Press release Switzerland - Armenia Association

Press release - Communiqué de presse - Medienmitteilung

 

October 10, 2009

 

Switzerland - Armenia Association

Association Suisse - Arménie

Gesellschaft Schweiz - Armenien

 

 

Dialog  zulasten der Gerechtigkeit

 

Die GSA bedauert die diplomatischen Umtriebe mit der Verzögerung der Unterzeichnung der Protokolle,  womit  die internationale Diplomatie die Früchte für eine ungenügend ausgearbeitete Vereinbarung erntet. Die Reaktionen zu den Protokollen in der armenischen Bevölkerung und in der Diaspora scheinen nun mehr Wirkung zu entfalten als bisher angenommen. Das  Dekret des armenischen Präsidenten vom Sa. 10.10.09 zeigt ebenfalls auf, dass eine Unterzeichnung dieser Protokolle noch nicht reif war. Eine nachhaltige Vertrauensbildung  zwischen zwei,  mit einer traurigen Vergangenheit belasteten Völkern, bedarf einer vertieften schrittweisen Aufarbeitung.

 

Die Protokolle werden als vertrauensbildende Massnahmen zwischen der Türkei und Armenien vorgestellt, in Tat und Wahrheit sind sie das Produkt von machtpolitischen Überlegungen. Die türkischen Interessen sind einerseits im Annäherungsprozess zur EU zu finden und andererseits um sich als regionale Macht zu etablieren. Durch die Verlagerung der Völkermorddiskussion von der politisch-juristischen Ebene auf eine „Historische Dimension“ versucht die Türkei sich den juristischen Folgen zu entziehen. Die Aufhebung der einseitigen Grenzschliessung  die die Türkei 1993 als kriegerische Massnahme  gegen Armenien ergriffen hat,  müsste keineswegs mit der Völkermordfrage gekoppelt werden. Armenien ist interessiert an der Grenzöffnung weil es wirtschaftliche Perspektiven bietet und die geopolitische  Isolation durchbricht.

 

Die Gesellschaft Schweiz-Armenien ist erfreut, dass es der schweizerischen Diplomatie gelungen ist, eine Plattform für eine Annäherung  zwischen der Türkei und Armenien zu bieten, die Protokolle die unter Schweizerischer Moderation entstanden sind, stellen aber einen unwürdigen Kompromiss dar. Es ist zu hoffen, dass die zwei Nachbarstaaten einen Weg zu einem freundschaftlichen und wirtschaftlichen Miteinander und Füreinander finden – jenseits von geostrategischen Einflüssen.

 

Die GSA stellt den Inhalt der Protokolle in Frage. Die Protokollpunkte, Experten-Unterkommission  die die historischen Beziehungen der beiden Nationen untersuchen und die unvollständigen Klauseln zu den internationalen Beziehungen der beiden Staaten,  schränken den Handlungsspielraum von Armenien ein. In den Protokollen wurden sie in einer übereiligen Form behandelt, daher auch die sehr geringe Akzeptanz in der Diaspora und in der Bevölkerung von Armenien. Im Falle der Experten -Unterkommission  zweifelt die GSA auch die Ernsthaftigkeit der türkischen Seite an. Solange der Nobelpreisträger Orham Pamuk wegen seiner Äusserungen zum Genozid an den armenischen und kurdischen Völkern vor Gericht in der Türkei belangt werden kann,  ist es mit einer echten Aufarbeitung historischer Ereignisse und Tatsachen in der Türkei nicht ehrlich gemeint. Ohne Bereitschaft  zu einer echten Aufarbeitung der Vergangenheit ist der Dialog bereits wieder gefährdet.

 

Die GSA nimmt zur Kenntnis, dass der  geopolitische Druck auf die armenische Regierung und das nicht wirklich demokratische Agieren (bei den Präsidentenwahlen im Frühling 2008) derselben,  die  Verhandlungsposition der armenischen Regierung geschwächt hat.  Diese Situation  soll aber nicht dazu führen, dass aus der  wirtschaftlichen Not heraus die Gerechtigkeit, wie im Falle der Anerkennung des Völkermordes, oder der Status der Bevölkerung in Berg-Karabach geopfert werden.

 

Die Schweiz hat als Moderatorin viel Verantwortung übernommen und darf  nun als Hort der Menschenrechte nicht Hand bieten für eine Scheinlösung. Der Annäherungsprozess sollte unter klaren ethischen und juristischen Vorgaben  (der Völkermord  an den Armeniern wurde durch den Nationalrat 2003 anerkannt und die Strafbarkeit der Leugnung an diesem Genozid vom Bundesgericht Ende 2007 bestätigt)  mitgestaltet werden.

