YEREVAN (Yerkir)–Turkish-Armenia relations can be normalized only by adherence to the Sevres Treaty principles, said Armenian Revolutionary Federation Political Director Giro Manoyan during a press conference Tuesday.
Manoyan said that from the first day of Armenia’s independence, Turkey has refused to establish relations with Armenia, opting instead to continue the enmity it has fostered toward the Armenian people.
He said that the provisions of the Sevres Treaty would be the only by which the two nations can have normal relations, adding “Turkey also realizes that the Sevres Treaty, in some way or form, would work.”
On August 10, 1920 several nations, among them the US, Armenia and Turkey signed a treaty in Sevres, France. The treaty reaffirmed what has become known as “Wilsonian Armenia” a term used for the borders drawn by Woodrow Wilson and incorporated Erzurum, Bitlis, and Van Provinces. This region was extended to the north, up to west side of Trabzon Province to provide the Armenia an outlet to the Black Sea. It also included Karabakh, Javakhk and Nakhichevan as part of what was called the Democratic Republic of Armenia.
In his presentation, Manoyan said that Ankara’s posturing on the issue was the biggest obstacle in the normalization of relations with Armenia.
Manoyan said that the shadow government–generally nationalists–have been forcing the Turkish government’s hand in addressing the issue properly.
As long as the internal political landscape remains unchanged in Turkey and the power struggle between the national army and the government continues, said Manoyan, relations between Armenia and Turkey would remain unchanged.
Manoyan also discussed Friday’s announcement by the White House to pull Richard Hoagland’s nomination from the ambassadorship to Armenia.
He said that the White House move, which as reported by the Los Angeles Times, was prompted by a request by Hoagland to be removed from consideration, was a clear victory for the Armenian-American community and the organizations opposing his nomination.
He said it was a victory because with the help of political figures the community managed to stop a process that would have resulted in appointing a diplomat who was questioning the Armenian genocide.
Manoyan said that the White House dropped Hoagland’s nomination following Hoagland’s letter asking to be replaced because he would never be confirmed due to the Senate’s procedure, according to which any senator can delay the appointment.
As for the position of the next candidate in the Armenian genocide issue, Manoyan said that the prospective candidate should have the right stance. "In this case, the right stance should be the right stance of the US executive power. I said already that Hoagland was one step further," Manoyan said.
“According to Hoagland, the events were not of a premeditated nature and therefore did not constitute a genocide. While the U.S. does not use the word %u218genocide’ to describe the events, it still does not question the fact of genocide,” Manoyan explained. At the same time, the senior ARF representative said it was essential for the future ambassador to Armenia to have a position reflecting that of the U.S. government, which, he said, was not the case with Hoagland.
According to Manoyan, while official Yerevan did not interfere with the matter, the withdrawal of Hoagland’s nomination could also be viewed as a success for Armenia’s diplomacy.
“I think that the White House wanted official Yerevan to put pressure on the Armenian community in the United States not to block the approval of Hoagland’s nomination, but fortunately official Yerevan did not do that,” Manoyan said.
Following a year of Armenian American community opposition, led by the Armenian National Committee of America, to the controversial appointment of an Armenian Genocide denier as U.S. envoy to Yerevan, the White House, Friday, announced the withdrawal of the nomination of Dick Hoagland as U.S. Ambassador to Armenia.
“We are gratified to see that the Administration has finally come to recognize what the ANCA and the Armenian American community have understood for more than a year ‘s that Dick Hoagland — through his own words and action – disqualified himself as an effective representative of either American values or U.S. interests as U.S. Ambassador to Armenia,” stated ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian. “We would like to thank Senator Menendez for his principled leadership in impressing upon the Administration that a genocide denier should never and must never represent the U.S. in Armenia.”
"This is certainly welcome news,” stated Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ). “It was clear that their nominee to fill his place was controversial. I hope that our next nominee will bring a different understanding to this issue and foster a productive relationship with our friends in Armenia.”
The Hoagland nomination faced bipartisan opposition in the last Congress – and was ultimately blocked by a parliamentary "hold" placed by Senator Menendez ‘s after, in written statemen’s offered in response to questions posed to him during his confirmation hearing, the nominee went far beyond the bounds of the Administration’s already deeply flawed policy, actually calling into question the Armenian Genocide as a historical fact.
In announcing his "hold" last September, the Sen. Menendez cited the principled stand taken by former U.S. Ambassador John Evans, who was fired for speaking truthfully about the Armenian Genocide, underscoring his "great concerns that Mr. Hoagland’s confirmation would be a step backward."
Citing the opposition of the Armenian American community and the growing controversy within Congress surrounding the nomination, Senator Menendez was joined on December 1st by incoming Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) in calling on President George W. Bush to withdraw the Hoagland nomination and propose a new candidate to serve in this important diplomatic post. They stressed that, in light of the broad-based concerns within Congress, the extensive media coverage this issue has received, and the strong stand of the Armenian American community against the nomination, "it would serve neither our national interests nor the U.S.-Armenia relationship to expect Ambassador-designate Hoagland to carry out his duties under these highly contentious and profoundly troubling circumstances."
On December 8th of last year, after the Senate failed to confirm Hoagland, his nomination was returned to the President upon the adjournment of the 109th Congress. With the expiration of the Hoagland nomination, the President was free to offer a new candidate for this diplomatic posting in the 110th Congress, but chose instead to submit the same one, despite strong Congressional opposition to his confirmation.
More than half of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and more than 60 U.S. Representatives have raised concerns about the Hoagland nomination and the State Department’s refusal to explain the controversial firing of his predecessor, John Marshall Evans, for speaking truthfully about the Armenian Genocide. The Department of State has also failed to offer any meaningful explanation of the role that the Turkish government played in the Evans issue.