Armenia rejects all the proposals of the Turkish side to investigate the archives that are concerning the dramatic events of 1915. How would you comment on this position?
Armenia is not contributing towards shedding more light on the tragic events of April 1915. It is Armenia´s interest to clarify the circumstances and tragic events against its people and consequently the role of neighboring countries involved in World War I. Refusing cooperation to the Turkish government is not a recipe for a more integrated region. As a result the following phrase of Pope Francis delivered on the occasion of the 100 Anniversary of Armenia´s lost lives in WWI: "Concealing or denying evil is like allowing a wound to keep bleeding without bandaging it," will stay in vain. Over the next months we will see how much the Pope´s remarks will impact the Vatican´s future relations with Moderate Islamic states.
How would you comment on the decisions of some states on criminalizing the denial of ¨Genocide¨? Is it acceptable for a democratic world of 21-st century?
In a democratic and multi-polar world that we have today this is not acceptable. Instead of having a more unified world, while preserving ethnic diversity, we are experiencing a tremendous polarization that derives from past conflicts and prohibits a better economic development for the future generations. It is very sad to that the French Senate has approved on January 2012 a controversial bill that makes it a criminal offence to deny the genocide that was committed by Ottoman Turks against Armenian population in 1915. The bill passed by the French Senate is clearly racist and intolerant.
How would you estimate collaboration between Turkey and Azerbaijan in sharing a more accurate version of what happened in 1915?
The Governments of Turkey and Azerbaijan must support the creation of a bilateral research committee that would make a great contribution in clarifying what happened a hundred years ago. This committee must conduct an impartial research and introduce to the public the results based on the historic facts archived in many large libraries worldwide. It is habitual for Armenia to refuse cooperation on every issue in which Yerevan employees its manipulation machine. Unfortunately we still have countries that are living in their past and refuse to discuss in the present what will be the future.
What impact will have the decisions of Pope Francis in the relations between Turkey and Vatican?
On April 12th, 2015 the Turkish Government - irritated by the statements of Pope Francis who recently described the mass killings of Armenians in 1915 under the Ottoman rule in WWI as "genocide"- decided to recall its envoy to the Vatican. Ankara’s decision towards the Vatican has generated an historic lower level of diplomatic relations with the Holy See. Pope Francis´ statements in favor of Armenia, reiterate once again the ambiguity and the double standard behavior of the Vatican. In the opening of the mass celebrated in commemoration of the centenary of the “Great Crime”, the extermination of one and a half million Armenians perpetrated by the Ottoman Empire in 1915 – according to Armenians-, Francis stated the following: “Sadly, today too we hear the muffled and forgotten cry of so many of our defenseless brothers and sisters who, on account of their faith in Christ or their ethnic origin, are publicly and ruthlessly put to death – decapitated, crucified, burned alive – or forced to leave their homeland.[…] and more recently there have been other mass killings, like those in Cambodia, Rwanda, Burundi and Bosnia. It seems that humanity is incapable of putting a halt to the shedding of innocent blood.” I find it inappropriate that the Pope did not mention the Khojaly Massacre in his statement and avoided the current conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan. The Vatican does not have any benefit for being partial and applying the prohibited rules of favoritism. If the Catholic Church organizes a mass to commemorate an event in the world history then it should also organize many other masses in order to commemorate massacres like that of Khojaly, for the Azerbaijani population in the neighboring region of Nakhchivan that are occupied by Armenia and why not hold another mass on the occasion of the 150 anniversary of the beginning of the War against the Triple Alliance in Paraguay (1865-1870), the bloodiest war in the Western Hemisphere, hold another mass for the Christians that are prosecuted and executed in Iraq and other countries. There is no doubt that by doing these commemorations for every massacre despite religious differences, the Vatican´s image would certainly be improved, it would polish its mission and increase its popularity. As it currently stands the Pope has emerged as a puppet of the regime in Yerevan and sadly the current authority of the Catholic Church is tarnished.
We must underline that the number of 1.5 million Armenian Christians killed by Ottoman forces in 1915, lauded by Armenian government is exaggerated and Ankara is candid when reiterating that the deaths where part of the WWI theater and as the word implies it was a world conflict. The fundamental question is: why the Pope did not do a mass to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the human lives lost in the Khojaly Massacre, that took place this year, instead of praising only the ¨privileged human losses¨ of Armenian community in WWI? Perhaps such a double standard is the reason why the number of candidates for Priesthood in the Vatican has decreased over the last two years. The Pope´s statements prove once again that even the Vatican cannot escape from the temptations of double standard, signs of corruption, and inability to avoid division.
There was no attempt by the ´Young Turkish´ government to wipe out the Armenian population, deporting them was a defensive position after Armenians decided to stay together with Russians in the war, and in this global conflict there were as much deaths from the Muslim communities as they were from Armenian Christians.
Many world leaders accepted invitation to participate in the events of Yerevan dedicated to "the Armenian Genocide". How this decision may influence on Armenian attempts to get worldwide recognition of the “Genocide”?
The visit of the Presidents of France, the Federation of Russia and Thorbjørn Jagland, Secretary-General of the Council of Europe (CoE) and various high level delegations from Cyprus, Sweden, Syria, the Vatican, Israel and other countries is important but we have seen many other events which have acquired a much higher level of participation from the world leaders. Some of them are the Funeral of Josip Broz Tito and President Ronald Reagan and the passing of Nelson Mandela.
On the other hand, in these commemoration events, the US Government was represented by the US Secretary of the Treasury Jacob Lew. On this occasion president Barack Obama delivered a statement on Friday April 24th, in which he did not call the 1915 massacre against Armenians a genocide. This is a great success for Ankara and Baku as President Obama´s speech echoed his administrations five previous statements on the anniversary.
In the same vein, the President of Israel Reuven Rivlin in his public statement in Jerusalem emphasized that Israel does not seek to blame any particular country for what happened in 1915, "but rather [to] identify with the victims and the horrible results of the massacre." This anniversary was a great opportunity to measure the level of influence that Armenian Diaspora has in the world. Armenian Diaspora in Argentina is very influential; nonetheless they were not able to convince Argentina´s president Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner to visit Yerevan during these commemoration activities, last April.