 

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Press release Switzerland - Armenia Association

Press release - Communiqué de presse - Medienmitteilung

 

September 9, 2009

 

Switzerland - Armenia Association

Association Suisse - Arménie

Gesellschaft Schweiz - Armenien

 

 

Diplomatic Victory – Legal Capitulation

 

The Switzerland-Armenia Association (SAA) welcomes the rapprochement between Armenia and Turkey. The Association is pleased that Switzerland has made the rapprochement possible, but has also reservations. The SAA warns not to put into question the Armenian Genocide and Karabakh’s right to self-determination. For the genuine reason of the Swiss initiated rapprochement lies with the interests of the United States, the European Union and Russia to use more effectively the region’s oil and gas resources.

 

Swiss diplomacy has made the intent of a step-by-step rapprochement possible between Armenia and Turkey. The SAA welcomes this and is convinced that time has come for Armenia and Turkey to settle their bilateral problems. At the same time, the historical responsibility of Turkey for the Armenian Genocide the 1915 cannot be wiped under the carpet. Furthermore, there can be no preconditions with regards to the Karabakh conflict. However, the protocols between Armenia and Turkey which were published on 31st August 2009 and which will have to be ratified by the respective parliaments within a 6-week period, in addition to understandable declarations of intent contain precisely such preconditions (see enclosed Position Paper). These preconditions weaken Armenia’s position considerably in the conflict with Azerbaijan. Also, the protocols contain statements on the genocide which are questionable and utterly disadvantageous for Armenia.

 

Armenia’s Interests Are Insufficiently Represented

 

The pressure to resolve the conflict does not originate with the United States and the European Union only, but also with Russia. This is why a number of points in both protocols are fundamentally against Armenia’s interests. Turkey acts upon her growing regional political position (natural gas contracts with Russia/South Stream and with the European Union/Nabucco). She is therefore engaged much more intensively, and with these protocols hopes to acquire the power and authority to neutralize any future demands. As a result, in addition to the rejected recognition of the genocide, the rights of today’s Armenian minorities and the maintenance of their historical architectural legacy in Turkey, Azerbaijan and Georgia are also endangered, to name only a few examples.

 

A Questionable Use of an Expert Commission with a "Historical Dimension"

 

The creation of a sub-commission for the analysis of the “historical dimension” and for the “definition of contemporary existing problems” acquires an international profile with direct Swiss participation. This commission cannot, however, present an appropriate solution for the most important international legal conflict. To the contrary, the commission plays with the legitimate expectations for justice of the Armenian people. Its objectives are highly problematic. The commission seems to be interested much more in a redefinition of the events—which would be tantamount to a simple questioning of the genocide —rather than an in-depth investigation of the real circumstances of the genocide. In addition, the commission’s nature will be merely based on recommendations whose results will not be binding in any case. One gains the impression that this expert committee’s sole purpose is to reestablish mutual trust. For this, the protocol uses the term “nations”. The Armenian diaspora is the largest part of the Armenian people and the direct “product” of this genocide. This diaspora, however, is not mentioned in the protocols and has therefore no role within the framework of the complexity’s solution.

 

The expert commission makes therefore little sense also from an historical and scientific perspective and its utility is very limited, if not damaging. For dozens of comprehensive expert investigations of the United Nations and other international organizations have repeatedly acknowledged that the “events” of 1915 constitute a genocide which claimed 1.5 million Armenian lives. Turkey, however, has a different view. She is the legal successor of the Ottoman Empire which carries the responsibility for the Armenian Genocide. Up until today, Turkey does not only refuse to recognize this crime, but uses all available means to deny it. For this reason, Turkey proclaims a willingness for dialogue which does, however, not exist in reality. The only concrete objective of Turkey is the neutralization of the international recognition of the Armenian Genocide.

 

Switzerland’s Role

 

A more careful examination reveals that Switzerland’s role as a mediator appears to have distanced herself from her own basic principles that are the foundation of the rule of law. For instance, the right to self-determination is hardly mentioned in these protocols. However, Switzerland gave his principle utmost priority in Kosovo’s path towards independence. In addition, Switzerland’s judiciary rewrote legal history in the negationist case against Dogu Perincek on 12th December 2007 by defining the internationally recognized nature of the Armenian Genocide. The SAA would welcome if Switzerland applied these core principles also in the Armenian question.

 

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-> Press release [PDF in English] [PDF en français] [PDF auf Deutsch]

-> Postion paper [PDF in English] [PDF en français]

 

Press release Switzerland - Armenia Association

Press release - Communiqué de presse - Medienmitteilung

 

April 24, 2009

 

Switzerland - Armenia Association

Association Suisse - Arménie

Gesellschaft Schweiz - Armenien

 

 

Joint statement issued by the Foreign Ministries of Armenia, Turkey and Switzerland

 

The following statement is a declaration of disaccord whereby the Switzerland-Armenia Association (SAA) expresses its deep concern over the perfunctory joint statement issued by the Foreign Ministries of Armenia, Turkey and Switzerland late on the evening of April 22nd, 2009. The undue haste with which the statement was drafted, and its lack of transparency, can only be met with grevious reservation and skepticism.

