Books on Armenia
Principal ethnic groups
Update No: 292 - (26/04/05)
Armenia is a nation in remembrance - for the appalling
genocide of 1915 when one and a half million Armenians were killed by the Turks.
To this day the Turks deny the genocide. In this they are in bad company. It was
Hitler who said in 1938: "Who today remembers the genocide of the
Armenians?" He of course had another set of genocides in mind.
The present president, Robert Kocharian, a Karabakh War veteran, is known as
'falcon' in foreign policy and defends an aggressive foreign policy towards
Turkey and Azerbaijan. He was formerly president of Nagorno-Karabakh, the
Armenian enclave in Azerbaijan. A natural hardliner if ever there was one.
Ter-Petrosian, the previous Armenian President, was more moderate and argued
historical disputes should not be at the core of Turkey-Armenia relations.
Kocharian's aggressive anti-Turkish policies prevent the Turkish government from
normalizing its relations with Armenia. Though Armenia-Turkey territorial
borders are closed, international flights between Istanbul and Yerevan continue;
and indirect trade between Turkey and Armenia reached $200 million in 2004. More
than 50.000 citizens of Armenia work illegally in Istanbul.
Armenia urged to 'clearly' recognize Turkey's borders
Armenia's reluctance to recognize international borders in the Caucasus prevent
stability and security in the region. And this disturbs the US and the EU.
According to Emil Danielyan's report from Armenia Liberty, Armenia would make
the reopening of the Turkish-Armenian border easier by explicitly recognizing
Turkey's territorial integrity, a renowned U.S. scholar, who has helped to
promote dialogue between the two estranged neighbours. said on April 18th. David
Phillips, who chaired the U.S.-sponsored Turkish-Armenian Reconciliation
Commission (TARC), also accused the administration of President George W. Bush
of mishandling long-running U.S. efforts to improve relations between Ankara and
"The Armenian government has to state clearly and unequivocally that it
makes no territorial claim on Turkey," Phillips said in an interview.
"If that message were sent … it would create conditions for Turkey to
move forward in a much more positive way."
Armenian president Kocharian: no territorial claims on Turkey
That is exactly what has happened. Kocharian, hardliner though he is, has
decided to become somewhat more emollient. Kocharian said in his speech at the
Yerevan State University: "Armenia has no territorial claims on
Turkey." "No Armenian state structures have made any territorial
claims against Turkey," he added.
However, he then changed tack, reverting to type. He implied territorial demands
could be made after recognition of the so-called genocide. "A campaign for
international recognition of the genocide against Armenians is one of the tasks
on our foreign policy agenda," Kocharian said, like a dog going back to its
Only the strong can apologise
Nobody denies, outside Turkey, that the Armenians have a very good case against
the Turks on this issue. It certainly deserves to be settled in due course by a
fulsome Turkish apology.
Schroder has apologised for Nazi Germany's behaviour towards Poland; Blair has
apologised for Imperial Britain's behaviour towards Ireland; It would be
appropriate if Turkey would one day apologise to Armenia for the 1915 genocide.
But it will only happen when Turkey itself has become a strong self-confident
country, like Germany and the UK now are is still some time away.
Armenia needs Turkey
It is worth looking at the problem, indeed, from a Turkish point of view.
Dr. Sedat Laciner, director of Ankara-based ISRO, said that the only serious
problem was recognition of the international borders by the Armenians:
"Armenian genocide campaigns naturally disturb Turkey and the Turks. They
do not accept such an insult. Nevertheless neither Turkish government nor the
Turkish public think historical accusations can justify a closed-border and no
diplomatic relations. Turkey's precondition is recognition of international
borders. Armenia says it has no territorial claims, but Yerevan implies the
Eastern parts of Turkey is Western Armenia. Many Armenian politicians and
leaders are sworn to 'recapture' the so-called lost territories in Turkey. The
Armenian Declaration of Independence clearly show the irredentist intentions.
Moreover, Armenia does not recognize Azerbaijan-Armenia border and 20 percent of
Azerbaijani territories have been under Armenian occupation. Armenian
politicians undermine territorial integrity of Georgia. In brief, Armenia has to
recognize its borders with Turkey, Georgia and Azerbaijan. Otherwise Turkish
government cannot normalize its relations with Yerevan. Ankara responds as it
did for Serbia in past and what the US does now for Cuba, Iran and Syria. A huge
part of a European state (Azerbaijan) is under military occupation of another
European state (Armenia). Armenia should know that the Armenian occupation
cannot last forever, and Turkey cannot accept Armenian occupation. If Turkey
accepts any change in borders by force, no country can maintain stability and
security in Caucasus, Balkans and the Middle East."
