study on the issue of reparations for the Armenian Genocide and the attainment of the rights of Armenia and the Armenian people. At the end of 2010 the draft of the study was published for public discussion and soon a revised version will be published. That too will be put to public discussion and different segments of society will have the chance to express their opinions. In this study, there are three levels of reparations: territorial rights, reparation for collective-national property and personal reparation. Around the basic assertions of the study a pan-Armenian consensus should be forged, after adjustments if necessary. It is significant, that in this regard, on April 24, the two Catholicoi of the Armenian Church, namely Catholicos of All Armenians and Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia, issued a joint statement demanding from Turkey to “return the Armenian churches, monasteries, church properties and all spiritual and cultural monuments to their rightful and legal owners, the Armenian people,” and declared that towards this goal, they will put all their efforts into action.

Prosperous Armenia
Neither in opposition, nor in majority - 36/131 deputies.

 Stepan Margaryan, deputy.

There are moral standards which should be followed. The successors of the victims of the Armenian Genocide want something to be comforted by, but they are receiving anything, because the denial is taking place in a cold and continuous manner. This is not right. The party does not have any claims. We do value starting and deepening relations with Turkey. At the first stage, the talk is naturally merely about economic and diplomatic relations. It is impossible to at once start serious political relations, but the minimum relations between neighbours should be achieved. I think after that the two peoples can find strength to continue the relations. After all, life continues and we are neighbours. Just as we value the establishment of relations with Turkey, we equally value the recognition of the Armenian Genocide. It remains to be seen how deep the relations develop and what kind of neighbours we become. The feeling of guilt and the sincere feeling of remorse are of primary significance. As neighbours, we do not know each other well. Especially Turkey does not know us well, our political elite and Armenia in general. Contacts are important for both the recognition of the Armenian Genocide and for improving relations.


Republican Party of Armenia
Majority government - 70/131 deputies.

 Artak Zakarian, deputy.

The Armenian Genocide should first of all have universal significance. The Armenian people should be recognized as the nation against whom one of the worst crimes in human history has been committed; a nation which has been deprived of its homeland; a nation which has rights and to which the international must assist in repossessing those territories where it has lived and created; a nation which has its unique place in world civilization and is worthy of respect. The RPA from this recognition first expects moral reparation and processes, which improve the foreign political capabilities of the Republic of Armenia. Armenia is the collective entity which expresses and guarantees the wishes of the Armenian people. When we say that our goal is to achieve international recognition of the Armenian Genocide, it should not just be a declaration. Our aim is to first have the international community acknowledge the fact, and as it is appropriate to the civilized world, Turkey must be the first to recognize it. Besides being moral, recognition of the Armenian Genocide also gives the opportunity to establish really peaceful relations. That also gives the opportunity to resolve regional issues, to advance democratic values within Turkey. Recognition of the Armenian Genocide is a process which includes many positive factors. It is not by coincidence, that Turkey spends enormous means to deny it and does not wish to resolve peace related and peaceful cooperation issues in the region. It attempts to undertake a regional role which would help it advance in the Islamic world. The RPA is more guided by the principle of “Fatherland tenure” (Hairenatirutyun). And, today it is difficult to speak of “claims tenure” (Pahanjatirutyun).


Opposition party - 4/131 deputies

 Hovsep Khurshudyan, spokesperson.

 The recognition of the Armenian genocide is a very important moral issue first of all for the successors of the genocide and the whole Armenian people. Such a crime against humanity cannot remain unpunished. This is terrible as it is not limited only to the extermination of the people, but also includes the dispossession of an entire people. And this is how the [Armenian] Genocide is different from the Holocaust. There should be compensation and the lands should be returned to their real owners. This does not necessarily mean that should be done by the principle of uniting them to the Republic of Armenia. We are realists and we comprehend that it is not that easy and if not legally, rather politically uniting them with Armenia is not that easy. But, at least they should be returned to the successors. Turkey, which today utilizes those territories, cannot say that it has nothing to do with all that and should take responsibility. All those who have been forced to leave their homes should return and regain ownership of their property and then they decide what they want to do. Turkey should also compensate Armenia for the damage caused to as a result of closed borders. Our party, highlighting the recognition of the Armenian Genocide, also stresses the fact that according to the Vienna Convention the borders are opened, and there is an exchange of diplomatic notes; to do that there is no need to sign any protocols which include preconditions and existing problems should be discussed only after the establishment of diplomatic relations.