BY ARA KHACHATOURIAN
On September 2, Armenians around the world will celebrate the 19th anniversary of the independence of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic.
During these 19 years, the people of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic have proved that exercising their inherent right to self-determination can result in positive steps toward state-building, furthering democratic values and institutions and, most important, guaranteeing the security of its citizens.
Today, the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic is a reminder of the Armenian will to persevere, but more important, it is a model, on the international front, of collective nation-building and the importance of people’s right to self-determination.
The resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict remains a top priority for all Armenians, but especially for the people of Karabakh for whom the continued threats of war by Azerbaijan and the intermittent cease-fire violations are a daily reality and the continuation of a liberation struggle, which was won through extreme and difficult sacrifices.
As we celebrate this momentous occasion, our national efforts toward garnering international recognition for the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic should increase, so that the hard-won independence effort can flourish and Karabakh can take its rightful place in the international community.
This anniversary should also be a time to reflect upon the sacrifices of a heroic people who shed their blood to protect their nation and fight for fundamental human rights.
Yet, another anniversary, on September 1, brings home the reality of how fragile our nation really is. A year ago on Sept. 1, leaders of Armenia and Turkey, flanked by pressure from Russia, the US and France and mediated by Switzerland, released the dangerous protocols for normalization of relations between Turkey and Armenia.
The documents were signed by the two countries on Oct. 9, 2009 with Armenia suspending its ratification in April due to Turkey’s insistence on preconditions relating to the Karabakh conflict resolution and the Armenian Genocide.
The climate created by the entire protocols process was divisive and the very least detrimental to our national security and aspirations. Its lingering effects still remain as long as the protocols have not been rejected but rather the process of ratification has been suspended.
The government of Armenia must bury the protocols and with it close a sad and misguided chapter in our history so future generations do not have to reflect on September 1 but rather fully celebrate the victory of September 2.
Happy Karabakh Independence Day!