Laciner further argued that Turkey and Armenia could be strategic allies, if the
border issues between Turkey, Armenia and Azerbaijan were resolved:
"The extremist Armenians want more and more territories. They want Eastern
Turkey, Western Azerbaijan, and Southern Georgia. However they cannot maintain
the existing population in Armenia. The Armenian population has dramatically
decreased. As a matter of fact Armenia does not need any more territory, but
human power and good friends. An aggressive and irredentist Armenia cannot
survive in the Caucasus. Armenia need time to cure its diseases inherited from
the Soviet period. Armenia needs Turkey, Georgia and Azerbaijan to solve its
problems and to integrate its political and economic structures. The current
Turkish Government is ready to normalize its relations with Armenia. However if
Armenian threatens Turks and demands more territories, no Turkish government
could take any step in normalization. In fact Turkey does not need Armenian
economy or political support, because Armenian economy is a tiny one and less
than an ordinary Turkish city's size. Turkey can solve its transportation
problems with Central Asia and Caucasus over the Russia, Georgia and Iran
routes. However Armenia needs Turkey to survive." The bottom line on all of
the foregoing, is that Armenia is not in fact making claims on Turkey, but is
illegally occupying 20% of neighbouring Azerbaijani territory, quite apart from
the unresolved issue of the Nagorno Karabakh enclave. That is the crux of the
matter. The lack of an apology for the 1915 massacre is offensive to Armenians
across the world, but in itself, that would not prevent political and commercial
ties, in short a move towards normalising inter- state relations, which would
follow if the illegal occupation was ended, allowing the enclave issue to be
negotiated and finally resolved.
Armenian president, Belgian MP discuss expansion of cooperation
Armenian President, Robert Kocharian, received the chairman of the Chamber of
Deputies of the Belgian parliament, Herman de Croo, at his residency recently,
Arminfo News Agency reported.
The sides highly rated the level of Armenian-Belgian relations and noted that
this was proven by the fact that Belgium is Armenia's main trading partner among
EU countries, the press service of the Armenian president said.
The sides also noted the need to expand the political dialogue between the two
countries, which can be promoted by the intensification of parliamentary
The meeting discussed a number of issues related to European integration,
specifically within the framework of the EU's New Neighbourhood policy. The
sides also discussed issues and processes taking place in the region.
Yerevan and Moscow keen on developing bilateral ties
Russian President, Vladimir Putin, recently met his Armenian counterpart, Robert
Kocharian, in Yerevan. Putin was on a two-day visit where he held talks with
Kocharian and attended the opening ceremony of the Year of Russia in Armenia.
Putin has also signed a decree on observing the Year of the Russian Federation
in Armenia and the Year of Armenia in the Russian Federation, "for the
purposes of further developing Russian-Armenian relations and expanding
bilateral ties," the presidential press service said, Interfax News Agency
Putin said the opening of the Year of Russia culture in Armenia will provide a
very good basis for the development of relations in humanitarian affairs and
also in economic and political matters. "The record of such events with
other partners has shown that they positively influence cooperation in all
areas," the Kremlin leader said.
During the negotiations both state leaders agreed to help their countries'
businesses expand their involvement in investment and privatisation projects.
"Russia and Armenia are equally interested in deeper multidimensional ties
and see our future in close integration," Putin said at a press conference
after talks with Kocharian. He added that effective models of cooperation and
new opportunities for the free movement of capital, goods and services were
According to Putin, Russia is Armenia's main investor and trading partner.
Russia played a vital role with its investment in Armenia, who was seeking to
boost key sectors of its economy. Putin noted that the stable political
situation and economic growth in Armenia is a prerequisite for expanding
cooperation. Other issues on the meeting's agenda involved cooperation in
countering terrorism, cross-border crimes, illegal arms trade and drug
trafficking, Putin said.
Both countries discussed ways to further advance the two nations' transport
infrastructure. Armenia has already joined the North-South international
corridor project and it is planned to launch ferry services between Georgia's
port of Poti and the Caucasus, Putin added. He announced that the first cargoes
have already been sent to Georgia and deliveries will soon be made to Armenia.
Regional issues and the settlement process in Nagorno-Karabakh were also