YEREVAN (RFE/RL)–Two groups aligned with the opposition Armenian National Congress (HAK) took issue on Friday with its top leader Levon Ter-Petrosian’s harsh attacks on critics of Armenia’s dangerous rapprochement with Turkey.
The Alliance of Armenian Volunteers (AAV), an advocacy group mainly campaigning against any territorial concessions to Azerbaijan, said it will hold a meeting soon to discuss Ter-Petrosian’s latest speech and its future relationship with the Congress. The AAV’s Lebanese-Armenian leader, Zhirayr Sefilian, told RFE/RL that he will not make further comments on the matter until then.
The other force, the Social-Democratic Hnchakian Party (SDHK), made clear that it supports Armenian territorial rights to Western Armenia and believes that Armenia should not normalize relations with its neighbur until it recognizes the Armenian Genocide.
“The party rules out the establishment of any diplomatic relations with Turkey until Turkey recognizes the genocide as a great crime against the Armenian people,” said Lyudmila Sargsian, chairwoman of the SDHK’s organization in Armenia. Such recognition should be followed by Turkish land and financial reparations, she said.
In a high-level speech to his supporters on Wednesday, Ter-Petrosian defended some aspects of President Serzh Sarkisian’s policy on Armenia-Turkey relations and bitterly attacked the Armenian Revolutionary Federation and other “extreme nationalists” for their opposition to the protocols process. The ex-president criticized the Armenian Revolutionary Federation for asserting that by signing the protocols the Sarkisian administration has relinquished its right to demand reparations and territorial claims resulting from the Genocide.
He said that “historical rights” championed by them is not a valid concept in international law these days and that Turkey will never agree to normalize relations with Armenia without precluding the possibility of Armenian territorial claims. The HAK, Ter-Petrosian asserted, should therefore support a controversial provision of the recently signed Turkish-Armenian agreements that commits Yerevan to recognize Armenia’s existing border with Turkey, said Ter-Petrosian.