DECLARATION Regarding Commencing a Dialogue Between Armenia and Turkey

On the issue raised by Turkey in regards to commencing a dialogue between Armenia and Turkey, following the recent successes in the European and American political arena regarding the recognition of the Armenian Genocide, and on the eve of a similar bill to be voted upon in the National Assembly of France, the A.R.F. Bureau declares:

Asserting the principle of resolving the issues between two neighbouring countries through open dialogue, the A.R.F. insists that any initiative aimed at establishing official relations between Armenia and Turkey should be void of any preconditions set forth by Turkey.

It is evident, that the appearance of this desire on the agenda of Turkish diplomacy does not stem from Turkey’s honest concerns to normalize Armenian-Turkish relations; it is a tactical move by Turkey to slow down the process of international recognition of the Armenian Genocide, and to gain credits for Turkey’s accession to the European family, through superficial expressions of good-will. The Turkish diplomacy is publicly conditioning its move by unacceptable compromises on the recognition of the Armenian Genocide and the status of Artsakh.

The irrefutable fact of the Armenian Genocide cannot be subject to bargaining. The only issue that can be negotiated is the method of reparations for the Genocide. If the Turkish government genuinely wishes to establish diplomatic relations with Armenia, as a good-will gesture, it must first accept the fact of the Armenian Genocide, and take concrete steps in making Turkish society aware of this historical fact.

The Artsakh issue can not be part of the dialogue process between Armenia and Turkey. Turkey is not and can not become an official party in the Artsakh issue. The status of Artsakh is first and foremost to be concluded upon by the mutual agreement of the Republic of Mountainous Karabakh and Azerbaijan.

The interests of the entire Armenian nation are touched upon by the process of dialogue between Armenia and Turkey. During the dialogue, any attempt to create conflict between the interests of the Armenian state and Diaspora is doomed to endanger the dialogue, and consequently will lead to its breakdown.

The international recognition of the Armenian Genocide is a strategic issue in the foreign policy of Armenia, reaffirmed by President Kocharian’s address at the United Nations.

Therefore, we expect from the Armenian diplomacy to be sober, to correctly assess this Turkish occasional tactical move, and through this not to harm the proactive and effective Armenian policy, formulated over the past two years, by the policies of the Armenian authorities and the efforts of the forces committed to the Armenian Cause.

It is our conviction, that the issue of normalization of Armenian-Turkish relations, which is of importance to all Armenians, should not be limited to discussion by a narrow circle of officials..

ARF Bureau
January 16, 2001
Yerevan, Armenia