 

The vague nature of the alleged "agreed basis", and the disadvantaged position from which the Armenian government was obliged to negotiate from, leaves no alternative but to immediately renounce any agreement which relinquishes the fundamental rights of Armenians world-wide.

 

The April 22, 2009 Armenian - Turkey - Switzerland joint statement is unacceptable for the following reasons:

 

  1. The statement’s timing is grossly inopportune as it falls just two days before April 24 ─ the anniversary of the Armenian Genocide: on this day, Armenians worldwide commemorate the Genocide perpetrated by the government of Young Turks in 1915 against the unarmed, civilian population of Armenians within the Ottoman Empire.
  2. The urgency in announcing said joint statement, feeds further suspect that Armenia has been pressured to make concessions which could compromise the Armenian Republic’s national security. Such concessions are unacceptable, most especially with regards to the process of recognizing the right of Karabakh’s self-determination.
  3. The government of Armenia was put under pressure by major powers seeking to advance their own (narrow) interests; presently Armenia’s leadership is struggling to establish its legitimacy at a time of political, economic and financial crisis.

 
The Switzerland - Armenia Association is in full favor of normalization of ties between Armenia and Turkey, but, along with other Armenian communities within the Diaspora, Republic of Armenia and Karabakh, unequivocally rejects any agreement that compromises the fundamental rights of the Armenian nation. This is a formal declaration to the officials of the Republic of Armenia who engage in the alarming and undeniably questionable settlements leading to the mentioned joint statement.

 

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-> Press release [PDF in English]

 

Press release Switzerland - Armenia Association

Press release - Communiqué de presse - Medienmitteilung

 

April 23, 2009

 

Switzerland - Armenia Association

Association Suisse - Arménie

Gesellschaft Schweiz - Armenien

 

 

Switzerland: the waltz of hesitation around the word "genocide"

 

The Switzerland - Armenia Association (SAA) calls upon Turkey to recognize the Armenian genocide. SAA invites the Federal Council to do the same, as other divisions of Swiss constitutional powers have already done, and to not use this crime as a currency to be exchanged within the framework of negotiations presently underway between Armenia and Turkey. SAA contends that the question of genocide was inappropriately included in these negotiations and that the group directly affected, the Armenian Diaspora, was not consulted on the issue.

 

Calling the 1915 events genocide, was the result of a vast consensus by experts regarding the very definition. The world is entirely aware that the government of Young Turks in 1915 planned and executed the extermination of Armenians within the Ottoman Empire. This act, qualified as a "Crime against Humanity" in a collective declaration on 24 May 1915, issued from the chancelleries of France, England and Russia, correspond to the exact definition of genocide; the term genocide was established in the UN Convention of 1948 for the prevention and repression of the crime of genocide. In addition, according to law professor Raphaël Lemkin, author of the definition of genocide, the source of inspiration for this convention was the Armenian genocide; and this same convention was approved by the Republic of Turkey on 23 March 1950.

 

The Perincek trial in 2007 and the recent distribution of the negationist DVD, "Sari Gelin" in Turkish schools both demonstrate the Turkish State’s implication in engaging in aggressive propaganda against the Armenians, propaganda destined for Turkish citizens, both in Switzerland and in Turkey, and European citizens on the whole. SAA is convinced that Turkish and European citizens of Armenian origin should be able to dialogue and that the arguments founded on hate and racism diffused by the Turkish State are an obstacle against this dialogue. The acts of negationism are a detriment to the civil peace.

 

Using arguments as diplomatic and economic extortion, the Turkish government puts pressure on the Swiss government to not use the word genocide. Switzerland in return, offers weak justification for not having used the term. Asserting that the use of the word genocide would create an obstacle towards the reconciliation of the two peoples, is an offense to the human dignity of Armenians. In addition, it disavows the efforts of Turkish intellectuals, currently under attack and in danger of loosing their freedom for recognizing the 1915 genocide perpetrated by their own country. This new posture by the Swiss government, of further thwarting a peaceable solution to the Armenian question, is particularly detrimental given Switzerland’s ambition of being reelected into the Human Rights Council  an organization founded to prevent the crime of genocide. 

 

Contact

 

-> Press release and Documentation [PDF in English] [PDF en Français]  [PDF auf Deutsch]

-> Parliamentary Group Switzerland - Armenia