YEREVAN (ARF Press Office)—When the people express their firm opposition to the protocols then how dare the leadership sign them? This question was posed Thursday by Armenian Revolutionary Federation Bureau chairman Hrant Markarian at a conference addressing the Armenia-Turkey protocols and relations between the two countries.
Markarian sent a terse warning to those who are opting to divide—create a schism—between Armenia and the Diaspora.
“The Diaspora is the continuation of our homeland—they are us! We cannot, even in our minds, fathom dividing our nation,” said Markarian, who was referring to the vocal opposition expressed by the Diaspora during President Serzh Sarkisian’s so-called “pan-Armenian tour,” and the manner in which the president has decided to ignore the concerns expressed during his visits to Paris, New York, Los Angeles, Beirut and Rostov-on-Don.
Markarian went on to illustrate that from the onset it was clear that the protocol-mandated public discussion period was nothing more than a formality, since it was announced that there was no room to amend the documents. There was fierce reaction to the government’s “There’s no discussion, we are going to sign,” formulation.
“The Genocide issue is an open wound. Do not attempt to touch that nerve, because the reaction will be unpredictable,” said Markarian.
The ARF leader pledged that while his party is going to fight against the protocols and the entire process, nevertheless, it is willing to work with the authorities to find a way out. However, he said, if the appropriate response is not given by the authorities “We will go to the end—we will seek regime change.”
He explained: “Regime change is not self-serving and we are not seeking to change the bad with worse. It is finally time that our people knowledgably and in an organized manner, bring such a regime to power, which it will not want to change immediately,” explained Markarian.
“We are advocating for the same thing everywhere: The ARF is opposed to these protocols. We are stating this based on our experience and our struggle, seeing clear and present dangers. Those who view the ARF as one of 60 parties working in Armenia are very mistaken,” said Markarian.