ISTANBUL (ARF Youth Office)–A heated argument erupted between an Armenian and Azeri delegate at the International Union of Socialist Youth (IUSY) conference in Istanbul–Turkey–which took place June 16-19. Among the many issues addressed were the conditions and rights of minorities in various countries.
Referring to Armenia’s as one-time minorities in Azerbaijan until the Karabagh war–the Azeri delegate drew a quick response from the Armenian delegate–Armenian Youth Federation’s representative Zinavor Meghryan–who pointed to Mountainous Karabagh Republic’s (MKR) independent status–and explained the long struggle towards independence.
He stressed Karabagh’s status as an independent state that sought liberation through democratic means–but as a consequence of Azerbaijan’s aggression–was compelled to defend itself.
The Azeri delegate shot back claiming that the Karabagh movement was driven by Armenia’s desire to occupy territory and that MKR is not officially recognized by the international community.
Meghryan then suggested the Azeri review history to learn about how Karabagh was historically forced to become part of Azerbaijan. The Armenia’s living in Karabagh–he explained–were simply expressing their right to freedom and self-determination–and could never be considered a part of Azerbaijan’s minority.
As the debate intensified–the meeting’s president announced a coffee break–and suggested the two continue their impassioned exchange during the next day’s session.
After the break–the Kurdish delegation from Turkey raised the issue of human rights violations towards Kurds in Turkey. Once again–a heated discussion ensued–this time between the Turks and the Kurds.
Finally–the meeting’s president IUSY General Secretary Enzo Amentolan–attempted to end the back and forth banter with his own presentation–calling for open discussion on the abuse of Kurdish rights and possible resolution through dialogue. Yet another coffee break was announced.
The IUSY is a fraternal organization of the Socialist International. IUSY membership includes 143 socialist–social-democratic–labor youth and student unions from 100 countries.
The AYF is a full-fledged IUSY member. Additional information on IUSY and the Black Sea Area Cooperation conference is available at www.iusy.org.