BY HENRY D. ASTARJIAN M.D.
In the dark of the night they gathered, masked like common thieves and bank robbers. A bunch of crooks, corrupt and dishonest politicians, using their illegitimate authority gained by rigged election, sold the Armenian Nation down the pike. They signed the ill fated Protocol of surrender with Turkey, which paved the way for concessions to Azerbaijan over Karabakh, and bolstered Turkish strategy of denying the Genocide.
Spearheaded by Armenia’s Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian, and Prime Minister Serge Sarkisian, the government of Armenia and Turkey had covertly negotiated the Protocol for months, and then surfaced, to everyone’s surprise, in Switzerland for the official signing in front of the cameras. It was a festival of robbers and crooks!
The world faced a fait accomplit. Secrecy was necessary when the Protocol was in the fetal stage because its architects knew that it is easy to abort a fetus, than kill a newborn.
The ceremony made an impressive picture with both sides being surrounded by our Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Ivanov, and Javier Solana of the EU. They were present in person to lend their unconditional support to the agreement. They were there to protect their own interests, rather than pursue a fair and balanced agreement. Their presence magnified the geopolitical and strategic importance of the region.
The festival looked disingenuous. Tensions were high except for Ahmet Davutoglu, the Foreign Minister of Turkey, who sported a wide grin, and looked like a cat, who had just swallowed a canary. Tensions were high because in their heart of hearts, they knew that the agreement is lopsided, and that Turkey had a hidden agenda to pursue.
Nalbandian and his team knew, or should have known that oil and water don’t mix.
They should have known that signing such a deceptive document is unacceptable by the Armenian Nation, especially the Diasporans, who are still suffering from collective Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome (PTSD), or Karabakhis who are under seige.
They should have known that neither the Genocide, nor Karabakh are negotiable.
They should have known that Turkey and the Super Powers have the upper hand, in this deal, and that Armenians were negotiating from a position of weakness, rather than strength.
They should have known that opening the door to Turkey will blow a storm which could not be harnessed by Armenians, who have become used to serfdom under the Soviet regime.
They should have known that opening the border, which is already porous, will legitimize the existing border, forever affirming the ill fated Kars Treaty of 1921, in which the Bolsheviks traded Armenian Kars for Georgian Batumi.
Finally, they had a trump card in their hand, but they did not use it: Diaspora.
They did not listen to the voice of the people, and neglected the will of the people, compromised the long term interests of Armenia and Diaspora.
They were inebriated by the international attention given to their festival, the festival of robbers and crooks.
I maintain that the negotiating sides were not naïve; Armenians knew all this, but they did it for personal gains, and for the interests of the gangsters and the oligarchs who control the economy, therefore the political agenda of Armenia.
I could say this because I know about one of the major players, Nalbandian. He was Armenia’s ambassador to Egypt, when I was visiting Cairo in 1998. I learned, through a high Egyptian official that “We [the Egyptian Government] have had it with this guy [Nalbandian], we are about to declare him ‘Persona non-grata’ and ask the Armenian government to replace him”. They were complaining about his diplomatic indiscretions, and non-diplomatic wheeling dealings.
The leaders of the Armenian community of Cairo couldn’t stop complaining about his indifference to the issues that concerned them.
At a dinner in a posh restaurant in Cairo hosted by a prominent Armenian community leader, a high American Embassy official approached me and said “I hear Nalbandian has invited you to meet with him, Doc, I don’t want you to meet with him, he is no good, he is a Communist, and we have a file this thick on him, don’t visit him”. To which I replied “I am an American, I am free to meet whomever I want, but for your information, I have already rejected his invitation”. He was pleased.
Shortly thereafter Nalbandian assumed the ambassadorship of France.
This is the kind of a man who spearheaded, enthusiastically, the negotiations with Turkey, which resulted in the ill fated Protocol. I must say that I don’t know much about his partner President Sarkisian, many do, but I know one thing; “Birds of the feather, flock together”.
Some birds of the same feather are here in the United States. They are the gang who started and or supported the ill fated Turkish Armenian Reconciliation Committee (TARC) in the 90s, the most prominent of which is the Armenian Assembly. I’ll leave it at that for now.
While the festival continued, the robbers and the crooks, on the other side of the border, took their next planned step to achieve their goal of institutionalizing the Genocide Denial. Thankfully they exposed their hand early in the game by imposing conditions, which were veiled in the Protocol, but now became central; they declared that unless Armenia and Azerbaijan make progress over the issue of Karabakh, they are not going to submit the Protocol to their Parliament for ratification.
For all intents and purposes the Protocol, in its present form, is dead. The Turks have a thousand-year-wait to submit their Protocol to their Parliament.
The final nail in the coffin of the Protocol came from Armenia’s Supreme (Constitutional) Court, which ruled—and I am paraphrasing—that the issues of the Armenian Genocide and Karabakh are untouchable, constitutionally; the two objectionable issues leading to our opposition.
The Supreme Court deserves a bouquet of flowers for their ruling, compliments of the Armenian Diaspora.
With this Festival, crooks on both sides have robbed their people of the right for peaceful co-existence, and good neighborliness, and the big powers have lost a good chance for reshaping the geopolitical landscape of the region. They must try again!