Today we are gathered together to celebrate the independence of Western Armenia on January 19, 1920, reminding you that the birth of ASALA took place on January 20, 1975, I would like to ask you to make a minute of silence following the murder of Hrant Dink which also took place on January 19, 2007.
After the second war in Artsakh and after the occupation of a large part of the territory of Artsakh region by Azerbaijan, Turkey and Azerbaijan are now seeking to turn a pseudo-military victory into a legal one.
This legal field concerns not only the question of the status of Artsakh, but also the question of the rights of Western Armenia.
In this framework, as it was the case in relation to the question of Artsakh, the Republic of Armenia is solicited according to the request of Turkey to make concessions to Turkey on the territorial questions of Western Armenia, of which it has no legitimacy, and on the issue of the genocide and the consequent reparations.
In the 17th century, the division of historical Armenia into two territories -Western and Eastern – led to the political, sociological and economic division of the Armenian nation. Armenia approached the race for independence with such a vice. The World War accelerated the dislocation of multinational states, and the Bolshevik revolution, by raising class struggle and ideological disputes, introduced another plane of breakthrough.
However, when we talk about Western Armenia, we are talking about a part of the territory of historical Armenia on which lived and still lives an indigenous population that suffered a genocide, applied by three successive Turkish governments from 1894 to 1923.
When we talk about Western Armenia, we are also talking about a part of the territory of historical Armenia which obtained an independent status at the time of the genocide of its population from December 29, 1917 by Russia during the First World War.
When we talk about Western Armenia, we also talk about a treaty, the Treaty of Sevres, which was signed by the most powerful countries in the world and included the procedure of reparation for the genocide.
When we talk about Western Armenia, we also talk about an Arbitration Award signed by one of the most famous presidents of the United States, President Woodrow Wilson.
But when we talk about Western Armenia, we are also talking about a policy of renouncement of a part of the Armenian population that has neutralized its own aspirations for independence, the claims and demands for our rights over Western Armenia, over this sacred and spiritual Armenia for a certain period of time, allowing Turkey to present itself as a regional power.
And finally, when we talk about Western Armenia, we are also talking about a policy of falsifying the history of the Armenian nation, its roots, its culture, its traditions, the destruction of its heritage and even its genetic resources, with the aim of uprooting the indigenous Armenian nation from its ancestral lands and territories.
The victory of Turkey and Azerbaijan, as well as of the other states concerned, will be complete when the Armenians and their political forces themselves renounce their rights, their homeland, their civilization, the recognition of the crimes they have suffered and of their multi-millennial history. We are currently in this process.
Today this division, which has led to political divisions, and which has given rise to a Republic of Western Armenia and a Republic of Armenia (Eastern), is of great benefit to the Armenian nation worldwide, because it secures the rights of the Armenians of Western Armenia and their just demands.
The question of Western Armenia today.
The government of Western Armenia started its formation on January 11, 1918 (December 29, 1917), and parallel to the liberation of Cilicia, when Vahan Avanesov, Prosh Proshian and Vahan Terian after meeting Lenin again called Stepan Shahumian to form the first government of the so-called Turkish Western Armenia.
From the Erzincan Armistice (December 18, 1917) and the Moudros Armistice (October 30, 1918) to the Arbitration Award of the 28th President of the United States Woodrow Wilson (November 22, 1920) the question of Armenian independence became a matter of international law.
After Boghos Nubar Pasha presented a Memorandum on February 26, 1919 at the Versailles Peace Conference and then formed a government on May 15, 1919, it obtained de facto official recognition on January 19, 1920 by the Supreme Allied Council, it was also created by the efforts of Boghos Nubar Pasha following the formation of the Government of Integral Armenia on May 15, 1919.
The government of Western Armenia today, as we now know, is the continuation of the State of Armenia recognized in 1920, recognized by Russian decree of January 19, 1920 on January 11, 1918 (December 29, 1917), then the Republic of Armenia on the territory of Western Armenia de facto was intentionally recognized on January 19, 1920, in the following terms.
On the basis of this governmental formation, on January 27, 1920, the General Secretariat of the Peace Conference notified the Chairman of the Armenian National Delegation that in its session of January 19, 1920, the Supreme Council had taken the following two decisions:
1. The Government of the Armenian State shall be recognized as a de facto government ;
2. This recognition will not prejudge the question of the possible borders of this State.
Artsakh, Nakhchivan, Javakhk, the present Armenian Republic of the Caucasus, Cilicia and of course Western Armenia were part of the State of Armenia.
After Armenia was recognized de facto (January 19, 1920), after the San Remo Conference (April 1920) as part of the Allied and Associated Powers, Armenia (from Western Armenia) on May 11, 1920 was recognized de jure including by the United States at the time when the Supreme Council transmitted the Treaty of Sevres for signature to Turkey. It was decided that the capital of the Armenian State would be Erzurum (Karin), which was given a month to make its counter-proposals.
After the presentation of a Memorandum by Damad Ferid Pasha, Vizier of the Ottoman Empire, to the Supreme Council of the Allies, Turkey recognized only an Armenian territory corresponding to the Treaty of Batum (11,000 km²). Faced with a new refusal from the Supreme Council of the Allies, Turkey recognized the new Armenian state on 25 June 1920.
