On the occasion of the Sept. 6 visit by Turkish President Abdullah Gul to Armenia, the Armenian Revolutionary Federation Western US Central Committee reaffirms the conviction of the organization and the entire Armenian-American community of the imperative for friendly and cooperative relations between Armenia and all of its bordering countries. At the same time, we assert the fact that Turkey still continues its 15-year blockade of Armenia, which has cost billions of dollars of damage to Armenia’s economy and prohibits its own citizens from freely traveling to Armenia. Furthermore, Turkey continues its domestic and international campaign of denying the Armenian Genocide. Turkey also continues to enforce its criminal codes against its own citizens who dare to accurately discuss the Armenian Genocide. Simply put, Turkey continues its efforts to elude justice.
We want to believe that this visit will not serve as a stage for Turkish propaganda and does not intend to be presented to the international press as a Turkish publicity stunt. Mr. Gul and the Turkish people would have wasted an historic opportunity, which could serve not only as a beginning to good neighborly relations, but also a true quest for justice.
Thus, it is the ARF Western US’s sincere hope that Mr. Gul’s visit will become truly historic and will validate the promise of opening a new page in Armenia-Turkey relations. Our expectations, which mirror those of the Armenian nation in this regard, are that friendly and good neighborly relations can only be built upon a foundation of truth and justice, which include that Turkey, as the successor to the Ottoman Empire, unequivocally recognize and atone for the Armenian Genocide. This process requires the Republic of Turkey to accept its culpability as the successor state of the Ottoman Empire and to begin the process of relinquishing its ill gotten gains from that Genocide. This includes the return of all Armenian territories recognized to be part of the first Republic of Armenia. Within this framework, Turkey must adhere to the responsibilities and obligations it committed itself to under the Treaty of Sevres. It also includes the return of seized and appropriated real and personal properties to their rightful owners.
Our organization remains true to its mission of being the voice to the will and national aspirations of the Armenian people. With this conviction, we will continue to be more demanding of the principle that the only way productive relations can be established is through justice and the truth. We hope that President Gul realizes the a mile away from the Hrazdan Stadium, the Dzidzernagapert Memorial Monument stands firm, and its spirit rests within Armenia’s everywhere.