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07 Ap. 2010- Full text of the interview of the President of Armenia Serzh Sargsyan to the German Der Spiegel weekly
L'intervista di Der Spiegel al Presidente Serge Sargsyan (versione integrale)
Titolo: Il mondo deve rispondere . Il Presidente della Repubblica d'Armenia sulla gustizia e la proposta di Ankara
Full text of the interview of the President of Armenia Serzh Sargsyan to the German Der Spiegel weekly
Der Spiegel: In his interview with Der Spiegel, speaking about the Genocide which had taken place during World War I, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan stated that "there can be no talk of genocide." Why cannot your neighboring country come to terms with its own past?
S. Sargsyan: Recently another statement was made that the Turks couldn’t have possibly committed the Genocide and the Turkish history is "bright and clear as the sun". The Turks are opposed to the definition of the event as Genocide. However, Ankara is not the one to decide on this issue.
Der Spiegel: Now Erdogan is even threatening to expel thousands of Armenians illegally residing in Turkey.
S. Sargsyan: Unacceptable statements such as that one stir up in our nation the memories of the Genocide. Unfortunately, such statements articulated by the Turkish politicians come as no surprise to me.
Der Spiegel: How should the international community respond?
S. Sargsyan: The international community must respond resolutely. The US, Europe, as well as Germany, all those countries that have been involved in this process of Armenian-Turkish rapprochement should unequivocally state their position. Had all the states recognized the Armenian Genocide by now, the Turks wouldn’t talk that way. It is however inspiring that many young people in Turkey stood up against that statement. A new generation is growing in Turkey and the political leadership of that country should reckon with its opinion.
Der Spiegel: Turkey accuses you of maintaining a tough position on setting up a bilateral commission of historians. Why do you oppose the creation of such a commission?
S. Sargsyan: How can such a commission work impartially if in Turkey people are persecuted and tried for a criminal offence if they use the very term Genocide? For Ankara it is important to protract the process of decision-making indefinitely so that when parliaments or governments of other countries undertake the adoption of aresolution on the Genocide recognition, they can say, "don’t meddle in, these issues are being sorted out by our historians." Creation of such a commission would have meant casting doubt on the veracity of the Genocide perpetrated against our people. It is unacceptable. Had Turkey admitted its guilt, the creation of the commission would have been justified. In that case the scholars could have studied jointly the causes triggering that tragedy.
Der Spiegel: The Genocide took place 95 years ago. Why its recognition is so important for Armenia?
S. Sargsyan: It is a matter of historical justice and it is also a matter of our national security. The best way to prevent the repetition of such horrendous events is to condemn them unambiguously.
Der Spiegel: From the windows of your office one can see the symbol of Armenia – Mount Ararat. Today, it is on the other side of the border – unreachable. Turkey is afraid of territorial and retribution claims. Do you want Ararat back?
S. Sargsyan: Nobody can take it away from us: Ararat is in our hearts. In every Armenian home, in every corner of the world you will find the image of Mount Ararat. I believe that the time will come when Ararat instead of being the symbol of divide will become the symbol of common understanding between our two nations. However, I would like to clarify the following: no official in Armenia has ever presented any territorial claims to Turkey. The Turks ascribe such claims to us themselves, probably since they have a sense of guilt?
Der Spiegel: Your borders with Turkey and Azerbaijan are closed; Iran and Georgia are difficult neighbors. Won’t it be a better trade-off to get a breakthrough in that isolation instead of quarrelling indefinitely with Turkey about the Genocide?
S. Sargsyan: We don’t link the Genocide recognition to the opening of borders. And it is not our fault that the rapprochement is not getting through.
Der Spiegel: Turkey wants to link the opening of the border with the progress in the Nagorno Karabakh conflict resolution. The Armenians held up in the war unleashed on that territory towards which Azerbaijan have been laying claims since the break up of the Soviet Union.
S. Sargsyan: Turkey constantly wants us to make concessions, but it is impossible. The most vital issue is the implementation by the people of Nagorno Karabakh of its right to self-determination.
If Azerbaijan recognizes the independence of Nagorno Karabakh, I believe the issue can be solved in a matter of hours. Unfortunately, they still believe that they should bring Nagorno Karabakh back, while returning Nagorno Karabakh back under the control of Azerbaijan would mean that before long Nagorno Karabakh will be rid of all its Armenian population.
Der Spiegel: What kind of solution would you propose?
S. Sargsyan: Why the republics of the former Yugoslavia had been able to become independent? Why, then, should Nagorno Karabakh be denied the same rights? Is it just because Azerbaijan has got some oil and gas and a patron like Turkey? We cannot consider it fair.

Seta Martayan

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