On July 22, 1920, under the presidency of Sultan Vahidettin (Mehmed VI), the Treaty was adopted by the Sovereign Council, which considered “that it would rather have a small existence than a heavy loss”. This adoption was materialized by a unique and ultimate act under the aegis of the Sultan, the signing of the Treaty of Sevres.
On August 4, 1920, the Armenians of Cilicia declared their independence.
The signing of the International Peace Treaty at Sevres by the Allied and Associated Powers and by Turkey. The signing of the Turkish treaty, which had been postponed four times due to the Greek-Italian conflict, took place on August 10 at 4 p.m. the Hall of Honor of the Sevres Plant. (Treaty of Sevres 433 articles and other additional treaties).
On August 10, 1920, Turkey and the states of Great Britain, France, Italy, Japan, Belgium, Greece, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Czechoslovakia and Armenia signed the Treaty of Sevres.
The International Treaty has also been ratified by Turkey, as the Sultan’s signing decree is an imperial order. (According to the Constitution of the Ottoman Empire). Since then, the Treaty of Sevres had not been ratified by Armenia.
An additional treaty was also signed on behalf of Armenia with the allied states on the rights of national minorities, diplomatic and commercial relations on the basis of Article 93 of the Treaty of Sevres.
From the point of view of international law, the Republic of Armenia from the territory of Western Armenia is recognized as a de jure party to the treaty by all other signatory States. Without going into the details of the agreement, we will only note that the section concerning Armenia includes, in particular, articles 88-93. Turkey recognizes Armenia as a sovereign, free and independent state.
Turkish Armenia, now the Republic of Armenia, agrees to allow the United States to demarcate the border between the two countries. The borders of the Republic of Armenia with Georgia and Azerbaijan will be determined through direct negotiations with these countries on the basis of article 92 of the Treaty of Sevres.
In April 1920, the Supreme Council of the Allies, representing Great Britain, France, Italy and Japan, decided to present two demands to the 28th US President Woodrow Wilson:
1) To accept the mandate of the protectorate in relation to Armenia.
2) Determine the border between Armenia and Turkey by arbitration.
The first request was rejected by a vote of the US Senate.
The second request was officially approved by a letter dated April 27, 1920 from the Chairman of the Supreme Soviet of the Union, the Prime Minister of France, Minister of Foreign Affairs Miller. This request, in the form of article 89, was included in the Sevres Treaty on behalf of almost twenty countries, already signed by Armenia and Turkey, addressed to the US President who made the arbitration decision. The arbitration award is final and enforceable. It doesn’t have a deadline.
Even if the Treaty of Sevres was not ratified by all parties, such as France, it was implemented by the same parties that did not ratify, for example, the issue of mandates for the protection of civilians. In Cilicia, France, Great Britain and Italy. To better understand the ratification system of the countries that signed the Treaty of Sevres, you can study the national constitutions of each signatory State, including the Ottoman Empire (Turkey). For example, in 1920 after the Sovereignty Council of Sultan Mehmed VI on July 22, 1945, the Sultan ordered the signing of the Treaty of Sevres, which, according to the Constitution of the Ottoman Empire, was equivalent to ratification.
The reparations figures in this study do not take into account the entire period of the genocide, as well as those presented at the Boghos Nubar peace conference in Paris in February 1919.
Armenians, among other things, should demand the ratification of the Treaty of Sevres from the signatory States.
The demand for non-fulfillment or replacement of the Sevres Treaty is part of Turkey’s anti-Armenian, clearly anti-Western Armenian policy. The Peace Treaty, commonly known as the Treaty of Sevres, has never been the subject of such an aggressive policy that sought to replace it in the person of the relevant population.
Without revising the Treaty of Sevres, without trying to change it, some states and political forces signed the Alexandropol Treaty (December 2, 1920), the Moscow Treaty (March 16, 1921), the Kars Treaty (October 20, 1921), the Ankara Treaty (October 20, 1921), the Lausanne Treaty (July 24, 1923), the agreement with the Kurdish organization “Hoyboun” (1927), the European Parliament’s political resolution on the Armenian issue (June 18, 1987), the situation in Soviet Armenia (1988/1989), the first war in Artsakh, the destruction of the Julfa cemetery (December 14, 2005) in Nakhichevan, the second war in Artsakh, subsequent (future) Agreements between Azerbaijan, Turkey and the Republic of Armenia (Eastern).
All this was not enough (these agreements are not legally legitimate), it will not be enough to replace the Treaty of Sevres, to contain the demands of Western Armenia.
On the occasion of the 102nd anniversary of the recognition of the independent statehood of Western Armenia since 1917/1920, what are the consequences and the need to protect this sovereignty, the rights of the Armenian people? On August 23, 1990, the Soviet Republic of Armenia, within its administrative borders, declared itself independent from the Soviet Union, which had occupied the territory of the Republic of Armenia, then an independent state, since December 2, 1920.
