Armenian 'Homeland' Concept Might Affect Turkey And Georgia

By Elmira Tariverdiyeva

Recent changes in the geopolitical situation in the South Caucasus have led to a dangerous trend for the region - and sharply exacerbated Armenians' feelings of a homeland around the world.

The lesson for Azerbaijan, which has conflicted with Armenia over the seizure of its lands for almost 20 years now, seems to have taught little to neighboring countries.

In the late 1980s, leaders of Armenian nationalist organizations launched plans to expand the territory of the future independent Armenia, sensing the approach of the Soviet Union's collapse.

The Armenian diaspora ardently supported these plans - specifically, representatives of the Dashnaktsutun party, whose activities were banned in the Soviet era.

Recent regional developments show that Armenians throughout the world do not restrict their territorial claims to Nagorno-Karabakh. A new movement has launched under the slogan: "Return The Homeland to Armenians - Despite Its Present Owners."

I would like to emphasize that the issue does not concern the claims of the current Armenian authorities or citizens. Territorial claims are the trump card, and the eternal banner of the Armenian diaspora across the world, along with the issue of so-called "genocide" in 1915.

And now, the Armenian diaspora is focused on seizing land from Georgia and Turkey.

Acclaimed singer and Armenian Ambassador to Switzerland Charles Aznavour underscored the necessity for Turkey to return Armenia's lands, Armenia Today reported.

"When I was born in 1924, Armenia was promised the land would be returned," Aznavour said in an interview with the RAI 3 Italian television channel. "I am already 85 years old and I cannot wait any longer. In 1924, Stalin promised to return Erzurum, Erznakan, Sebastia, Kharberd, Tigranakert, Bitlis, Van, Mush and Siirt to Armenia. According to the Treaty of Sevres, 'Wilsonian Armenia' also included Trapizon, Erzurum Van and Bitlis, Erzurum."

prezident-armenii-serzh-sargsyanIn early September, Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan made a statement that the Armenian language should be declared a regional language in Javakheti.

Afterward, Armenians living in Georgia immediately sent a letter to the Armenian government, asking for protection from Georgians and Azerbaijanis living in Georgia. According to the Akhali Taoba newspaper, the letter was signed by the Armenian population in Kvemo Kartli.

Institute of History of the Armenian National Academy of Sciences Director Ashot Melkonyan believes Armenians in Javakheti "live on their native land.

"Regardless of Georgia's resistance, it eventually will have to agree that Armenians are living here on their own territory," Panarmenian quoted the professor as saying.

The process has started and these claims will lead to concrete action. Armenians in the diaspora will have the chance to speak about historical injustice and this will lead to the destabilization of the South Caucasus region.

Armenian historians and chroniclers also actively support struggles for historical justice, arguing that the right to most lands in the South Caucasus historically belongs to Armenians.

One should not challenge the opinion of these or other people about historical troubles in the region. If we look at history, then we can see that many states can push claims to various territories that were under their domination at some period in history. If Mongolia today would lay claim to Russian territory, as the land was under the Tatar-Mongol yoke for 300 years, this would puzzle the international community to say the least

One cannot deny that the "homeland" concept for Armenians living abroad has long united their nation. This is beneficial for the national mentality, and what Armenians refer to as their homeland is quite a specific territory.

Even in 1914, Armenian historian Kevork Aslan in the book "Armenia and Armenians" wrote that the "Armenians had no statehood. They are not bound by a sense of homeland and not bound by political ties. Armenian patriotism is associated with only a place of residence.

Over their long history, Armenians lived on the territory of many countries, and safely remain in some of these lands. It seems that residency in a particular nation in the Armenian consciousness means that these territories historically belong to Armenian lands.

Although the Armenian government knows that compromises in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, opening the border with Turkey and keeping a healthy partnership with Georgia will positively influence domestic processes in the country, the Armenian lobby abroad will do everything they can to maintain their leverage.

Turkey and Georgia have to fear the scenario tested by the Armenians in Nagorno-Karabakh in the late 20th century. Armenians find their historic homeland in any location once inhabited even partially by Armenians, and begin to actively fight for the seizure of foreign territories.
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