Tigran Pashabezyan: “Concerning Military Activities Being Made by the Armed Forces of the Republic of Turkey in Afrin.” So, By What Right These Army Troops Are Being There?

Whatever are the arguments and justifications put forward by the Turkish side regarding the self-proclaimed intentions and objectives of military operations in northern territories of the Syrian Arab Republic, allegedly `for the sake of combating terrorist groups` or `for the sake of creating a security zone`, one thing is obvious: a frankly forceful political decision has been made, namely, an invasion of the territory of a sovereign state. There can be only one conclusion: the Turkish armed forces had no right to enter these territories, and now they do not have such a right, as well…

And here’s why:

– In accordance with the requirements of the San Stefano Рreliminary Рeace Agreement (03.03.1878) and the Berlin Treaty (13.06.1878), as well as the May Programme of Reforms of 1895, the Ottoman Empire undertook to implement reforms in Western Armenia and Cilicia. Instead, three Turkish governments that have followed each other – Ottoman, Young Turk and Kemalist (during 1894-1923) committed genocide and deportations in Western Armenia and Cilicia;

– According to 16th clause of the Armistice of Mudros (November 30, 1918), signed between the Allies and Turkey, the latter has obliged to make “the surrender of all garrisons in Hejaz, Assir and Yemen, Syria and Mesopotamia to the Allies’ command… the withdrawal of Turkish troops from Cilicia”;

– On January 11, 1918, the Russian Government passed the Decree “On Turkish Armenia” (“On Western Armenia”);

– On August 4, 1920, Cilician Armenians passed the Independence Declaration of Cilicia;

– According to the Arbitration Verdict adopted by Woodrow Wilson, the United States’ 28th President, Turkish armed forces have undertook to withdraw from the four vilayets of Western Armenia after November 20, 1922;

– In article 89th of the Sevres Peace Treaty the issue of territories, defined by the Arbitration Verdict, is phrased as follows: “Turkey and Armenia, as well as the High Contracting Parties agree to leave the demarcation of the border between Turkey and Armenia in Erzurum, Trabzon, Van and Bitlis vilayets on the decision of the United States of America, and to accept both this decision and the measures that the U.S. can offer for granting Armenia access to the sea, and for demilitarization of all Ottoman territories adjacent to the mentioned border”;

– According to the Resolution “On Armenians of the Western Armenia And On Permanent, Armed, Positive Neutrality of the Western Armenia”, adopted on March 29, 2011, the Turkish armed forces have no right to be at least within these territories granted to Armenia by Wilson’s Arbitration Verdict.

Therefore, the time has come to draw the whole world’s attention to all absolutely illegal and unlawful steps of the Republic of Turkey, through which the Turkish armed forces

  1. a) have kept occupied Western Armenia and Cilicia occupied for almost 98 years,
  2. b) and these occupied territories create a new threat to the most dangerous aggression for the peoples and states in the region.

The future of the Middle East peoples and countries has been tightly connected with military-political steps and decisions of the international community. During last 30 years, carrying out, with the assistance of various power centers, “neo-Ottoman” policies, and pursuing exceptionally its own interests, the Republic of Turkey has involved itself, with great relish, in Middle-Eastern processes pregnant with violent and dangerous military-political consequences. Thus, until recently, Turkey in such cases has confined itself by assisting Islamic radicals and terrorists, their weaponing, direction, patronage and protection… well, there may be something else. However, in contrast to these seemingly proofless programs, now the situation has changed significantly, as evidenced by both of these illegal military operations carried out by the Turkish armed forces within northern territories of the Syrian Republic.

The Turkish authorities’ interest in participating in fragmentation and weakening of states of the region is obvious. In turn, it means that this completely illegal and illegitimate process continues today with a new scope, new set of threats and challenges, spreading to new territories. However, in reality, recent actions work as a boomerang, and in this aspect, the emerging problems may already affect not Syria, Iraq or Lebanon, but the Republic of Turkey itself.

Therefore, as long as international relations continue being built on political-powerful, not on political-lawful bases, the Middle East region will remain a target and arena for humanitarian crises, deportations, slaughters, and other crimes.

There is no doubt that no one can stop the natural move of historical development. Of course, changes will take place, but it does not mean that all this should be carried out through peoples’ leading through “fire and water”.

Here’s one and only solution

It is long overdue to start a purely legal and political process, the aim of which is to remove the Turkish aggressors from the territories they have seized, which belong to Armenia under international law, in particular, from Western Armenia and Cilicia. And it should be the first step, that is to respect the right given to peoples of the region in 1918-1920, particularly, to Armenians and Kurds. Only in this way, it will be possible to establish sustainable and long-term peace, to encourage and promote cooperation between all nations and countries of the region.

Tigran Pashabezyan

Prime Minister of the Republic of Western Armenia /Armenia/