The withdrawal of the Soviet Republic of Armenia from the Republic of Armenia in 1920 was adopted by the Parliament of the newly proclaimed Republic on September 21, 1991.
The New Republic of Armenia, without declaring itself a legitimate state or the successor of the Republic of Armenia of 1920, renounced all claims against Turkey.
Consequently, the separate distribution of problems and the division of roles between the western and eastern components of the Armenian nation, the coordination of their efforts can contribute to the optimal solution of their national problems.
That is why Western Armenia has not only not renounced its rights, but also has not renounced its responsibilities to its people, sovereign, free and independent states.
After participating in the liberation of Artsakh, Western Armenia and the military representatives of Artsakh made a joint decision to realize the right of the Armenians of Western Armenia to self-determination։
– On December 17, 2004, the National Council of Armenians of Western Armenia declared its existence and right to self-determination in Shushi.
– On April 20, 2005, the participation of the Assembly of Armenians of Western Armenia in the UN Sessions on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples was officially announced in Stepanakert. (MEDPA, WIPO, HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL…).
– On January 20, 2007, the delegates of the Assembly of Armenians of Western Armenia will adopt an official declaration on the rights of Armenians of Western Armenia.
– On September 13, 2007, the UN adopted the Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples by 144 votes, recognizing their right to self-determination (Article 2 of the UN Charter).
– On February 4, 2011, the National Council, chaired by Armenag Aprahamian, formed the Government of Western Armenia.
– On January 24, 2013, the National Council and the Government of Western Armenia jointly proclaimed the draft constitution of the Parliament of Western Armenia through democratic elections.
– On December 16, 2013, 64 deputies were officially elected by Armenians of Western Armenia registered in the voter lists.
– On December 16, 2013, the first President of the Republic of Western Armenia, Armenag Aprahamian, was officially elected by the deputies of the Parliament. The Parliament extended the mandate of the government for five years.
– On February 23, 2014, by presidential decree, it was announced that the Republic of Western Armenia is the legal successor of the State of Armenia, recognized in 1920.
– On February 16, 2014, after the proclamation in Shushi on December 17, 2004, by presidential decree, the residence of the National Council and the Government was officially established in Karin (Erzurum) of Western Armenia.
– On May 9, 2016, the National Constitution of the Republic of Armenia was adopted on behalf of Western Armenia by the decree of the President of the Republic of Western Armenia, which was signed and approved by all citizens of Western Armenia.
– On June 24, 2016, President Armenag Aprahamian ratified the Treaty of Sevres on behalf of Western Armenia.
– On August 9, 2016, President Armenag Aprahamian ratified the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea on behalf of Western Armenia.
– On October 1, 2016, President Armenag Aprahamian ratified the Convention on the Rights and Obligations of States on behalf of Western Armenia.
– On January 20, 2017, on behalf of Western Armenia, President Armenag Aprahamyan will ratify the UN Charter.
– On December 17, 2018, the Armenians of Western Armenia, officially registered in the voter lists, officially elected 77 deputies.
– On January 18, 2019, the President of the Republic of Western Armenia, Armenag Abrahamyan, was officially re-elected by the deputies of the Parliament for a second term.
– On January 19, 2020, the new government presented the draft of its government to the deputies of the National Assembly of Western Armenia.
– On August 10, 2020, the Armenians of Western Armenia, their president, government and Parliament officially celebrated the 100th anniversary of the signing of the International Peace Treaty of Sevres.
– On September 27, 2020, the second war in Artsakh with Azerbaijan began with the support of an international coalition of states, jihadist terrorists from Syria.
– On November 8, 2020, the Azerbaijani armed forces announced the occupation of Shusha.
– On March 1, 1921, after 44 days of war, the Artsakh Parliament declared the territories under the control of Azerbaijan occupied territories.
– On March 1, 2021, the Parliament of Western Armenia adopts the Law on Artsakh, which recognizes the right of the Armenians of Artsakh to self-determination as part of the Republic of Armenia in 1920, their autonomy on the basis of the Sanremo Conference and territorial recognition of the Treaty of Sevres.
Recalling that the authorities of Western Armenia are ready to provide political, diplomatic, legal and security assistance to the Armenians of Artsakh, as they have done since 1992.
Why does Western Armenia recognize the autonomy of Artsakh? There are two laws.
1) The legislation of the Republic of Armenia of 1920, which is the official legislation.
2) Legislation relating to the Soviet Union, which does not apply to Armenia in 1920, but to the Russian Federation.
Since Soviet troops occupied the territory of Armenia in 1920, including Artsakh, Nakhichevan, Javakhk, to the detriment of the sovereignty of Armenia in 1920, Western Armenia does not recognize either the validity of this legislation or the validity of treaties signed from December to this day, including Artsakh in 1920.
However, since Artsakh managed to create institutional structures of self-determination over the past 30 years, Western Armenia decided to recognize this self-determination, and hence autonomy, without recognizing independence from Armenia in 1920. Historically, Artsakh has never been part of another state, Western Armenia has no plans to separate from Artsakh, from the whole of Artsakh.
Chairman of the National Council of Western Armenia