2 հունիս, 2014 10:02

Serzh Sargsyan, Perhaps you should go to Istanbul?

Armenia, Armenia’s president and the Armenian Genocide would be the focus of global media attention if, on April 24, 2015, Serzh Sargsyan were to go, just for a few hours, to Istanbul, where on that day, for the sixth time, several hundred, perhaps several thousand citizens -- Armenians, Turks, Kurds -- will gather at Haydarpasa Train Station and Taksim Square, to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide.

If Serzh Sargsyan were to go to Istanbul, it would the most powerful, justified and calculated event of all scheduled for the centenary of the Armenian Genocide.

Regardless of who is elected to the post of Turkey’s president in the upcoming elections in August this year, that person will not come to Yerevan. If Serzh Sargsyan or his incompetent advisors think that inviting Turkey’s president to Armenia is an ingenious step, they are sorely mistaken.

First of all, a president or official of any country should not be invited to Yerevan to participate in the 100th anniversary commemorations. This is not an Armenian festival. This is an Armenian day of mourning. You don’t invited someone to a wake. You do inform them of the day, the hour, the venue but you don’t invite them. Especially Turkey’s president. And especially to Yerevan. And especially for a confrontation.

The most symbolic place is Haydarpasa Train Station, from where Western Armenian intellectuals were sent to Ayas, Chankiri and other killing fields on April 24, 1915. Without Sharm, and without public relations, without grandiose announcements, he should simply go to Istanbul. He should stand alongside the assembled Armenians, Turks and Kurds, and hold Daniel Varoujan’s picture in one hand, and a candle in the other.

Inviting Turkey’s president is an exercise in futility.

Nevertheless, if you want (and who doesn’t?) high ranking Turkish officials to embark on the difficult path toward Tsitsernakaberd, to place a wreath and bow their heads to honor the memory of 1.5 million who were killed by orders of the Ottoman Turkish government in 1915, then this is something that can be proposed for some other day.

Abdullah Gul was in Yerevan on September 6, 2008. You were watching football together. And the hill where Tsitsernakaberd sits was not far off. Did you propose to visit it together? If yes, then what answer did you receive from your “brave” Turkish counterpart? (The word in quotation marks is one you used.)

Former Foreign Minister Ali Babacan was in Yerevan in April, 2009. Did Armenia’s number one diplomat propose to his Turkish counterpart to ascend the hill to Tsitsernakaberd? In December, 2013, Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu was in Yerevan. Perhaps the idea was proposed to him?

And now, when Armenia-Turkey relations are at their lowest point, when Armenian and Turkish diplomats and officials don’t even use correct diplomatic terminology when addressing one another, the invitation to Turkey’s president will not be seen as sincere, not in Turkey and not internationally. This is true even for Armenia, notwithstanding official propaganda and “official” Turkish scholars.

The appropriate thing to do is for you to go to Istanbul. Haydarpasa Train Station. April 24, 2015. That would be irreproachable. And justified, and bold and moving.

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